Each year, Florida personal injury attorneys see potential clients who have suffered serious injury due to a dog bite. These injury victims may face long recovery times, lost income, permanent injury or disfigurement, or huge hospital bills. Despite all this, many Florida lawyers see victims who have made mistakes that can impair their ability to make a claim. The actions that victims take immediately after a dog bite can help immensely when it is time to seek assistance, most attorneys agree. If you or a loved one is bitten by a dog, here are the steps that should be taken:
1) Seek safety. Always get out of a dangerous situation first. A dog that has inflicted even a minor wound can come back and continue to bite or attack, so seek shelter and safety first. Get away from the dog.
2) Try to identify the dog. Try to determine who owns the dog, take a picture of the animal, note the address where the attack took place, and get a good physical description of the dog. This is very important in case the dog may have rabies.
3) Do not get into an altercation with the dog owner. Many owners will defend their dogs and will simply suggest that you provoked the animal. Arguing will not help you.
4) Do not make any statements or sign any papers about the case. Insurance companies, the dog owner, or the property owner may put pressure on you to make a formal statement about happen. This may help them avoid liability for your injury. Never sign or say anything without an attorney’s representation.
5) File a police report. The authorities can investigate what has happened and can work to ensure that others are not injured by the same dog. A police report also starts a paper trail about the case.
6) Get medical help at once. Dog bites and dog-related injuries can get infected and can scar quite badly. Some dogs may have rabies or other illnesses. Getting help ensures that you won’t experience complications down the road.
7) Get an attorney. A Florida lawyer can help you get the compensation you are entitled to. Even in cases where an insurance company offers you compensation, get an attorney to look over the suggested settlement. Insurance companies are known for offering very lowball settlements. After all, they do not want to lose money. They may offer you as little as they think you will accept, so get an attorney to get a fair settlement that covers all the expenses and suffering you have endured.