WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR CHILD HAS BEEN BITTEN BY A DOG
Sometimes even the best precautions won’t prevent a dog bite, and you have to know what steps to take when that occurs. Following some simple guidelines will assist you when seeking care and presenting a claim for liability. Here is what to do when your child has been bitten.
OBTAIN NAMES AND ADDRESSES
You will need the names and addresses of those who witnessed the bite, and especially the name and address of the dog owner if they are present. If you can’t find the owner to verify the dog’s vaccination status, you may need to get rabies treatment for your child. If the dog is in the custody of someone other than the owner, you will need their contact information also.
It is a good idea to take photos of the wounds prior to treatment, which can establish the extent of the injury for any future claims against the owner. Don’t delay treatment too long to get photos, but many phones have camera features that will be adequate. Photos of the dog can also be useful if an owner were to deny the dog is theirs, or that there was a mistake in identity. It may even possible to get a DNA test for the dog if necessary.
SEE A DOCTOR
This is an obvious next step to make sure that the wound is treated and infection is prevented. Serious wounds can require surgery or stitches and need to be treated right away. At this point, your doctor can tell you if rabies shots are needed. Medical costs may be compensated by the dog owner in many cases, so keep a record of these charges.
CONTACT ANIMAL CONTROL OR THE POLICE
In order to have an official investigation and report, you have to contact certain authorities. Sometimes a dog has a history of biting, and you could prevent injuries to others by reporting your circumstances. If you are planning to pursue a claim against the owner for damages, having an official report will be evidence to support your version of events. They can conduct a ‘dangerous dog hearing’ as further evidence of your claim.
CONTACT YOUR ATTORNEY
A dog bite can carry many damages for a victim, especially when the victim is a child. There are the obvious medical costs for treating injuries, but also there may be compensation for the emotional trauma that occurs from a dog attack. The fear and memories can affect a child for many years, through no fault of their own. Some owners take pride in owning vicious attack dogs, but cannot escape responsibility if their animal injures a child. At Schrom & Shaffer, P.C., we can advise you on possible remedies from insurance companies or in court. Preserve your right to a claim by refusing to sign any documents from the owner’s insurance company, and don’t accept payment from the owner on the spot.