Unfortunately, more than half of dog bite victims are children under the age of 12. Dog bites are one of the leading causes of emergency room visits for children, surpassing broken bones, burns, and domestic violence. As dog-bite cases continue to grow more common, the number of dog-bite lawsuits grows. If your child has been bitten by a dog, whether it belonged to a stranger, a neighbor, a friend, or family, you may have the right to pursue legal action against the owner.
What to Do After Your Child is Attacked by a Dog
Some dog bite injuries are more frightening than painful, but there are still many cases of children sustaining serious injuries in a dog attack. In addition to physical injuries, victims may also develop a fear of dogs and suffer from anxiety or PTSD. Here are the steps to take if your child has been attacked by a dog.
1. Call 911 or Seek Emergency Medical Treatment
Even if your child’s injuries appear to be minor, you have a duty to mitigate their injuries by seeking immediate medical treatment. Your child’s safety and wellbeing should come first. Infections, rabies, and other diseases can be caused by even a small scratch, so medical treatment is critical to prevent illness.
2. Identify the Dog’s Owner and Gather Insurance Information
Most dog attacks occur in your immediate neighborhood, which can make it easier to learn who owns the dog. In parks and other locations, it may prove to be more of a challenge. Inform the owner of the attack and that the attack caused injuries that required medical care. Ask for their homeowner’s insurance company name, policy number, and contact information.
3. Contact Animal Control
After you have the owner’s information, it is also important to file a complaint with your local animal control department. This serves two purposes. A complaint can ensure the city takes proper steps to quarantine the dog and protect the public from attacks.
It also can serve as a record of the date, time, and nature of the incident. If you are filing a personal injury claim against the dog owner’s insurance, this complaint can help support your claims. A report may be used as evidence of owner negligence.
4. Gather Evidence
Your claims will need evidence to support your case. There are many forms of evidence that may be used, including:
- Photographs and video of the scene or the attack
- Photographs that can demonstrate negligence of the dog owner, such as holes in their fence
- Photographs or video of the dog
- Photographs of your child’s injuries
- Your child’s torn or bloody clothing
- Prior animal control complaints about the dog or its owner
- Witness statements, especially from Good Samaritans
Speak with an Experienced Clearwater Dog Bite Attorney – 727.308.6060
If your child has been injured by a dog, a knowledgeable Clearwater personal injury lawyer is here to help. You and your child may have the right to compensation for their trauma and injuries, but your case can lose value due to common mistakes. Attorney Bryan Caulfield has helped his clients pursue justice for their personal injury claims since 1988.
Attorney Caulfield is available 24/7 by phone. Contact him by calling 727.308.6060 and requesting to speak to Bryan.