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It is unfortunate, but if you or a loved one is attacked by a dog, you need to take careful and decisive actions to protect your health as well as your rights. The New Jersey Dog Bite Lawyer, David Cowhey, would like to advise you about what you mustn’t do after a dog attack.
These 6 steps below you can avoid doing for the best outcome on your dog bite case. If you are considering compensation for the dog attack, you have to avoid certain actions.
You have to report the attack to the proper authorities (i.e. police and animal control) and the owner, if he/she is known to you. You may also be advised by the authorities to file a report with the State of New Jersey Department of Health. It doesn’t matter if you know or not where the dog lives and its owner – you must report the dog attack.
Filing a report is one of the most important things you need to do since it is the beginning of an investigation which will be presented in support of your case. The police will provide a record of the incident including information about the dog and its owner as well as any witness contact information.
If it is possible, you should approach any eyewitnesses before they leave the scene to record their contact information. You do not need to obtain official statements from them, your attorney can deal with the details later on.
If you fail to obtain eyewitness testimony, it could be difficult to prove that the dog was not provoked or you were not trespassing. Eyewitness testimony could also protect you from any defence strategies insurance companies may apply to weaken your case.
Ask any witnesses for their full name, phone number, and email address. Ask them to write down their description of the events that happened to make it easier to recall details later on.
No matter how minor the injury may initially be, it is vital you seek medical attention since your wound could get infected and if the dog’s vaccination record is not known, you must be treated for rabies.
Aside from the health concerns, you need to keep in mind that if you don’t see a doctor immediately, insurance companies can claim that you were not injured by the dog attack since you didn’t seek immediate medical help.
If you do not document your injuries and damages, it will be extremely difficult to receive the proper compensation since they will be contested by the other side during the lawsuit. You need to provide as much information and details as possible to prevent any dispute of your claim. The following suggestions can help you provide the court with a relatively proper picture of your injuries and financial costs:
Photographs are a great way to clearly show the injuries you incurred due to the dog attack. Smart-phones have made it easy to keep a photographic record so take as many photos of your injuries after the attack and when you visit the hospital (by the way, if it is possible, take photos of the dog as well). You should also keep a photographic record of the treatment and it’s progress, including any permanent scarring.
By saving your medical records you can provide indisputable proof of all the treatments you received and your prognosis. Also, keep every single medical bill or receipt for out of pocket treatments or medication. Likewise, insurance documents should be kept regarding anything which relates to your dog bite injuries and treatments. What’s more, don’t forget to keep track of any missed time from work and ask your employer to verify it.
Since dog bite lawsuits can take months or even more than a year to settle, it is highly recommended that you keep a journal of what happened to you and how you are coping after the attack from day to day. You should describe the pain you experience and how the attack has impacted your physical and mental well-being.
A pain diary can include a pain rating and how your every day life has been changed by the dog attack. You should also record, on a daily basis, your physical pain, treatments, medications, your quality of life and your psychological state (i.e. anxiety, depression, nightmares, fears, stress).
Not consulting with an experienced dog bite attorney can determine whether you receive the compensation you deserve. The insurance companies and dog owners will most likely consult with attorneys to protect themselves and to pay you as little as possible for your suffering. In fact, you should expect that insurance companies will want to come to a settlement as early as possible before you have the chance to discover what your options are and the possibilities of demanding a higher settlement. That’s why consulting an attorney who specializes in dog bite cases, immediately after your dog bite incident, could mean the difference between receiving a fair settlement you are entitled to or a token compensation to get you to settle quickly.
Dave J. Cowhey has over 33 years of experience as a personal injury lawyer specializing in dog bite cases. He has always battled hard against insurance companies in order to provide his clients with the compensation they deserve. His track record shows that he can successfully pursue big dollar cases and will not be intimidated by insurance companies.
If you have been bitten by a dog, contact David J. Cowhey to get started. Call him at 609-513-0627, or contact him online to schedule a free case review.
Originally posted October 15, 2020