With the nice weather, it’s not surprising that dog parks, dog beaches, and public parks have more dogs in them over the summer. However, the increased presence of dogs may mean that there’s a higher chance of being the victim of a dog bite. What can you do if you’re involved in one of these incidents? A Chicago dog bite attorney can help discuss options with you.
Are Certain Breeds More Dangerous?
While there are more news reports about bigger breeds, like pit bulls and their ilk, attacking and biting people, the truth is that any dog has the potential to bite someone if it is provoked. Even small, seemingly harmless dogs can bite and cause damage. If you or someone you care about does get bitten by a dog—unfortunately, many dog bite victims are children—it is important to seek medical attention, especially if the bite breaks the skin. Untreated bites can become infected or lead to long-term nerve damage, so it’s ideal to see a doctor as soon as possible. If the bite is severe or you are worried about how to pay medical bills, a personal injury lawyer can discuss your legal options with you.
How Can You Protect Yourself?
It may seem like dog bites are unpredictable and difficult to prevent, but the truth is there are often warning signs that a dog is feeling threatened or is about to attack. If a dog is showing its teeth, is snarling or growling, has its tail raised or is lunging at someone, it’s in everyone’s interest to get away from the dog to let it calm down. Failure to heed warning signs from a dog may lead to someone getting bitten and hurt. If you notice warning signs too late or a dog attacks without warning and you get hurt, go to a doctor to make sure you are protected against infection and diseases including rabies (though required, some dog owners refuse to vaccinate their pets). Then, a Chicago dog bite attorney can help you deal with the aftermath of the bite and discuss with you your options.
If a dog attacks you or someone else, it is within your rights to take any action necessary to end the attack. In some cases, you may even need to kill the dog when it’s legally justifiable. Although most dogs won’t attack unless provoked out of fear, anxiety, or protectiveness, there are many ways a dog owner may be held liable for dog bites. Bite victims can build a case with a dog bite attorney if they suspect the owner is at fault.
Taking Action Following Dog Bites
The first thing you should do after you or someone else has been attacked is to get the name and phone number of the dog’s owner, along with witness information for possible testimonies. Even if you don’t plan on filing a lawsuit immediately following an attack, you may find that
injuries develop over time and decide to build a personal injury case. If you don’t know who owns the dog, then the local animal control department may be able to locate the dog based on the descriptions you provide, and find its owner that way.
Once you have the names and contact information of a dog’s owner and any witnesses present, you should seek medical attention for any bite injuries sustained if necessary. Contact medical professionals immediately if you suspect the dog was infected with rabies or other diseases. Many cities may require a dog that’s recently bitten someone to be quarantined away from people and other animals, preventing them from making physical contact with others if they are infected with rabies.
You should also gain access to animal control department records after an attack. Local records may reveal that the attacking dog has a history of attacks. Dogs that have repeatedly attacked people may be labeled “dangerous” in some states and cities and require euthanasia if a judge orders it.
Building A Case
With help from a licensed dog bite attorney, you can gather all medical reports, witness testimonies, and animal control department records to file a lawsuit against the owner of an attacking dog. Dog bite lawyers will be able to use all of the information gathered to help you recover the highest compensation from liable owners and prevent future attacks.