Dogs are wonderful friends to us, so much so that we sometimes forget that they have the capacity to cause us harm. The chances of a dog bite increase when animals become stressed or overstimulated, are poorly trained, or improperly restrained or supervised by their owners. Whether a dog bite incident takes place on public or private property, you can increase your chances of receiving appropriate compensation by following the tips below:
Provide medical care: Animal bites are prone to fast-developing infections and there's always the risk of rabies in unvaccinated pets. If a dog bite resulted in a puncture wound, or something more serious, it's important to provide medical care right away. Gently wash out smaller wounds with soap and water, take first aid measures to stop any bleeding, and if possible take pictures of the wound to provide documentation of its severity.
Get contact information: Exchange information with the dog's owner or handler, so that animal control officers and other authorities can verify vaccination history and take measures to quarantine the dog, if needed.
Talk to witnesses: Talk to any witnesses of the bite and get their contact information to provide to your lawyer or insurance company, as observer accounts can be invaluable to your dog bite claim.
File a Report: You should also notify the Pennsylvania Division of Disease Control, which will allow them to follow up on the case and notify you if you're at risk for rabies exposure. Be sure to include the following information:
- A description of the biting animal/s
- Is the animal a pet or a stray?
- If the biting animal is a pet, provide their owner's contact information
- The circumstances of the bite, in as much detail as you can provide
Keep in mind that the statute of limitations for an animal attack is two years-waiting too long can invalidate your claim and prevent you from receiving fair compensation.