Sometimes, even with the best intentions and the best precautions, a dog will bite. If you’ve sustained a dog bite or if your child has stained dog bites, make sure that you not only seek the appropriate treatment, but that you also protect yourself legally as well. If you have been bitten by a dog:
1) Contact the authorities at once. While your first instinct may be to confront the dog’s owner, this is often inadvisable. Some owners are very reluctant to help the victim of dog bites, and some dog owners actually become aggressive when their pets are accused of biting. If you can, detain the dog or take a picture of the dog’s collar or note the dog’s collar number, location, or any other information that can help in identifying the dog. Contact the authorities at once — they can often help identify the dog, gather evidence, and get you immediate medical assistance. They can also gather evidence about whether the dog has had all their vaccinations or not.
2) Seek medical attention immediately. You should visit a doctor or an emergency room — if doctors’ offices are closed — immediately after a dog bite. Even if your dog bites do not seem to be very severe, you may need a course of antibiotics or rabies shots to keep you safe. If you’ve been exposed to rabies, it is important to start a course of rabies treatment immediately. Even if you’ve not been exposed to rabies, dog bites can easily become infected, and medical treatment is often necessary to ensure your safety.
3) Start documentation. As soon as possible after the dog attack, start gathering as much information as possible. Take photographs of the home where the dog attack occurred, the dog itself, and your injuries. Gather medical documents, contact information for any witnesses, and start keeping a personal diary about your injuries and about the money you have to spend on treatment. If you pay for any medication or lose any work time due to injury, make sure that you record this and gather evidence of it if possible.
4) Contact a qualified attorney. Florida law protects its citizens from dog attacks. If you have been attacked by a dog have suffered a personal injury, have lost wages, or have suffered other losses as a result of your attack, the law makes provisions so that you do not have to pay these costs out of pocket. Contacting a qualified attorney immediately after your attack ensures that you have all the legal information you need to make an informed decision about what you would like to do next.
Keep in mind that contacting an attorney often costs nothing upfront. The law offices of Flaxman and Lopez, for example, offer a free, no obligation consultation with you in your home, office, or hospital room. We can help you understand all your options so that you can select the option for you.