Three Things You Should Never Do If a Dog Bites Your Loved One

Posted on: 30 September 2015

When your loved one is bitten by a dog, the actions you take determine whether he or she gets the relevant compensation for his or her injuries. In such instances, what you do not do is just as important as what you don't do. Here are three things you shouldn't do:

Argue with the Dog Owner

There is nothing legally wrong with arguing with the owner of the dog, but it isn't likely to help you much. Many people never want to believe that their lovable pets can cause harm to other people. You don't want to waste time arguing about whether the dog was provoked, or about similar issues that dog owners usually bring up. Instead of arguing, focus on getting your loved one medical care and identifying the dog and its owner. In fact, even after getting emergency care for your loved one, you should avoid negotiating with the homeowner without making a police report first.

Record Statements Concerning the Injury

The period immediately after the dog bite is likely to be one of confusion for all the involved parties, but your level of confusion may be higher than that of the dog owner. Thus, this isn't the time to be making declarations, signing papers, or recording statements. Don't sign papers "just to get rid of the bothersome dog owner" or say yes to questions just to get out of the situation. In fact, some dog owners may take advantage of your feelings at this time to make you absolve them of or reduce their liabilities for the injuries. For example, if he or she claims that your loved one was petting the dog, and you agree with the sentiments, then your admission may be used (later) to claim that the dog was provoked. You should only make statements or sign papers after talking to a lawyer.

Opt for Home Care

There are two main reasons for seeking professional medical care after a dog bite. The first one is that even seemingly minor bites may involve puncture wounds. Such wounds may become entry points for germs and cause infections. Also, the longer you delay treatment, the higher the chances of scars forming on the wound sites. The second reason is that both the defendant's insurance company and the court will need proof of injury, and the medical report (alongside the police report) can provide this very well.

It's not just a matter of presenting your claim and getting compensated. The owner may try to avoid liability by claiming, for example, that you were trespassing on his or her property, or that you provoked the dog. An experienced personal injury attorney can help prove your case.