Aftermath of a Dog Bite- Legal Actions to Take

by Katie Hewatt on November 6, 2012

Dogs are one of America’s favorite domesticated animals. The companionship that they offer has earned them the title “man’s best friend”, but unfortunately, a pet canine is only as friendly as their owner leads them to be. Some owners keep their dogs chained up all of the time and even train them to be vicious, and either of these cases can lead a dog to be dangerous to the general public. Being bitten by a dog is a detrimental occurrence, so it is important for everyone to know the steps to take after such an event.

Seek Medical Attention

The most important thing to do after being bitten by a dog is to seek medical care. If the attack was severe, it may be necessary to call 9-1-1 and get immediate medical attention or have someone drive you to the hospital.

Do not think that just because a dog bite seems minor that it can’t cause major issues. A bite from a rabid dog can actually cause death in a human, and even if the dog isn’t rabid, numerous infections can occur from the injury. Regardless of any other issue related to the attack, medical attention is an absolute necessity.

Find the Owner and Report the Incident

It is utterly essential to find out who the owner of the attacking dog is. This is true for a few reasons. If you accrue any costs due to the incident, it is up to the dog’s owner to reimburse you. The second reason, which may be the most important, is to find out if the dog has rabies.

Calling the local sheriff or animal control is another essential step to take after being attacked. If authorities are able to pick up the offending dog and test it, you will be able to avoid a rabies shot if the dog is healthy. If you were bitten by a stray dog or don’t find out who the owner is, doctors will have to administer a painful treatment to ensure that you don’t catch the deadly disease.

Gathering Evidence

Gathering evidence related to the attack is also important after a dog bite. This can include the name and address of the dog’s owner and witnesses to the attack. If the bite isn’t very serious, this information should be gathered immediately following the attack so that there’s no chance of essential parties to the event disappearing.

It’s also important to take pictures of the wound that you have suffered. If you were unable to do this before receiving medical attention, it’s vital to remove the wound’s dressing to get a picture. This piece of evidence will be crucial when trying to recover compensation for the damage you suffered.

Contact a Lawyer

Many people fail to realize the importance of finding an experienced lawyer after sustaining a dog bite. According to lawyers at most dog owners are not willing to admit fault on their part for their pet’s actions, and will likely even claim that it was your fault that you were attacked. This can make a personal injury claim drag on for years. A seasoned lawyer can expedite this process and get a dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance to compensate you for your injuries.

Suffering a dog bite can lead to several damaging repercussions, both emotional and financial. Handling a dog bite correctly from the onset is the only way to ensure that your health and wallet stay fully intact. Seeking medical attention is the most important step to take after being bitten, but ensuring that you are taken care of financially afterwards is a close second.

Katie Hewatt is a legal researcher and contributing author for, a law firm that specializes in personal injury cases in Chicago. The Chicago Injury Attorneys have experience with dog bite cases and will help clients recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and disability costs. The firm offers a free consultation for all new cases where they will answer their client’s questions and look over what type of compensation can be recovered for their case.

Katie Hewatt

Katie Hewatt

Katie Hewatt

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