How to File a Claim for a Dog Bite
Most people are animal lovers, so it’s inevitable to want to pet a dog when you see them coming toward you. After asking the owner for permission, it’s natural to bend to pet your new furry friend. Then, once it’s time to part ways, everyone leaves happy, a smile on your face and the dog with its tail wagging. These are all normal interactions with a dog.
What isn’t a normal interaction is to start running from a dog that is trying to chase you and harm you. It’s not normal to have to fend yourself from an animal attacking you. And the vicious bite that comes from that attack can leave physical and emotional scars that take a long time to heal.
So if you or a loved one has been attacked, filing a dog bite report with your local animal control agency is important. It is also important to seek medical attention as soon as possible for the bite. Continue reading to learn the whys and hows of filing a dog bite report.
Why Should I File a Dog Bite Report?
It seems like a logical decision to report a dog bite after it happens. If the dog that bit you is an unfamiliar pet, reporting them could possibly save others from being bitten as well.
If the animal is rabid or well-known for being dangerous, reporting the incident helps prevent other animals from becoming rabid and protects others from being attacked. But if the one that bit you is a dog you know, you might hesitate in reporting the bite out of worry for what might happen to the animal.
But reporting the dog bite, regardless of relationship or lack thereof with the animal, is an important step to take. Here’s why:
- Filing a claim provides legal documentation to help you if you have to file a lawsuit or an insurance claim against the owner. A report will also help you obtain all the records for the dog, including information on its owner, its history, and vaccination information. In some cases, it might even provide you evidence that you can give to your insurance company or the lawyer representing you in the lawsuit.
- It allows local authorities to enforce local and state dog bite laws. A report of this nature leads to an investigation into the incident. If the dog is seen as dangerous, the owner may be required to take extra precautions to ensure public safety. Criminal consequences and fines may follow if they fail to comply.
- As mentioned above, it helps protect others from being attacked by the dog that bit you. A dog owner is more likely to take extra precautions once the authorities are made aware of their pet’s dangerous behavior. In a more extreme case, if the animal is deemed as particularly vicious, it may need to be put down so no more attacks occur.
- This report can also help protect dogs that are being abused or neglected by their owners. By reporting the dog bite, you may actually be saving the dog from a cruel owner.
How Do I File a Dog Bite Report?
After sustaining a dog bite, your first step should be to seek medical attention. Animal bites in general lead to a risk of infection and possibly even rabies. Document your injuries and the conditions surrounding the incident. Talk with anyone who might have witnessed the attack, write down what you can recall from the attack, and take pictures of your wound before it has been treated. It is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney in your area to help you with the process.
After this initial step, find out where your local animal control agency is so you can find out how to file a report for the incident. They may be a division of your local police or county’s health department, humane society, or some other department or organization. The forms will be a mixture of online or submission via fax. Some forms might require you to call in and initiate the reporting process.
Finally, your cooperation with animal control’s investigation is important. Subpoenas may be issued, witnesses may be interviewed, and hearings may be held to determine what happened and what needs to happen with the pet and its owner.
A Report Has Been Filed Against My Dog- What Do I Do?
There’s another side to this situation- Being the owner whose pet has been reported. If you’re in this situation, the most important thing you can do is cooperate during the investigation. You should also consider contacting an attorney who specializes in dog bites.
There are a lot of repercussions that could happen as a result of this incident. The attorney will know what laws apply to your case and any legal defenses that might be available to you.
If you or someone you know has been a bite victim, dog or otherwise, seek legal advice after filing your report. Depending on the severity of your dog bite wound, plastic surgery may be required, meaning you may be entitled to financial compensation from the owner. Call the Law Offices of Scott J. Senft and get your free consultation today!