What to Do After Being Attacked by a Neighbor’s Dog
Whether you are an animal lover or would rather steer clear of people’s pets, being attacked by a dog can be one of the most traumatic experiences of your life. Dog attacks can lead to serious injuries such as painful bites, infections, broken bones, severe lacerations, and lifelong disfigurement. To make matters more complicated, if the dog that attacked you belongs to a neighbor, you may feel anxious about pursuing the compensation you need to recover from your injuries.
At Ketterman Rowland & Westlund, our experienced dog attack lawyers can explain your legal rights and discuss the process for pursuing compensation from your neighbor’s homeowner’s insurance. You may be entitled to payment for your past and future medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages suffered as a result of the attack.
If you or a family member has been attacked by a neighbor’s dog, please contact our attorneys now for a free consultation.
What Steps do I Take After a Dog Attack?
There are a few steps you can focus on after an attack to protect your safety and your legal rights.
- Identify the dog’s owner. If the dog is running loose from your neighbor’s house, your neighbor has a responsibility to retrieve it and contain the animal. If you don’t know your neighbor’s name, ask for it as well as their contact information. You should also ask for vaccination records. Whether the dog that bit you belongs to a neighbor you know well or one you have never met, you should refrain from discussing the attack with the animal’s owner.
- Contact animal control. In Texas, any animal bite or scratch that breaks the skin should be reported to the local rabies control authority. In San Antonio, you can report an animal attack to Animal Care Services by calling 3-1-1.
- Get treatment for your injuries. Seek immediate medical attention for your injuries. Dog bites, in particular, can be dangerous as they carry a high risk of infection. It is crucial to follow all your doctor’s orders and save all paperwork related to your treatment. This will help document your injury as you prepare to file a claim for compensation.
- Gather evidence of the attack. If you are able, take photos of the dog, the scene of the attack, and your injuries. If there were any witnesses, get their names and contact information so your attorney can follow up with them later. Save any torn or bloody clothing that you were wearing at the time, as that could be used as evidence.
- Contact an experienced dog bite attorney. Unfortunately, filing a claim for compensation can be tedious, technical, and time-consuming. The dog owner’s insurance company will try everything in their power to minimize your payout or deny your claim altogether. This is why you need a skilled dog bite attorney on your side from the start, aggressively advocating for the full and fair compensation you need to heal.
How is a Dog Bite Injury Compensation Determined?
The amount of compensation you may be entitled to receive will depend on the amount of losses you have suffered and the specific circumstances of your case. Some of the common types of damages that our attorneys pursue for dog bite victims include:
- Medical expenses. This includes the costs of surgeries, hospitalizations, follow-up doctor visits, medication, rehabilitative therapy, and any future anticipated costs related to your injuries.
- Lost income. You should be compensated for any time you miss from work, including if you had to take sick leave or use vacation days. If you are unable to return to work or cannot perform the same duties you did before, you may also be entitled to payment for diminished earning capacity for the future.
- Non-economic losses. There are some damages that just cannot be accounted for with bills and receipts. However, our lawyers can help you assess your emotional pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and other intangible losses that you should be compensated for.
What are the Laws About Dog Bites in San Diego?
San Antonio’s laws on dangerous and aggressive dogs mirror Texas state law. The intent of these laws is to identify specific dogs that have attacked people without provocation, then put safeguards in place to prevent future attacks.
In order to begin an investigation into potentially dangerous or aggressive dogs, ACS must receive a dog bite report. As part of the investigation, the victim and/or witnesses will need to provide notarized affidavits detailing the attack. ACS will then determine whether the dog’s owners are in violation of dog bite laws.
Under the law, a dog may be deemed “dangerous” if it:
- Makes an unprovoked attack on a person that causes bodily injury and occurs in a place other than an enclosure in which the dog was being kept and that was reasonably certain to prevent the dog from leaving the enclosure on its own; or
- Commits unprovoked acts in a place other than an enclosure in which the dog was being kept and that was reasonably certain to prevent the dog from leaving the enclosure on its own, and those acts cause a person to reasonably believe that the dog will attack and cause bodily injury to that person.
A dog may be deemed different levels of “aggressive” if it exhibits certain behaviors such as:
- Threatening behaviors from within its enclosure that causes a person to fear an unprovoked attack
- Chasing or displaying threatening or unprovoked aggressiveness toward another domestic animal
- Causing injury to any domestic animal or livestock
- Killing or causing the death of any domestic animal or livestock
- Repeating aggressive behavior
If you have been attacked by a dangerous or aggressive dog, you need to take action immediately to protect your rights and the potential safety of others. Call our knowledgeable San Antonio dog bite attorneys now to schedule a free consultation.
When Should You Sue Over Dog Bite Injuries?
Most people do not think of themselves as the type to sue, and in fact, many dog bite cases can be settled without ever having to go to court. However, insurance companies do not just hand out maximum payouts without being pushed to do so.
If you have been bitten or attacked by a dog, you should speak to a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible if:
- You have suffered injuries that require you to see a doctor, especially if you are going to require ongoing treatment such as surgeries or skin grafts.
- You are coping with disfiguring injuries after being mauled by an animal.
- You have missed work due to your injuries.
- You believe you are going to be permanently disabled due to your injuries.
- You are struggling with ongoing mental anguish such as post-traumatic stress and the inability to enjoy the things you once loved to do.
Do not hesitate to seek legal advice if you are wondering whether you should file a claim for compensation after a dog bite. At Ketterman Rowland & Westlund, a consultation with an attorney is free, and there is no charge unless we recover money on your behalf.
Talk to an Experienced Dog Bite Lawyer Now
At Ketterman Rowland & Westlund, our compassionate team of dog bite attorneys has successfully fought for the rights of victims who have suffered serious injuries in preventable animal attacks. We have the resources and the skills to conduct an in-depth investigation into your case while communicating with ACS about the results of their investigation. Our team will thoroughly calculate all current and future anticipated losses related to your injuries to ensure we are demanding the full and fair compensation you deserve. We will manage all negotiations and paperwork related to your personal injury claim, and our powerful team of litigators will be prepared to take your case to court if a satisfactory settlement cannot be reached.
Please call us today at (855) 981-9052 to talk about the details of your case and learn about your legal rights. You should not have to suffer the financial repercussions of a severe dog bite injury alone. Let us help you navigate this difficult situation and move forward with your life.