According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the U.S. Almost one in five of those who are bitten (a total of 885,000) require medical attention for dog bite injuries. That’s why it’s important to seek out a dog bite lawyer if you or someone close to you has a dog bite injury.
Dog attacks represent some of the most gruesome and upsetting personal injuries, particularly when suffered by helpless parties such as children or the elderly. Dog bite victims often receive lasting physical damages as well as emotional pain and fear.
In all dog bite injury cases, it’s imperative to identify the attacking dog and ascertain the name of the dog’s owner, plus collect names, addresses and telephone numbers of any witnesses to the incident and take photos of the scene of the attack and your injuries.
The dog bite injury attorneys at Marc. J Shuman & Associates, LTD serve the Greater Chicago Area and beyond. They can send an investigator to the scene of the attack, as well as ensure your doctor preserves all evidence of your injuries.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF DOG BITE INJURIES
Depending on the specific circumstances of the situation, different types of injuries can result from a dog bite. Common dog bite injuries include:
- Avulsion: The physical tearing away of a body part.
- Abrasions: Superficial damage to the surface of your skin (e.g., scratches).
- Crush injuries: Those that occur when the dog clamps down and won’t let go.
- Dislocations and bone fractures: These can occur during the physical attack or from falling over, fighting off the dog, etc.
- Hematomas: Abnormal leakage into tissues after the wall of a blood vessel, artery, vein or capillary is damaged.
- Bruises: Bruises and contusions occur when tiny blood vessels are broken.
- Lacerations: Deep cuts or irregular tearing of skin/flesh.
- Punctures: Penetration of something through the skin and, often, deep into the tissues—in this case, from the dog’s teeth and, possibly, from the claws.
Lacerations and puncture wounds are often the most severe injuries as they can cause disfigurement and introduce infections. The risk of infection can be especially dangerous for people with weakened or compromised immune systems. Unvaccinated dogs pose an even greater risk for victims of dog bites.
WHAT TO DO IF A DOG BITES YOU
While most dogs are sweet and lovable, there are certain instances in which an attack can occur and the types of personal injuries that can occur can be quite extensive. If you, or someone you know, have a dog bite injury, there’s certain information that you should collect in order to help your case.
Do your best to find out the name of the owner of the dog and, if there were other witnesses, make sure to get their contact information as well. Take pictures of any of your injuries, as well as where the attack occurred.
Even if the bite seems to be a minor one, it’s always a good idea to consult a medical provider. This is to make sure your injury is cared for in the best manner. If you have issues with the dog’s owner or if you would prefer to have a third party involved, you may want to consider contacting an attorney.
DOG BITE LIABILITY
More than half of the states in the U.S. have dog bite liability laws. These place the responsibility for dog bites/attacks on dog owners, whether or not the owner had reason to believe their dog was dangerous. Many of these state laws cover not just dog bites, but all dog injuries. This includes an injury resulting from the dog knocking the victim to the ground.
The idea behind the laws is that an owner should be responsible for his or her dog, period. These laws do have some requirements, however. The victims must prove:
- They were attacked or injured by a dog.
- The victim did not provoke the attack.
- They were acting peaceably in a place they had a right to be (i.e., a public space, a guest, etc.).
- The victim must also prove that the person he or she is suing is the owner of the dog. An attorney can help you understand whether state law applies in your case.
HOW A DOG BITE ATTORNEY CAN HELP
To ensure that you get the best representation possible, you should retain a legal practice that has experience with personal injury claims involving dog bites. Although you may have obtained information about the attack, your dog bite lawyer may also send an investigator to further look into the incident. This helps keep your direct involvement to a minimum while finding out everything that is necessary to build a case against the at-fault party.
A dog bite lawyer will also make sure that documentation of your injuries is sound and will enlist the help of medical experts to help your claim.
SECURING COMPENSATION FOR A DOG BITE CASE
Dog bite statistics paint a frightening picture. More than 4.5 million people in the United States suffer a dog bite every year. This is according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In roughly 20 percent of those cases, the victim will need medical attention.
In many of those cases, an attorney can litigate on behalf of the victim. This will secure compensation for damages such as medical expenses and pain and suffering.
People should practice safe behavior around dogs of any breed. Should a bite occur, it’s important to get in touch with an expert dog bite lawyer as soon as possible. A dog bite attorney can help a victim by gathering all the necessary information and interviewing witnesses. Also, he or she can take pictures of the injuries and the scene of the attack. Lastly, an attorney can pursue a lawsuit for damages to cover the cost of necessary medical treatment.
Since 1996, the Law Offices of Marc J. Shuman & Associates have been helping dog bite victims, including all injured victims and their families, navigate the complex legal process. As experienced personal injury, worker’s compensation and wrongful death attorneys, we can help you evaluate the facts, assess your options, navigate the legal challenges and advocate on your behalf.
The law office of Marc J. Shuman & Associates has over 77 combined years of experience advocating for over 20,000 injury victims and their families. We advocate on your behalf so you can focus on the task of recovery.