Do’s and Don’ts After a Dog Bite
The prevalence of dogs in public spaces might lead you to believe that they are all on their best behaviour. Yet dog bites can happen anywhere and for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes stress or uncertainty can lead a dog to act out, even biting when they normally wouldn’t do so. Despite whatever factors lead them to bite, you as the injured person are only responsible for your safety and well-being following one of these incidents. You should appropriately address a dog bite just as soon as you can to limit possible damage or infection.
While there are no concrete rules or guidelines in this kind of situation, here are some dos and don’ts you can follow to ensure that you are aware of your rights and responsibilities.
Is a Dog Bite a Personal Injury and Can it be Claimed?
A dog bite is considered a personal injury. In general, if the harm caused to the victim was an accident, and they were not at fault for it, then it can be claimed in a lawsuit. The owner of the dog is fully responsible for them, and has a duty to ensure they do not put them, or others, in harm’s way. While each situation is different, the owner would likely be responsible for compensation through their insurance.
If you are wondering how best to handle your specific incident, you may consider contacting a personal injury lawyer as a starting point to fully understand your rights. After a discussion, their team can help you determine the best course of action, typically helping you reach a settlement that is appropriate and tailored to your circumstances.
Do Seek Medical Attention
Without the vaccination history of the dog, you may want to consider seeking professional medical attention for your injuries. In some cases, if you are only dealing with a handful of superficial wounds, running the scratches under cool water and then applying hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol to the area will help clean things out. Consider adding some antibiotics and covering it up with a bandage. Alternatively, you may want to let the cuts breathe to ensure they don’t become infected.
A puncture wound indicates that you should visit a hospital or clinic right away. The medical professionals there can determine the extent of the damage and decide on the next steps to ensure the wound heals properly. In either instance, document your injuries with a few pictures from your cell phone, keep copies of all of your medical records, and retain the receipts for any bandages or medication you require in case you plan to build a legal case.
Don’t Chase the Dog
If you have been bitten by a dog that you aren’t familiar with, there is no reason for you to go running after it or chase it down. Instead, take the time to contact the authorities. While you might have heightened concern if you are bitten without knowledge of the dog’s owner or condition, a logical next step is to get yourself to safety. If you are shaken up or scared, consider calling a friend or family member and ask them to accompany you to the hospital where they can verify if you have significant injuries.
Do Collect Information
If you remain on the scene, do your best to begin collecting information and evidence from the area around you. Speak with people who might have witnessed the bite and get their phone numbers, take photos of the place where it happened, and look around for any CCTV cameras that might have recorded the incident. If you are planning to make a personal injury claim, all of this data will help build your case.
Don’t Make Assumptions
One of the scariest feelings about being bitten by a dog is the uncertainty. You should not assume that the dog is healthy, or that this is a one-time mistake. Proceed from the incident with caution, and if you have immediate contact with the owner, avoid assumptions about their liability in the matter. Do your best to remain calm and collected, despite the high-pressure situation, and don’t let your guard down in case the animal is still aggravated.
In the province of Ontario, a dog owner is responsible for any injuries caused by their pet. It is up to them to not only restrain their animal but ensure that it is only placed in situations where their dog and others can be kept safe. Should you as the victim choose to bring forth a claim, some factors will be considered in court, such as your level of responsibility in the matter, if you provoked the dog, or contributed in some way to the attack.
Should you win, compensation will be determined based on the need for surgery, permanent injuries, the level of severity, and if you have suffered a financial loss due to missed work for medical treatment. Often, the owner will be required to pay a fine or have restrictions surrounding the dog in the future. If you think you are entitled to a cash settlement to account for your pain and suffering from a dog bite, the lawyers at Ontario Injured can help. Reach out to us to learn more about our areas of practice.