What should I do if I am attacked by someone’s dog?
Author: Attorney Jason Macri
Dog ownership is more popular today than it has ever been. It seems like everywhere you go in South Florida, someone has brought their dog with them. One can almost certainly expect to encounter a dog at the beach, a park or any type of outside event. Recently though, people have been bringing their dogs to supermarkets, restaurants and other places one would not expect to find a dog. Obviously, service dogs are allowed to accompany their owner anywhere without issue. For whatever reason however, non-service dogs are not always restricted from areas where one wouldn’t expect to find them. As the presence of dogs in public places increases, the occurrence of dog attacks increase as well. Here are some important tips to remember if you or a loved-one are attacked by a dog.
Seek medical attention
First and foremost, if a person is bitten by a dog they should get medical treatment immediately. Even if the bite does not appear to have caused a large laceration, one never knows what is going on within the bite. Dogs carry diseases that can cause serious injuries to humans. Even if a dog is up to date on its immunizations, it is still possible for that dog to infect a human. Regardless of whether a person is bit by a dog or is cut in some other way, an open wound should always been addressed by a medical professional and should be treated for possible infection.
Gather information on the dog owner
In the State of Florida, the dog owner is strictly liable in the event that their dog causes injury to a human. It is therefore extremely important to gather information regarding the owner of the dog. The name of the dog owner alone may not suffice as there may be more than one person with that name. Try and gather as much information as possible. Address and telephone number would help ensure that you will be able to make contact with the dog owner at a later date if necessary.
Report the incident to the authorities
Call the police immediately if you are attacked by a dog. Report the incident to the police and allow them to document any and all relevant information. Allow them to see where you were bitten and what type of damage was caused. Police will typically notify animal control when a dog attack has occurred but if they do not, ask the police to notify animal control of the incident as soon as possible. If the police refuse to notify animal control then make sure you call animal control immediately. They may be able to determine if the dog has been immunized and also may help determine the owner of the dog.
Document your injuries
Photograph your wounds as soon as possible. It is important to get photographs while the wound is still fresh. Continue to take photos over time. It will be important to show how you are healing and how your injuries are progressing. If the wound becomes infected, get medical treatment for the infection as soon as possible. Catching an infection early is very important. Not seeking medical treatment for an infection can lead to some very grave injuries.
Call a lawyer with experience handling dog bite cases
Because the law regarding dog bites in the State of Florida differs from most other injury cases, it is very important to seek out a lawyer with experience handling dog bite cases. Your lawyer will be able to determine whether any insurance coverage exists that may be applicable to your incident. Hypothetically, if no coverage exists, your lawyer will determine what the potential outcome may be in the event that a lawsuit is filed. Most importantly, your lawyer will protect your rights and insure that your claim is handled properly. If you or a loved-one are attacked by someone else’s dog, call the Lawyers at the Law Office of Dell & Schaefer. We have over 30 years of experience representing dog bite victims. We will ensure that your rights are protected to the fullest extent of the law.