Dogs may be man's best friend, but all too often we hear stories of people who are seriously injured in dog attacks. In fact, statistics from the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC) show that almost 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs every year, with half of these victims being children. One in five dog bites cause injuries serious enough to require medical attention.
Although dog owners can take a number of precautions to prevent dog bites, there are situations where these animals simply behave like animals. When victims suffer injuries caused by dog bites or attacks that could have been prevented, there are laws in place that can help them recover their damages, including medical bills.
Understanding your rights and the steps that can be taken after a dog bite is crucial to protecting yourself and your ability to file a dog bite claim:
- Get Medical Treatment – Just as with any accident or injury, it is best for your own safety to seek medical treatment. Dog bites can be very serious and some dogs may transmit certain diseases such as rabies.
- Identify Dog & Owner – Depending on the situation, it may be difficult to determine to whom a dog may belong. Be careful when attempting to identify a dog, especially after an attack. If you don't know the dog or its owner, you can ask neighbors, witnesses, and other bystanders if they have seen the dog before or if they know the owner.
- Collect Information & Evidence – After a dog bite, you can protect your potential personal injury claim by collecting any relevant information and evidence. Collect the information of the dog owner, information about the dog, and contact information from any witness who may have seen the attack. You can also take pictures or video of the dog, the scene, and any visible injuries.
- File a Report – If you are able to do so, file a report with law enforcement or your local animal control. The report will help provide further evidence of your attack, and will include information recorded by a neutral third party.
- Contact a Lawyer – After suffering a preventable dog bite, you should always contact an attorney who can help you understand your legal rights, the dog bite laws that may apply to your case, and whether you may be able to file a claim for damages. It's important to contact an attorney as soon as possible, and to work with attorneys who have experience handling dog bite cases.
Dog bite cases can be complex, and they can combine local, county, and state laws. Anyone who is serious about recovering money from their dog bite case should work with experienced and proven lawyers who know the laws and how to protect the rights of injured victims and their families. Here at George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers, our South Carolina dog bite attorneys are prepared to help victims of dog attacks determine if they have a claim.
We offer FREE, personalized case reviews, have several office locations across the state, and can come to you!