According to the CDC, approximately 4.5 million Americans are bitten each year by a dog. About 800,000 of those bites require medical attention, and children account for about half of the victims who were treated. If you or a loved one have been bitten, you could be facing substantial medical bills. Hale & Monico can help you hold the dog’s owner responsible.
Why You Should Seek Medical Attention After a Dog Bite Injury
After a dog bite, it’s important that you seek medical attention, even if the injuries seem minor. Dog bites run a high risk of infection and you may need antibiotics. If possible, you should locate the dog’s owner and find out whether the dog is up to date on its shots. Dogs in Illinois are required to be vaccinated against rabies, but of course, not all owners are responsible. Besides rabies, you could be at risk of serious bacterial infections like staph and strep.
You also need to know the identity of the dog’s owner so that the individual can be held responsible for your medical treatment. Besides rabies and infections, some of the injuries that may need to be treated include:
- Puncture wounds and cuts
- Broken bones
- Nerve damage
- Avulsion (skin or tissue being ripped away)
Children are at particular risk of serious complications after a dog bite, and some injuries can even prove fatal. Your doctor needs to fully evaluate the dog bite so you can get full treatment for your injuries.
After locating the owner and finding out about the dog’s vaccinations, get that individual’s name, number, and address. Report the incident to police immediately and obtain a copy of the police report. Then, start making notes on all relevant details surrounding your dog bite. That would include the date, time, and location (geographic and part of the body) where the bite happened. Note the breed of the dog, if possible, and any identifying information.
Take a picture of the injury and the dog that bit you. If there were any witnesses, get their names and contact information. If any clothing was torn during the bite, save it for later. Other than getting the owner’s name and any basic information, it’s best not to speak with that person. Owners are often defensive about their dogs and could turn confrontational.
Dog owners, boarders, and others responsible for keeping dogs can be held liable if the dog bites someone. The Illinois Animal Control Act imposes liability where:
- The dog attacked the victim without provocation
- The victim was not trespassing when he or she was attacked
- The victim was peaceably conducting himself or herself
Many of these cases, especially those that take place on the dog owner’s residential or business property, are resolved through insurance. For instance, the homeowner’s insurance policy may compensate you for your medical injuries. However, you should let an experienced personal injury attorney communicate with the insurance company. A claims adjuster may contact you and try to pressure you into a settlement that doesn’t fully cover your injuries.
Contact Hale & Monico Today
Hale & Monico is here to make sure dog bite victims are fully compensated. Call us today to start working on your case.