Animal bites are more common than you think. According to the Center for Disease Prevention and Control, approximately 4.5 million bites occur with just dogs alone. Not only that, but 1 in 5 victims suffer from infection from bite injuries. What may have been a simple stroll in the park turns suddenly terrifying when an uncontrolled pet attacks a bystander.

Questions arise when it comes to dog and animal bites. What should I do in this situation? Who’s fault is it? Below are a few questions and answers in regards to animal personal injury, how to handle the situation, and what to do.

Who are the most common victims of dog bites?

Men and children are often the most common victims when it comes to dog bites. Usually, children from ages 5 – 9 as well as men are more likely to fall victim to animal bites than any other demographic.

Who’s liable?

Animal bite attacks differs in every situation. Often times, if the dog or animal is owned by a person, that owner is most likely to be held liable. If a pet owner was aware of their pet’s vicious nature and did nothing to prevent an attack, then the owner can be held responsible for the incident. Owners who know that their animals have a tendency to be provoked and/or act dangerously around outsiders should know when to keep their pets indoors or shielded from the public. Failure to do so is negligence and can lead to a bystander’s injuries. However, if an owner took all the proper precautions to ensure that the pet was contained (i.e. kept behind a locked gate with a warning sign warning outsiders) and the victim chose to ignore all warnings, then the victim may not be able to blame the owner.

In other situations, other parties may also be held responsible for an animal attack. These people include animal keepers, parents of minors, landlords, and property owners. If a pet owner left the care of his or her pet to animal keepers (such as an animal shelter or kennel), then those people would be responsible for the attack. The same goes with property owners who allowed the pet into their property and landlords who approved a dangerous animal.

Leash laws must also be observed. If an owner ignored local laws in regards to keeping their pet on a leash and a victim was bitten, then the owner can be held liable.

Who pays for the damages?

The person liable for the injuries will be held accountable for the damages. It is important to note that a majority of dog bites happen on the owner’s property. This means most people who are held liable for the damages are the pet owners. The animal owner may also have insurance to cover the incident. Insurances such as homeowner insurance, animal insurance, and even car insurance may cover the attack.

What should you do if you have suffered from a dog or animal bite?

It is important to know what to do after a dog or animal bite. Here’s some steps you can take to ensure you protect yourself.

  1. Seek medical attention right away.
  2. Seeing a medical professional will help identify whether your wound will become infected or not. Also, a healthcare professional will document your medical needs and jot down how the injury occurred.
  3. Look for witnesses, if possible.
  4. If there were people around to witness the attack, gather their names and contact information.
  5. Report the attack to animal control.
  6. Contact local authorities and notify them of the assault. You can also check local animal control records to see if the animal has had previous incidents of attacking someone else.
  7. Get a copy of the animal’s medical history and/or talk to the animal’s veterinarian.
  8. To ensure that you get the proper medical care, look into the animal’s past to see if any possible threat of infection (i.e. diseases such as rabies) might occur.
  9. Keep any important records.
  10. Do not throw out any medical expense records or receipts for any other expenses resulting from the attack. If you filed a police report, obtain a copy for your records.
  11. Contact an attorney.
  12. If the assault prevented you from going to work, caused mental or physical harm, then calling an accident attorneymay be the right thing to do.

While a dog or animal bite results in a traumatizing experience, seeking the right resources and people to deal with the aftermath will help greatly. Don’t let your injuries prevent you from getting the right legal counsel. Talk with an accident attorney today to get any more of your questions answered.

AWD LAW® is an expert legal team with specialties in Business Law and a wide array of other legal matters.