What to Do if You're Bitten by a Dog
If you have been bitten by a dog and suffered personal injuries, call our experienced attorneys at Villani & DeLuca, P.C., at (732) 655-2333 and talk to one of our NJ Dog Bite Lawyers, who will take the time to discuss your case with you and determine the best approach possible to help you recover.
Steps to Take After a Dog Bite
- Seek medical treatment
- Report the incident to the police and provide the names of any witnesses
- Obtain the dog owner's information
- Take photographs of your injuries (read about the importance of documenting your injury with photographs below)
It is estimated that the dog population in the United States is at 6.5 million. Pet owners are held responsible for their pets, and are held accountable should their pet cause injures to an individual. A person who has control or owns a viscous animal can be held liable for personal injuries caused by that animal. In some instances, the injuries caused by an animal attack can be severe.
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The Importance of Taking Photographs of Your Injuries
It is extremely important to take photos of the dog bite injury throughout the case. Photographs are a key piece in evaluating the dog bite for attorneys, insurance adjusters and judges. If possible, each photograph should be taken with a date in the frame, by holding a current newspaper next to the individual.
First, the dog bite victim should take photographs immediately after his or her initial injury. Have a friend or family member photograph the puncture wound, laceration and overall injured area before medical treatment is received. This will show the initial severity of the injury and painfulness of the dog bite.
Next, obtain photographs after medial treatment is received to show stitches, skin discoloration, swelling and depth of the puncture wounds.
Approximately six months after the dog bite, our office will schedule professional photographs to be taken, which will be used for settlement discussions. At this point, the scar will be present to determine the permanency of the dog bite injury. Lighting and shading are important to produce a photograph that will clearly show any permanent physical scarring or deformities that were a result of the dog bite.
Homeowner's Insurance May Cover Dog Bites
Most homeowner's insurance provides coverage for dog related injuries and the Insurance Information Institute reports that dog bite related claims have quadrupled in five years to about 1 billion in 2000. It is important that you know your rights before accepting any settlement offer made by the insurance company.
Seek Medical Attention for Dog Bite Wounds
For more serious wounds, such as ones that do not close, ones that may have caused damage to nerves or ones that are partially unclean, the victim should seek immediate medical attention. Additionally, the victim should determine whether a tetanus booster shot is required. The tetanus shot will help prevent the victim from suffering from tetanus or “lock jaw” as it is more commonly known, a potentially deadly condition which can result from an improperly treated wound.