Dogs are a beloved part of countless families throughout New York. Unfortunately, these seemingly perfect animal companions can seriously injure and even kill people in an attack.
If you or a loved one has suffered a dog bite, there are a few important steps you should take. O’Connor & Partners, PLLC has extensive experience serving dog bite injury victims. Call (845) 303-8777 today for a free review of your case in Kingston, Poughkeepsie, or Newburgh.
1. Get Medical Attention
Dog bites should always be taken seriously. A dog’s sharp teeth can cause deep lacerations and significant bleeding, and the force of the bite can break bones and damage soft tissue. In addition, dog bite victims are at risk of infection from the harmful bacteria that reside in the dog’s mouth.
Some dog bites can be treated at home with first aid, but it is always a good idea to see a doctor as soon as possible. You should call an ambulance or go to the emergency room immediately for serious bites. The doctor will examine the wound and clean and dress it. You may be prescribed antibiotics to help prevent infection.
If possible, photograph your injuries before they are treated. It is important to document the dog bite as part of your claim against the owner.
2. Get the Owner’s Information
Dog bites can happen in a variety of circumstances. You may be walking in the park or passing someone’s house, or you may be visiting a friend or family member. When you are bitten by a dog, it is crucial to know who the dog’s owner is.
The owner can provide crucial information about their pet, such as whether the dog is up to date on its shots. You will also need to know who the owner is and how to reach them in order to pursue compensation in a personal injury claim.
To recover compensation after a dog bite, you will generally need to file a claim with the owner’s homeowners or renters insurance company. An experienced attorney can help you obtain the policy information and handle communications with the insurance company on your behalf.
3. Talk to Witnesses
Again, the circumstances of a dog attack may vary. You may be at a party with family and friends, or you might be in a public place with strangers. Regardless of the situation, though, it is important to speak with anyone who saw the dog bite you.
Take down the name and contact information for any witnesses, and ask them to describe what they saw. This may include key details such as:
- The dog’s behavior
- Whether the dog was on a leash
- What the owner was doing at the time of the attack
Witness accounts may be crucial for your dog bite claim, especially If the owner says that you provoked the dog. Having witnesses who can support your case will reduce the ability of the owner’s insurance company to argue that you were partially at fault for your injuries.
4. Document Your Damages
Damages refer to the costs and other effects you experience after a dog bite injury. These may include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Difficulty or inability to do your job, affecting your future earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish
- Scarring and disfigurement
As you recover from the dog bite, keep a thorough record of any and all expenses, such as medical bills, explanation of benefit statements, and receipts for medications and other items. You should also make notes of the days you miss from work, and gather pay stubs or W-2 forms to show how much you are losing in wages.
In addition to monetary costs, it is important to document how your life is affected by your injuries as well. Consider keeping a journal of the pain you experience day-to-day, issues with sleep, activities and events in which you can no longer participate, and more.
5. Contact a Dog Bite Lawyer
Dog bite claims can be complicated. You may need to prove that the dog has a history of aggression or that the owner was negligent in order to recover full compensation for your injuries. The insurance company may dispute your claim or pay less than your case is worth.
Furthermore, you have a limited time in which to file a claim. The statute of limitations on dog bite claims in New York is 3 years. That might sound like a lot of time, but any delay can undermine your claim.
For all of these reasons, it is in your best interest to contact a dog bite lawyer as soon as possible after you are injured. Your attorney can provide guidance on your case and pursue the full compensation you deserve.
Start Building Your Dog Bite Claim Today
With more than 150 years of combined legal experience, the attorneys at O’Connor & Partners, PLLC have unparalleled experience representing injury victims in the Hudson Valley. Our team has achieved significant verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients, and we will strive to maximize the financial recovery in your case.
For a free consultation, please call (845) 303-8777 today. O’Connor & Partners, PLLC serves clients in Kingston, Poughkeepsie, Newburgh, and nearby areas of New York.