Dog bites are dangerous to you not only because of the damage they cause physically, but also because of the emotional distress they cause. Imagine your child coming home from playing to find that he has bites that are bleeding. They’re deep, and instead of staying where he was, he ran away and came home. Now, you’re faced with a dilemma. You have to seek out medical care, but you also want to report the incident. Here’s what you can do now.
1. Get medical help, now
The very first thing you should do is to call 911 or take your child to the hospital. Time is of the essence in treating wounds, and the sooner they’re treated, the sooner your child will feel better. It’s important to clean out the wounds, and if they’re deep, your child may need surgery for the surgeons to get in deep enough to get out all the bacteria. If muscle, tendons, ligaments or bones are torn or broken, your child may need surgery to have them repaired.
2. Find out more about the dog
The next step is to find out more about the animal that attacked. If you weren’t at the scene, it’s time to go to the location where your child interacted with the dog and find out what happened.
It’s likely it was a known dog, like a neighbor’s pet or one of your child’s friend’s pets. It’s your responsibility to find out what happened and to talk to anyone who saw the incident. The owner of the dog might deny liability, but dog owners are held strictly liable for the injuries their animals cause. The information you need includes what happened, why it happened and where. You should have the police come to the scene to talk to both parties and write down a report of the incident.
3. Talk to your attorney
At this point, it’s time to talk to your attorney. While some people work out settlements or payment arrangements amongst themselves, your case might not be that easy. Your attorney can help put pressure on the individual to work with you or help you find ways that the person can pay through his or her pet insurance policy, home insurance policy or other avenues.
After you know what happened and what to expect, you can work with your attorney to determine a settlement amount you’d accept. You’ll need to consider things like medical costs, the cost of therapy for emotional trauma and other services and financial impacts caused by the attack.