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Precautionary Steps to Follow After a Dog Bite

Posted by Carmine R. Villani | Nov 10, 2016 | 0 Comments

Dog Bite

The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that approximately 4.5 million dog bites are reported every year. This is a low estimate since many incidents are not reported, nor do the victims seek medical treatment. It is also estimated that around 880,000 victims sustain injuries serious enough to require emergency care. The level of injury that a dog can inflict through a bite is surprisingly powerful. Even some small breeds can cause serious harm if they have been specifically bred to possess powerful jaws. When a dog clamps its teeth onto you and exerts pressure, damage occurs to areas under the skin, including tendons, muscles and nerves. Although death is rare in dog bite cases, many victims require costly reconstructive surgery, especially if they do not seek treatment right away.

What To Do When You Are Bitten By A Dog

There are precautionary steps that you should follow if you have been bitten by a dog. First and foremost, identify if the dog is a stray or has an owner. If it is a stray, you must seek immediate emergency care and possibly undergo rabies vaccinations. If the dog has an owner, you should obtain the owner's contact information, such as phone number and address. You should also ask whether or not the dog is current on its rabies vaccination, and if it has a history of aggressive behavior. It is highly recommended that you file a police report to legally document your case. Legally documenting your injury through a bite report is essential, should you need to bring suit against the owner for damages. The police can also inform you if there are any previous bite reports filed against the dog, which will help strengthen your case. Most importantly, seek medical attention right away even for minor injuries. The risk of infection is very high for dog bites, and delays in treatment could result in long- term damage. The doctor or nurse can also advise you on how to photograph your injuries, especially if you need to remove gauze or bandages in order to do so. They can also check you thoroughly for any and all injuries associated with the incident, such as bruises and scratches.

Contacting The Authorities After A Dog Bite

Even if you have filed a police report, it is a good idea to keep your own set of written records. Recording dates, times and details about the incident and the actions taken afterwards can be incredibly helpful should you need to go to court. You can keep documents such as the owner's information, proof of treatment and your copy of the police report in the journal, as well. Always record detailed information about any and all contact you have with the dog's owner, and save all correspondences such as voicemails and emails. You should also speak to a personal injury attorney right away to verify if you have a right to seek compensation. As a strict liability state, New Jersey holds dog owners fully liable if their dog bites someone, with very few exceptions. There is a statute of limitations on how long you have to file a personal injury case, and delays in filing could affect your ability to receive full compensation. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may also need treatment for psychological trauma in addition to physical injuries.

New Jersey Dog Bite Attorney

Please call the knowledgeable personal injury lawyers of Villani & DeLuca for questions about your dog bite injury. We offer a free initial consultation, and will never charge you for our services unless you receive compensation. Call (732) 853-1924 today to schedule your free consultation!

About the Author

Carmine R. Villani

Founding partner, Carmine Villani, Esq. is a former municipal prosecutor with over three decades of experience in Criminal and DWI Defense.


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Has numerous years of experience handling dog bite and personal injury cases in New Jersey. As a leader in his field, Mr. Villani has taught “Handling The Dog Bite Case In New Jersey” to fellow lawyers and judges at the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education.