What To Do If You Are Bitten
Dog bites can be very scary and knowing what to do after a dog bite can be forgotten with the emotional and physical damage that is usually associated with dog bite attacks.
There are a few questions that you need to ask when assessing if you have a dog bite claim.
When were you bitten?
Utah law has a statute of limitations that can vary. Usually, the claim must be filed within four years of the incident. For children who were bitten, the statute of limitations does not begin until they turn 18.
Am I, in any way, at fault?
Dog owners are not always responsible for their dogs action if the person who was bit is in some way at fault. When this happens it is called comparative liability. For example, if the victim provoked the dog (hit, kicked, teased, or taunted) prior to the accident, the victim is likely at fault; meaning the owner is not liable.
The question then becomes, what if a child didn’t know they were provoking the dog?
Children sometimes do not know that what they are doing may be upsetting the dog and they don’t understand natural cues that the dog might be giving. The owner might say that the child’s actions made the dog attack. However, depending on the dog’s viciousness, it will usually outweigh the actions of the child.
Are the injuries covered by insurance?
The dog owner’s renters or homeowners insurance will almost always cover the cost of damages.
How is compensation evaluated?
Like most personal injury cases, it is difficult to put an amount on an injury. However, with dog bite cases, there are a few things that are brought into consideration.
Higher compensation is awarded when the bite injury is to the face or neck, compared to injury to an extremity. Also, if the injury left scarring or physical disfigurement may also result in higher compensation.
What is normally compensated in a dog bite claim?
Every case will vary, but in general the following may be compensated:
- Medical Expenses
- Loss of Earnings
- Loss of Future Earnings
- Pain and Suffering
Now that we have answered some of the main questions surrounding dog bite attacks, the question still remains; what do you do if you are bitten?
Seek medical attention
First things first, if the injury is severe and requires medical attention, call 911. In any personal injury case, you must be able to prove that you were in fact injured. Having medical records of the accident is a great way to begin the process of the claim.
Alert the authorities
In addition to contacting medical assistance, you should also alert the authorities to document the incident.
Get the dog owner and a witness’s information
Like car accidents, you should get the information of the other party that is involved. The authorities can help you with this but it is good to have some information from the incident of your own. Try to find a witness to the accident and get their information too. Your words can only go so far in a court room. Having a witness and other evidence could substantially help your case.
Take photos of your injuries
As mentioned, your case relies heavily on the severity of your injuries. Be sure to properly document your injuries to be sure you are fairly compensated for the damages and pain and suffering that likely ensued after the accident.
As much as we hate to admit it, our memories sometimes fail us. Dog bite claims can sometimes take months or even years to settle. Remembering every detail of an accident can be very difficult and there could be inconsistencies with your story which could ultimately end your claim. Like any accident, it is imperative to document the scene fully. Do your best to take notes and ask important questions like: was the dog on a leash?; was the owner in control of the dog?; did I provoke the dog? Trying to remember a traumatic event can sometimes be hard but doing the documenting immediately following the attack is the best.
Hire a lawyer
As mentioned, dog bite claims can sometimes take a long time to settle and you should not settle for less than what you deserve. Hiring an experienced dog bite attorney would help you avoid such mistakes.
Christensen & Hymas has dedicated and professional lawyers ready to help you with your dog bite case. If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, call (801)506-0800 for a free confidential consultation to discuss your rights and the compensation that you deserve for the pain and suffering endured from the dog bite.
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