The results of a dog bite can be devastating. Infection, ongoing pain, and emotional fallout from the attack can make this incident extremely harrowing. While some dog breeds are more likely to attack humans than others, any dog has the capacity to bite. If you were bitten or otherwise injured by a dog and want to bring a lawsuit against the individual or individuals responsible, there are a few obstacles you may encounter as you and your lawyer work to gain you compensation.
1. A Lack of Owner Responsibility
Sometimes when a dog bites, its owner refuses to take responsibility. Either he or she will claim it was a dog that looks similar or insist that the animal was provoked. Most dog owners who deny culpability do so because they do not want to have cover medical bills, fear their dog will be put down, or that their homeowner’s insurance rates will increase. If you were bitten and you know the owner of the dog, ask your lawyer what kind of solid evidence you can present to prove he or she is responsible.
2. Stray/Wandering Dog Bites
It can be difficult to place blame for a dog bite if the animal has no owner or was wandering without identification. Attacks like this can be common when owners are out walking their own dogs and are set upon by strays or loose pets. If you are bitten by a stray dog, call your local animal services immediately and take photos of the animal if possible. Dogs that escaped their yards might give some clue to who owns them via a pet microchip, which can be scanned at almost any vet office or pet shelter.
If the dog that bit you is captured, it may be quarantined for several days while its health is examined. You can ask your attorney to keep lines of communication open and have the holding facility contact you right away if an owner is found.
3. A Lack of Witnesses
Few factors lend more creed to a lawsuit than having credible witnesses. However, if you were alone when a dog attack happened, you must rely on your own memory to recount the events to your lawyer. If this is the case, take time to ensure your memories are built on facts and not what you were feeling at the time. Note the day, time, and location of the attack, the color, and breed of dog that bit you, and what you were doing just before the bite occurred.
4. Incomplete Medical Reports
If you visit an emergency room or medical center to get treatment for your dog bite, the attending physician may only note the condition of the wound and how it was tended to. If you plan to take the dog’s owner to court, it is important that the attending physician gives you a complete written report as evidence. Your personal injury lawyer can request a copy and ensure that the record provides proof that your injuries were the result of a dog bite.
Dog bites can be serious and leave you with physical and emotional scars. While you may encounter a few roadblocks when building a court case, proper preparation and assistance from an attorney may give you the confidence you need to pursue legal action.