New York City Personal Injury Law Blog
Five Mistakes You should not make When Bitten by a Dog
A dog bite injury can be a truly traumatic experience indeed. However, if you have been bitten by a dog, you don’t want to commit the same mistakes that are commonly seen in most dog claims. In 2015, 34 dog attacks that turned fatal were reported in the US. Of these, 20 were adults while the rest were children.
In many states such as Florida, dog owners are held liable for any injuries caused when their dog bites another unsuspecting individual. This holds true regardless of any prior knowledge about the pet dog having the tendency to bite others.
The bite victim does not need to prove negligence on behalf of the dog owner to claim a fair compensation. However, the dog owner is exempted from paying compensation and is not held liable if a BAD DOG sign is displayed on their premises at the time of the incident.
Dog Bite Statistics
According to the CDC, approximately 800,000 people who suffer from dog bites require immediate medical attention and legal help from an experienced attorney. A large number of these dog bites occur within the home of the dog owner when they are visited by friends and others.
Sadly, it is children that make up a disproportionately large percentage of victims succumbing to dog bites. This ranks as the second biggest cause of injuries amongst children. Reports suggest that pit bulls, Rottweiler’s and mixed breed dogs are the ones that bite the most.
Dog Bites and Insurance
Most insurance companies exclude dog bite claims as they account for nearly 1/3rd of the homeowner policy claims filed, costing them over one billion dollars annually in settlements. If you are a dog owner, it is important that you ascertain whether your homeowner’s insurance covers dog bite claims.
If it does not, seek an insurance company that does not exclude dog bites. You can also purchase dog bite insurance separately if you do not wish to change your insurance company.
Common Mistakes Made by Most Dog Bite Victims
If you or someone you love has been bitten by a dog, there are a few cardinal mistakes that must be avoided:
Delay in seeking medical care – Do not delay in seeking medical care if you have been bitten by a dog. A dog’s mouth carries bacteria that can trigger a range of complications and infections, which can also spread to other body parts. If your skin gets broken, seek emergency medical attention right away.
This will also allow the doctor to close up any open wounds, which will minimize the degree of scarring. On the legal front, a trip to the emergency room will not just document the severity of the injuries, but also creates a paper trail that can come in handy while filing a claim.
Do not fail to notify the local animal control and police – This is something most victims simply forget to do. Notify the right authorities who will not merely document the event in detail, but also quarantine the dog for the purpose of rabies observation. An investigation will be conducted to establish liability on behalf of the dog owner.
Failing to take pictures of your bite injuries – If you want to prove the severity of a dog bite to a jury or insurance adjustor, it is a fantastic idea to take photographs of the injuries soon after the attack.
This will document your injuries and help your attorney prove the extent of the pain and suffering endured by you. Failing to do so will make it difficult for the attorney to establish your case, since the initial wounds may have healed and left little or no scarring.
Do not be dishonest with your doctors and the authorities – The credibility of the injured party is vital in every single personal injury claim. Disclose all the details to your doctor, who will document them in your medical records. Failing to inform your doctor about crucial facts can underplay the extent of your injuries and jeopardize your case.
Similarly, your insurance adjustors will use your credibility (or the lack of it) as a tool in their attempt to minimize your claim. The adjustor will try to shift the spotlight on your conduct rather than the dog owner’s negligence.
Do not attempt to settle your claim on your own – Always seek legal counsel. According to a study, those who seek legal help manage to settle their claims for amounts that are 3 ½ times higher than those who do not.
Most insurance companies compel people into settling their claims even before establishing the severity of the injuries and scarring. In cases of dog bite injuries, infections and scar revision surgery are costs that accumulate with time.
In a number of cases, these costs aren’t even anticipated. If you accept an immediate insurance settlement and sign a release, you will eliminate all possibilities of getting compensation in the event that the injuries are more severe than they initially appeared.
The most Incredible Law Firm Around
Being one of the largest personal injury attorney firms in the US with years of experience in dog bite claims, our attorneys are ready and willing to help you get a fair compensation. This is what we do! Call Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff, & Wolff of RMFW Law at 212 697 9280.