You love dogs, so it was a terrible shock when your neighbor’s dog came at you. Now you’re worried about taking legal action because you don’t want to harm your relationship with your neighbor, but your medical bills are adding up, and you don’t want another neighbor to get hurt. When you talk to the experienced dog bite attorneys at Mahaney & Pappas, we will give you all the information you need to enforce the law and protect your right to recover damages.
What to Do After You Have Been Attacked by a Dog
What you do in the aftermath of a dog bite could determine whether you will have a claim for damages or not. Obviously, the most important thing is your own health and safety. If the aggressive dog is still in the area, get to a safe place. The next thing you should do is get medical attention. Even if you don’t think the injury is that serious, go to urgent care or make an appointment with your own doctor as soon as possible. You should also:
- Call the police. It will be important to locate the dog and its owner, but you should not do this yourself. Unless you know whose dog it is, leave the identification up to the police. The responding officer will contact animal control, and they will take it from there.
- Call animal control. If you know who the dog belongs to, you can call animal control instead of the police. Report the incident, give them the address of the dog’s owner, and leave it up to them to deal with the owners.
- Follow medical advice. You will probably get antibiotics to prevent infection, and you might need to return to the doctor for a wound check or to get stitches removed. Be sure to follow all instructions and keep a record of your treatment. This will prove to the insurance company that you took the incident seriously.
- Call a personal injury lawyer. Not all lawyers take dog bite cases because they can be difficult to win. However, at Mahaney & Pappas, we support a dog bite victim’s right to recover damages from an aggressive animal’s owner. Once we hear your story, we will be able to determine if you have a strong claim. If you don’t, we will not waste your time.
You might be hesitant to take action, but the longer you wait after an incident, the harder it will be to prove that you were seriously harmed by the animal.
What Do You Gain by Filing a Claim?
We understand that it can be hard to call the police about a dog, especially if you are an animal lover. You also don’t want to create a difficult situation with a neighbor. However, when you talk to a lawyer about asserting your rights after a dog bite, you can accomplish the following:
- Preventing another attack. Under Massachusetts’ strict liability dog bite law, a dog does not have to have a history of aggression in order to hold the owner responsible for an attack. Once a dog bites someone, they are likely to do it again. By calling the police or animal control, you could potentially prevent another attack and save a child from serious injury.
- Getting a full recovery of damages. The dog’s owner should have liability insurance through their homeowner’s policy. You have every right to file a claim or, if necessary, a lawsuit to recover damages. In fact, your health insurance provider might require you to seek compensation from the dog owner’s liability policy.
- Holding the owner accountable. When a dog is dangerous, it’s usually the owner’s fault. When you report an attack, the owner will be investigated by animal control and could be prevented from owning more dogs. This is good for the neighborhood and good for the dogs!
There are a few situations in which the dog’s owner cannot be held responsible, including if the victim was trespassing on their property or was teasing or harming the dog. It’s worth a call to us to determine if you have a claim or not.
If You Were Attacked by a Dog, Contact Our Injury Attorneys
The attorneys at Mahaney & Pappas, LLP have handled numerous dog bite cases and recovered reasonable and fair compensation for our clients. Call us today at 508-879-3500 or contact us online to schedule your free case evaluation. We offer contingent fees on dog bite cases, which means we don’t earn a legal fee until and unless you recover compensation.