If you’ve been attacked by a dog – or any other animal, for that matter – you’ve obviously gone through a traumatic experience. Some people who experience animal attacks are so scared they don’t want to be around anything that walks on four legs. But it will be incredibly important that you keep your head and gather as much evidence as you can. This will be your best chance at obtaining the compensation you deserve for the injuries you’ve suffered.
Sand Law attorneys have years of experience representing people who have been hurt in animal attacks. We will provide the representation you need in order to help you win your case and get the money you need to get on with your life. If you would like a free consultation, please contact us online or call 651-291-7263.
Here are eight things you should do if you’ve been hurt by an animal.
1. Photograph the Animal
There’s a good chance that the owner of the animal will swear there’s no way their gentle, loving pet would ever attack anyone. They may claim you were mistaken, and another animal that looks like theirs attacked you and caused your injury. Don’t let this claim possibly weaken your case. Either use a digital camera, or use the camera on your smartphone to take a picture of the animal that hurt you.
2. Identify the Animal and its Owner
Next, find the owner of the animal and get their contact information, including their name, address, and phone number. If possible, find out if they have insurance for this type of situation. If so, write down not only the name of the insurer, but also the phone number of the nearest office.
3. Speak to Witnesses
The animal may have attacked you while you were walking your own dog through the neighborhood, and there could have been people who saw what happened. Or, you might have been in a store or some other type of public place where plenty of people were around. Talk to people who saw the attack and get their contact information so that your attorney can get in touch if needed.
4. Gather Further Photographic Evidence
The more evidence you can collect, the stronger your case may be. There’s no stronger evidence you could produce than pictures. In addition to photos of the animal, also take pictures of the bite marks on your body, as well as anything else that could prove your case. For example, a dog may have attacked you after getting through a fence. Take a picture of the fence.
You probably also had some torn clothing due to the attack. Take photos of that clothing as well. But don’t throw it away or have it repaired. Keep it exactly as it is – don’t even wash it. The reason is that your clothing could still contain crucial DNA evidence from the animal that attacked you.
As critical as photographic evidence is to your case, it’s just as important to get that evidence as fast as you can. Going back to the fence example, you want to make sure you have photos before the owner of the animal has time to fix the area where the pet broke through.
Also, if the animal is back in the owner’s yard, take videos of any aggressive behavior it might be exhibiting. This could also go a long way toward strengthening your case. Be careful, though, that you don’t antagonize the owner or the animal.
5. Seek Medical Treatment ASAP
You have to see a doctor. This is not only important for your health, but also for your case. Please don’t delay, because the bite could have caused severe damage that hasn’t yet become fully apparent. Also, if you wait to get medical help, you could develop a potentially serious infection.
From the standpoint of your case, waiting too long for medical assistance could be used against you. The insurance company could claim that you’re not as badly hurt as you claim, and could deny you compensation as a result.
6. File a Police Report
This is another critically important aspect to gathering the evidence you need. Filing a report will initiate an investigation, which, in turn, will help further prove your claim. This investigation could also possibly help prevent that animal from ever hurting anyone again. Without a report, authorities can’t really do anything to help you or anyone else.
7. Refuse to Accept Money
A lot of times, a panicked pet owner will try to keep an attack quiet. They love their pet, and don’t want to have to give them up. Or, they simply don’t want to have to deal with insurance companies and potential legal action. So, they might offer you some money in hopes that the matter will just go away.
It will never be a good idea to accept any money from an owner. The same goes for an offer from an insurance company. If you take an early settlement from an insurance company adjuster, you’ll be playing right into the insurer’s hands. The money you get won’t come anywhere close to paying for your medical bills, your lost wages, or any other damages you’ve suffered.
An attorney will work as a shield between you and the insurance company, keeping you from having to deal with an adjuster’s harassment. Your attorney will also work to make sure you obtain the compensation you need to fully recover financially from the attack.
8. Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
There are a lot of myths out there regarding personal injury claims, whether they arise from an animal attack, a car accident, or anything else. One of the biggest is that accident victims don’t need attorneys – they can take care of their claim on their own.
Sure, you could technically deal with an insurance company without the help of legal representation. But it’s never a good idea. People who hire attorneys obtain more compensation than those who don’t. That’s simply a fact.
It’s going to take a lot of money to help you once again be financially whole. Sand Law attorneys can help you get that money. Take advantage of our skill and experience by using our online form or calling 651-291-7263.