A dog bite is a painful and traumatic event nobody ever wants to experience. But more than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the U.S., and 800,000 of these injured people need immediate medical attention.
In the chaos after a dog bite, it’s easy to make mistakes you come to regret later. These mistakes could prevent you from being able to sue the dog’s owner or make a successful insurance claim, so let’s look at how to avoid them.
Mistake #1: Not Reporting the Dog Bite
Maryland dog owners can be responsible for their biting dogs. Make sure you report the bite to the authorities right away and get a copy of the paperwork associated with your dog bite report.
This is the first piece of evidence you’ll need to start an insurance claim or lawsuit. Without it, you’ll have a hard time establishing that a specific dog was the culprit – or that a dog bite really happened at all.
Mistake #2: Avoiding Immediate Medical Treatment
It’s essential to seek immediate medical treatment after a dog bite. Not only does this give you the best chance of healing from your injury, but it also establishes a medical record.
Evidence of your medical treatment forms the basis of any dog bite insurance claim or lawsuit. If you fail to get treatment as soon as possible, the other side may be able to say your injuries weren’t very serious. As crazy as it sounds, they may even try to claim that your injuries could have been from some other type of incident.
Mistake #3: Not Tracking Down the Owner
You can still hold a dog’s owner responsible even if the owner wasn’t present. Don’t give up on finding the owner just because the animal ran off or was wandering unleashed at the time of the attack.
The police, animal control, or your attorney may be able to help you locate the animal and/or its owners. A savvy investigator can use witness reports, interviews, and even nearby camera footage to track down a dog’s owner. If the dog has an implanted chip, this can be scanned for owner information too.
Mistake #4: Forgetting to Video/Photograph Your Injuries
When you’re in pain after fighting off a dog, it can be easy to forget to take photos or videos of your injuries. But you’ll need this visual evidence that shows exactly how bad your injuries were.
Don’t rely on a photo or medical scan from the hospital. Healthcare providers typically take only one photo or x-ray. A longer, more detailed video would be much more effective at showing the location and severity of your injuries, but it must be taken as soon as possible after the dog bite.
Mistake #5: Giving a Recorded Statement
We strongly caution you not to give a recorded statement to the insurance company or anyone else. Recorded statements are often used against injury victims to deny them the compensation they desperately need.
Don’t talk about your dog bite on audio or video. When in doubt, stay silent. Give only minimal details, like your name and contact information.
Insurance adjusters are highly skilled at picking apart your words and using them against you. When someone requests or even demands a recorded statement, say no and contact your lawyer.
Mistake #6: Not Having Excellent Legal Representation
If there’s one time in your life when you need top-notch legal representation, it’s right now. Dog bites can cause severe wounds and tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills. Choose an experienced Maryland dog bite lawyer who has the expertise to go up against insurance companies and other attorneys.
At Zirkin & Schmerling Law, we have extensive experience with dog bite cases. We also have great compassion for dog bite victims and will work tirelessly to help you secure the compensation you deserve.
Have a Legal Question? We Have Answers
When you need to learn more about your rights, the attorneys at Zirkin & Schmerling Law can help. Contact us or call us at (410) 753-4611 to set up an appointment with one of our experienced dog bite lawyers today.