7 Mistakes to Avoid After a Dog Bite Injury
Dog bite attacks can be traumatic events that result in devastating injuries. If you’ve suffered a dog bite injury, you are most likely entitled to recover compensation for your damages. However, the actions you take following the attack can impact your ability to maximize the value of your compensation. In order to give yourself the best chances of a successful outcome in your dog bite lawsuit, make sure to avoid the following 7 mistakes.
Leaving the Scene of the Attack too Quickly
If you’ve been seriously injured and require emergency medical treatment, then seeking the care you need must be your top priority. But if your injuries don’t reach this level of severity, it’s important that you remain at the scene of the attack to gather some important information that will be helpful when you file your dog bite claim. This includes:
- Name and contact information of the dog’s owner
- Information regarding whether the dog is current on its vaccinations
- Names and contact information of any witnesses who may be able to support your version of what happened
Before leaving, you should also take photos of the scene to help document the events of the attack. Make sure to take pictures of the dog as well as the scene. When photographing the scene, try to show the precise location of the attack and if possible, try to visually demonstrate where you were in relation to the dog when it attacked you.
Failing to Seek Medical Attention
Even minor dog bites can result in serious injuries if they’re not treated properly and promptly. Without proper treatment, you’re at greater risk of developing an infection that can lead to serious complications down the road. In addition, if you’re unsure whether the dog is current on its rabies vaccines, failing to seek treatment places you at risk of getting rabies, which is potentially life threatening.
Therefore, it’s critical that you visit your doctor immediately after a dog bite attack. This will ensure your injuries are treated properly, minimizing your risk of additional complications at a later date.
Seeking medical attention is important for several other reasons:
- You don’t know how serious your injuries are – Even a bite that looks like a minor bruise or scratch may have caused significant damage to nerves, tendons, bones or muscles beneath the skin. Seeing a doctor will determine the full extent of your injuries.
- You’ll document the full extent of your injuries – Your doctor will be able to provide you with a full report of the severity of your injuries. This documentation will be important for a future dog bite lawsuit.
- Symptoms of rabies and infection often take a long time to appear – By the time you develop symptoms, you may be at risk of permanent damage. Seeking prompt medical attention ensures these issues are treated in their earliest stages, minimizing the risk of permanent damage.
- Failing to seek treatment may jeopardize your ability to maximize your compensation – Colorado’s comparative negligence laws state that your compensation may be reduced by the percentage of negligence attributed to your actions. If your injuries are made more severe because you didn’t seek treatment, you may potentially be found partially negligent for the severity of your injuries, and your compensation may be reduced accordingly.
Failing to Take Pictures of Your Injuries
It’s important to document the severity of your injuries to use as evidence in a future lawsuit. While your medical reports provide one aspect of this documentation, you will also want to provide visual evidence that demonstrates the extent to which you were injured.
Make sure you take pictures of your injuries immediately following the attack. If your injuries become worse over time, you should start taking pictures each day to document the progression of severity.
Failing to Call the Police
It’s understandable if you’re reluctant to call the police, especially if you know the dog’s owner. However, calling the police is an important step after a dog bite injury since it creates an official record of the attack. The police officer dispatched to the scene will take statements from all parties involved in the incident, as well as any potential witnesses at the scene.
This police documentation can become critical evidence in a future lawsuit. It will also ensure your lawyer has the contact information of any witnesses so that they can be contacted for additional questioning as your lawyer prepares your case.
Speaking to the Insurance Company About the Attack
You will most likely be contacted by the dog owner’s insurance company shortly after the incident. The insurance company will ask you to provided a recorded statement regarding the events of the attack. You should never speak with the insurance company without an attorney being present.
The insurance company isn’t on your side. Their goal is to minimize the amount of money they must pay on your claim. Therefore, they will try to find something in your statement that may indicate you were at least partially at fault for the attack, since this may reduce your compensation. Furthermore, this insurance statement may be used against you by the dog owner’s legal team in a future lawsuit.
To avoid these issues, always have your lawyer deal directly with the insurance company.
Thinking You Don’t Have a Case
Depending on the events of the attack, you may think you don’t have a case. In most situations, this is simply not true. With very few exceptions, you will most likely have a valid case regardless of the circumstances associated with the attack.
Colorado adheres to strict liability in dog bite lawsuits. This means you don’t have to demonstrate that the dog’s owner was negligent or that the dog was prone to aggression. Under strict liability laws, the dog owner is responsible for your injuries even if they took all precautions to control their dog or it is the first time their dog attacked someone.
Not Hiring a Lawyer
Dog bite cases can be very complex, and it can be challenging for you to document the full extent of your damages without the help of an experienced lawyer. Therefore, you should always work with a lawyer after suffering a dog bite injury. The sooner you hire a lawyer the better, as it’s important for your legal team to begin investigating your case while the evidence is still fresh and witnesses remember what happened.
Working with a lawyer will help ensure you’re able to maximize your compensation in several ways:
- Your lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, increasing the likelihood that you’ll receive a fair settlement offer.
- Your lawyer can help you document all damages associated with your injuries, including medical bills, lost wages, and all noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering.
- Your lawyer can advise you regarding whether it’s in your best interest to accept a settlement offer or take your case to trial.
Pushchak Law Can Help
If you’ve been injured in a dog bite attack in the Denver area, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. At Pushchak Law, we’ve made dog bite cases a primary focus of our practice. Brian Pushchak knows the complex laws governing these cases, and his specialization in this area of law will give you the edge you need when seeking to maximize the value of your compensation.
Mr. Pushchak has created a unique Informed Decisions Approach™ that is focused on helping you get the best possible outcome to your case. This approach ensures you remain in control of the entire process. Mr. Pushchak will discuss your goals for the case with you in detail and explain your legal rights to ensure you fully understand all your options. While he’ll recommend the best strategy to achieve your desired outcome, you always have final say on the way your case is handled.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Pushchak Law serves clients in Denver and the surrounding areas of Colorado.
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