What To Do Legally, If A Dog Bites You?

When a dog bites, take immediate steps to ensure your safety. Get away from the dog and seek immediate medical help. If the attack is ongoing or your injuries are severe, call 911. If your injuries do not require emergency care, you should still seek medical attention as soon as possible to protect your health and your legal rights.

To claim compensation for a dog bite injury, you must be able to prove a direct link between your injuries and the dog bite. Any delays in seeking medical attention could make it harder to establish a clear link between the two. As soon as you are physically able, make contact with a dog bite attorney.

Protect Your Legal Rights After a Dog Bite

You should complete the following steps as soon as possible to protect yourself legally after a dog bite:

  • Get the dog owner’s contact details: Whether you think you will pursue compensation or not, you need to get the dog owner’s details immediately, including his or her name and phone number.
  • Get the dog owner’s insurance details: Many people have liability insurance that covers dog attacks, typically renters or homeowners insurance. Ask them for the details of this policy as well; you may be able to claim compensation from it.
  • Collect the contact details of eyewitnesses: Dog attacks can quickly turn into a game of he said, she said. Eyewitness testimony could help to strengthen your case and may resolve questions of liability. If you do not know who owns the dog, eyewitnesses could help animal control identify them.
  • Photograph the scene: Ideally, get pictures of the dog, your immediate injuries, and where the incident happened. For example, if the dog got through a hole in a fence and attacked you, be sure to take a picture of the hole before it can be repaired.
  • Keep a file of medical evidence: Keep records from visits to the doctor’s office and hospital, along with medical reports that speak to your injuries. This file of evidence could help a dog bite attorney build a clear link between the attack and your injuries and expenses.
  • Report the bite to animal control: Utah law requires that all dog bites are reported to animal control immediately. In Salt Lake County, an animal control officer will attend the scene. He or she will investigate whether there is a possibility of rabies transmission. The officer will also note the details to track data and trends to protect the community.

Some dog bites are very serious and can be fatal. Children and elderly people are especially vulnerable. In some cases, a dog attack may even lead to criminal charges.

To protect your rights, you may choose to call the police after a dog bite. Police officers can document the incident and decide whether it merits further investigation.

What Not to Do After a Dog Bite

The immediate aftermath of a dog bite is distressing for everyone involved, including the dog’s owner. Tensions can run high, and it could be easy to get into a heated argument about liability.

However, arguing may only make the problem worse. It is better to remain calm and focus on getting medical attention and gathering details. Later, when you have received advice from an attorney, you can consider who might be at fault.

Do not brush it off

Do not skip getting medical attention. As dog bites can transmit rabies, it is vital to see a doctor immediately. Additionally, a dog bite may not be too painful at first, but other complications may follow. The wound could become infected, and nerve damage may not be obvious at first.

Doctors in Utah are obliged to report the treatment of bites within 24 hours, and you may be monitored to check whether prophylaxis or treatment is needed.

Do not talk to the insurance company

You may be able to seek compensation from the dog owner’s liability insurance. While this seems great, remember that the insurance company is not on your side. Their goal is to pay you as little as possible and minimize your injuries and suffering.

Insurance adjusters may call you and appear sympathetic. However, they could use your words against you later and try to reduce the value of your settlement. So be very wary about talking to the insurance company at any stage of the process.

Protect your rights by talking to a dog bite attorney first. Lawyers often advise their clients to leave all contact with the insurance company to them. They know insurance company tactics and will not share information that the other party is not entitled to know.

Do not talk to the dog’s owner

In some cases, the owner of the dog may approach you to apologize and offer to make a private settlement. This may be offered with the best of intentions, but it is very unlikely that a private settlement will take into account the full extent of your injuries and suffering.

Instead, it is better to politely decline to discuss settlements and leave these negotiations to your dog bite attorney who has the experience necessary to accurately calculate the financial impact of your injuries. You may be more likely to achieve a fair settlement if you entrust your case to a qualified lawyer and let him or her handle everything for you.

Why You Can Trust Siegfried & Jensen Dog Bite Attorneys

After a dog bite, it is vital to protect your legal rights. After getting medical help and informing the police and animal control, it is time to talk to a dog bite lawyer. Although there are many dog bite attorneys operating in Utah, Siegfried & Jensen are a safe pair of hands with which to entrust your case.

Our attorneys have been fighting for the rights of Utah accident victims for over 30 years. During that time, we have built a 97-percent success rate in over 35,000 cases and recovered over $1.2 billion for our clients. If we take on your case, you can trust us to pursue fair compensation and defend your legal rights to the hilt.

Do not delay in talking to a compassionate and experienced dog bite attorney. Call us at (801) 845-9000 today for a free case evaluation. Alternatively, complete our online form and we will get back to you soon.

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Content checked by personal injury attorney Todd Bradford. I worked for a small law firm in Utah County, where I handled various types of cases. My main focus was personal injury and I decided that is what I enjoyed doing the most. I rejoined Siegfried and Jensen in 2012 where my focus is solely on helping personal injury clients. I take pride in helping personal injury clients and enjoy serving them. If you need an attorney for auto accidents or injuries of any kind in Salt Lake City, UT, Ogden, UT, Spokane, WA, or Boise, ID, contact us.