If man’s best friend becomes your worst enemy and you suffer a dog bite or attack, what you do afterward will be crucial. Depending on the steps you take after a dog bite, your chances of recovering fair compensation later will increase or decrease, so you want to make certain you are doing the right things.
Steps to Take After a Dog Attack
After you are bitten or attacked by a dog, you should:
- Get to safety: Of course, the first thing you need to do after a dog bites you is to get away from that dog and to a secure location. Even if the dog’s owner is there, they might not be able to control their dog because they likely already failed to do so. Do not rely on them for your safety if you can help it.
- Call the authorities: If the dog is acting overly aggressive and might be a continued danger to other people, then you should call the authorities. Animal control officers can contain an angry canine when its owner cannot be located or cannot control the dog themselves. In some cities, like Chicago, Illinois, you also must report a dog attack to the local animal control board within 24 hours.
- Take pictures: If it is safe to do so, try to use your phone to take pictures of the dog that attacked you. Photographs of its owner and where the attack occurred are also important. For example, you can use photographic evidence to show you were not trespassing or that the dog had no collar or leash at the time of the attack.
- Talk to eyewitnesses: See if you can get contact information from anyone who witnessed the dog attack, including, of course, the dog’s owner. Passersby might be able to provide a clearer picture of what happened from their distanced point-of-view. The owner needs to be identified so you know who can be held liable for your damages.
- Seek medical care: Assuming you are not rushed to urgent care for a severe dog bite, you should make your way there once you can leave the scene of the attack. Dog bites commonly require stitches to heal correctly. Antibiotics and a rabies shot might also be prescribed by a doctor to prevent dangerous infections from forming due to the bite.
Taking Legal Action After a Dog Attack
Once you have received medical treatments for your dog bite injury and you are comfortably back in your own home, you should already consider taking legal action against the dog’s owner. To begin, check to see if your state uses the “one-bite” rule for dog attacks. As the name implies, the “one-bite” rule reduces a dog owner’s liability for harm the canine does to other people if that owner had no reason to suspect the animal would behave aggressively, i.e., it had never bitten anyone before.
Many states have moved away from the “one-bite” rule, though, because it strips too much responsibility away from dog owners to restrain and train their pets. States like Illinois, Utah, California, and more use a strict liability rule of some form, which allows a dog bite victim to pursue full compensation from the dog’s owner in most situations. Because the dog bite rule in your state or county could be complicated, and filing an injury claim is complex to begin with, it is highly recommended you work with a local attorney to figure out if you have a claim for compensation.
Contact Our Chicago Dog Bite Lawyers
McHargue & Jones, LLC can help you sort out what to do next if you were attacked by someone else’s dog in Chicago. Our dog attack attorneys have more than 20 years of collective experience handling complex injury cases, including dog bite claims in which it is initially not clear if the dog owner was liable or not. We are well-versed in liability laws and evidence analysis to get to the bottom of any case that comes our way.
Call (312) 487-2461 or contact us online now to learn more.