Most people have overwhelmingly positive associations with dogs, and nobody expects to be bitten by a dog. However, each year, more than 4.5 million people are attacked by a dog. Of those, over 850,000 require medical care. In many cases, an animal owner’s homeowner’s insurance policy covers the costs of a dog bite victim’s injuries. In fact, in 2020, homeowner’s insurance companies paid out more than $854 million in dog bite claims. At Briskman Briskman & Greenberg, our Illinois dog bite lawyers have extensive experience handling these complex claims and understand how to effectively establish an animal owner’s liability as well as the full extent of your injuries.
After being attacked by a dog, you may have many questions. These cases can often be complicated. However, it is important to remember that, in the vast majority of cases, the dog owner’s insurance company is the one responsible for covering your expenses—not the owner themselves.
If a dog has recently attacked you or a loved one, there are a few steps you should take to preserve your ability to recover financial compensation for your injuries.
Obtain Immediate Medical Care
After a dog bite, the most important thing to do is call 911, visit an urgent care facility or make an appointment with your healthcare provider. In cases involving severe injuries, immediate medical attention is necessary to prevent worsening injuries. One out of every five dog bite wounds become infected, leading to a host of other complications. While doctors may not be able to prevent infection, they can monitor your condition and treat any infection to decrease the chances of potentially lifelong injuries. Additionally, you should follow all of the treating physician’s recommendations for obtaining follow-up medical treatment.
Document Where the Attack Occurred
Dog bites are incredibly traumatizing, and it is common to forget details about an attack unless you jot them down. One of the most important things you can do after a dog bite is to write down where the attack occurred. If you know who the animal belonged to, note this as well. If the person who was with the dog at the time claims not to be the animal’s owner, you should still get their name. If possible, you should also collect the homeowner’s insurance information from the owner.
Photograph Your Injuries
As soon as you can safely do so, take a few pictures of the affected area. This can serve as proof of the seriousness of your injuries. While healthcare professionals may take pictures, and you can also do so later on, photos taken immediately after an attack are much better at illustrating the severity of your injuries.
File a Report
Depending on where you live, you will also want to contact the local animal control center to report the attack. Animal control centers track the number of dog bites and determine what to do with the dog after an attack. Often, if a dog can attack once, there is a strong possibility that it will do it again. Reporting the bite serves as proof of the incident and protects others who may encounter the animal in the future.
Speak With an Experienced Dog Bite Lawyer
After a dog bite, you will likely get a call from the animal owner’s insurance company. They may want to talk about the attack, where you were located, what you were doing and whether you would accept a certain sum of money in exchange for an agreement not to file a lawsuit. However, you should not agree to anything with the insurance company without speaking with a lawyer first. If an insurance company is offering to settle a case immediately, it often means it knows that the case could result in a much higher payout. Working with an experienced lawyer ensures that you receive full and fair compensation for your injuries.
Have You Been the Victim of a Dog Bite?
If you, your child, or another family member recently suffered a dog bite or attack, contact the Illinois personal injury attorneys at Briskman Briskman & Greenberg to schedule a free consultation. Since 1987, Briskman Briskman & Greenberg has been helping dog bite victims seek meaningful compensation that allows them to move on more easily with their lives after suffering serious injuries. As a part of the Briskman Guarantee, we never charge you for our representation unless we are able to help you recover compensation for your injuries. To learn more and schedule a free consultation with one of our Illinois dog bite lawyers, call us at 877-595-4878. You can also reach us through our online contact form.