Out of all the accidents that can befall you, you hardly ever think what will happen in case of a dog bite. We tell our children who just learned to drive what to do in case of an accident - where their insurance cards are, who to call, and compensation is easy to figure out. It wasn’t until a family member was bitten by a dog a few weeks ago, that I realised that there is no easy procedure for all accidents that happen to you. We were completely unprepared for a dog bite injury, and although we knew we were entitled to compensation, we didn’t quite know how to go about it. Here are some tips just in case - some things we learned along the way, and all of them I wish I knew before I desperately needed it.
Can a dog bite entitle you compensation?
Let us say one morning you wake up for your usual jog and just as you are about to pass the park a dog suddenly decides to attack you. Will you be entitled to dog bite compensation? The answer is yes. A dog bite can be a minor scrape or severe tissue damage. Psychological trauma can also occur whereby you as the victim become anxious whenever you see a dog. The law recognizes this as an injury that you should be compensated for.
After a being bitten by a dog the first thing you should do is seek medical treatment for your injury. The doctor should then issue you with a report that states all the expenses you incurred, the status of the injury and any medical follow up recommendations. A dog bite can result in a bacterial infection, rabies and if left untreated can cause death in some extreme cases. Missing work as a result of a dog bite can make you lag behind your financial schedule so ensure any hospital stay is also documented.
How do you claim Dog Bite Compensation?
These are the key steps to be followed if you are bitten by a dog:
- If you know the owner of the dog, alert them about the incident and exchange contact information. It is also advisable to request the vaccination status of the dog from a vet. If it is an uncontained dog and the owner cannot be identified call animal control immediately.
- Ensure you file a report with the police or animal control since the record will make your case stronger. You can also take pictures of the injury, even if it’s just broken skin you are still entitled to compensation.
- If anyone witnessed the attack have them give you their contact information and encourage them to testify when needed. Talk to anyone else who could have witnessed the dog’s aggressive behavior previously and request them for a statement.
- Find yourself the right attorney specializing in personal injury and one who will work on a no win no fee agreement. An attorney will provide you with valuable advice regarding your claim to ensure that you receive a just compensation.
What makes a Dog Bite Compensation Valid?
A dog owner is obliged to keep their dog from situations that may cause it to make a wrongful attack. Failure to this duty they are held accountable for any damages caused by the dog. If it is a stray dog the victim should file a report with the police and seek compensation from the state.
For a dog bite injury claim to be valid the court first ensures that you did not purposely cause the dog to attack you. In such a scenario the injury will be declared as self-inflicted. If it is proved that you provided false evidence you are likely to face a judicial persecution. The second major statute limitation is time, in most states; the claim should be filed in court within and not exceeding one year from the time of occurrence. One year here refers to a 365-day duration. The time taken for your dog bite compensation claim to be settled may be weeks to months. There are several factors that will influence this duration and they include:
- Injury severity: If the compensation amount offered by an insurance company is not sufficient your attorney may advise you to hold off first until you have fully recovered. This provides the advantage of having all your actual medical expenses being compensated.
- Recovery time: It is advisable not to settle your case before your treatment is over. How long it takes you to recover influences the duration of your case. Sometimes, this includes very serious injuries, as there are complications and infections that may lead to
- Settlement options: Often dog bite cases are settled through the dog owner’s home or renter’s insurance. If the insurance company does not negotiate a reasonable offer you should file a lawsuit which means more time on the case.
Common Claims After A Dog Bite
A dog bite compensation claim should cover your physical and psychological injuries including all the past and future resultant costs. The most common claims include:
- Lost wages
- Physical pain and suffering
- Medical and rehabilitation expenses
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Home nursing costs
The court calculates the compensation amount by estimating a monetary value to your predicted life before the injury and that of your expected new life after the injury.
A dog offers adorable companionship not to forget its impressive guarding skills which every pet lover can attest to. To ensure your dog does not cause unnecessary injury it is important that you abide by your state’s laws regarding keeping pets. The Animal Control department is under obligation to house stray dogs or put them down when necessary. Everyone has a right to carry on their legal activities without fearing the presence of dogs amidst us.