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Dog bite FAQ: What to do after an incident

Every year, hundreds of thousands of Americans become the victims of dog bite injuries. The number sounds unbelievable but people do not realize how common - and severe - dog bites can be. Dealing with a dog bite injury is stressful and not everyone knows how to handle this situation. Here are some common questions that arise after an attack:

Q: Do I have a personal injury case?

A: If the injury to the victim, whether it was you or your loved one, costs any significant amount of money and the dog owner is insured, you should consider pursuing a case. At the very least, you will need to have the bite examined and may need preventative measures against infection. You could need much more extensive medical attention, depending on the severity of the bite. You should not have to pay for an injury that was not your fault.

Many homeowners' and renters' insurance policies cover dog bites, so it is likely that the dog owner has coverage for the injuries you sustained. An attorney can review your case and discuss whether a case would be worth it.

Q: What if the dog owner is my friend/family member?

A: It is understandable that you do not want to sue someone close to you. However, you can pursue a case without harming your loved one in any way. When you make a claim, you are actually filing against the insurance company, not the dog owner. Any compensation you receive is coming from an insurer.

Q: What steps should I take before making a claim?

A: You need to be able to prove the incident and the extent of your injuries. You should report the bite to the police afterwards to make sure a record is on file. Photograph your injuries immediately after the attack and in the days following the bite to show any scarring or continued damage. You should also keep records of the medical attention you receive and note any medication you are given.

Then consider consulting with an attorney about how to proceed. Navigating the claims process can be confusing and you want to make sure you receive enough compensation to cover the full extent of your injuries.

Q: What damages can I recover?

A: The main area of compensation is the medical bills you face because of your injury. You can receive compensation for any lost income or lost time from work due to your injury too. Compensation might cover emotional suffering, which is especially relevant in cases involving children. Dog bites are usually more traumatic for young children than they are for adults.

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