We love our dogs and consider them family, yet it’s important to remember that as much as they might feel like man’s best friends, dogs are not humans — they are animals, and animals have unpredictable behaviors. Sometimes our insight into their actions and motives is unclear.
Whether it’s a familiar dog who suddenly acts out in an unexpected way or a stranger’s dog who roams loose and attacks, it’s important to know what to do if you’ve been injured by a dog.
Though dog attacks are terrifying and traumatic, by keeping as cool a head as possible after the attack, you can maximize your chances to recover damages to ensure you make the best possible physical and economic recovery.
Steps to Take After a Dog Bite Injury
The aftermath of a shocking and painful dog attack is extremely distressing. If it was a very serious attack and you have multiple injuries, you may need to wait in place for emergency services to arrive so you don’t worsen your injuries. If you are able to move safely, taking the following steps or asking a bystander to take them for you can help:
- Call 911 to report the attack and your injuries
- Call your local animal control services to report the attack
- Take photos of your injuries and any relevant factors, such as an open gate, broken dog leash, or broken fence
- Take photos and videos of the dog if it’s still nearby
- Collect contact information for the dog’s owner if he/she is present
- Get the contact information for any eyewitnesses
- Accept emergency transport to a hospital or go to a hospital as soon as possible after the incident for a thorough evaluation and ask for a detailed report of your injuries, recommended treatment, and prognosis for recovery
- Follow all of your doctor’s instructions
- Ask about preventative care for rabies. In cases of an unidentified dog, the animal may require quarantine and rabies testing
- Place your torn and damaged clothing in a plastic bag to keep as evidence
- Call a skilled dog bite injury lawyer in Pittsburgh with experience in dog attack litigation
Injuries from dog attacks can be minor or severe. Dog attacks commonly result in injuries such as lacerations and punctures, fractures, head and brain injuries, spinal injuries, and eye injuries. In some cases, dog bites result in permanent scarring and disfigurement.
What Compensation Is Available After a Dog Attack Injury?
If you experienced significant injuries, you may be able to recover compensation for damages such as:
- Medical expenses
- Future medical expenses if you require reconstructive surgery, rabies treatment, or any other procedures related to the attack
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
In states like Pennsylvania with strict dog bite liability laws, owners are liable for their dog’s actions, even if the dog has no history of aggressive behavior. Dog bite victims don’t have to prove the owner’s responsibility for a dog attack since they have automatic liability. The only exceptions are those cases of dog bites resulting from provocation by the victim, or when the bite victim is trespassing or engaging in criminal behavior.
If you’ve been injured by a dog attack, you deserve compensation for the damages you’ve suffered. Getting a Pittsburgh personal injury attorney on your side can help you recover compensation from the liable party. While financial compensation cannot undo the harm, it can help you to move forward with better access to medical care and fewer financial worries.