Common Mistakes People Make After Being Bitten or Attacked By A Dog

If you’ve been seriously injured by a dog bite, you will most likely want to try to seek damages with the help of a skilled attorney to help pay for medical bills, follow-up treatment, pain/suffering and lost wages stemming from the injury.

However, many people make mistakes that hurt the value of their case, and even lead to them being denied payment altogether. Medical bills can be expensive after a dog bite, and if you make one of these mistakes, you could be at risk of not being able to fully cover your medical expenses.  Here, we’ll walk you through some of the most common mistakes people make after a dog bite and how to avoid the pitfalls.

Failure To Report The Accident To Authorities

This is the # 1 most common mistakes people make, and it can be a big one. If you do not report your case, it can be difficult to prove that the dog owner was actually responsible for your injuries.  The thinking here is that if it wasn’t even important to report, how could it be that serious.  You also need to make a report simply to document the evidence which can be used in your favor down the line of your case.

You can contract both the police and animal control. This will establish a paper trail, and it also allows you to confirm the identify of all the people involved in the dog bite.  The report can also begin an investigation, which may unearth past misbehavior by the owner or their dog. This could bolster your case, and make it easier to demonstrate that the dog owner did not take proper precautions.

Not Getting The Contact Information Of Witnesses

Many dog attacks occur out in the open, such as in neighborhoods or public parks. This means that there may be witnesses to the bite.  However, many people who have been bitten fail to get the contact information of the people who saw the bite. This is understandable, as you may be in shock and thinking clearly can be difficult. But it’s crucial that you try to get names and contact information.

If it’s just your word against that of the dog owner, it may be difficult to fully establish their fault in the dog bite. This could lead to only a partial payout, or none at all.  If you have witnesses, however, it is much easier to prove that a dog owner was at fault for your injuries. This makes it much more likely that you’ll get full compensation for the dog bite.

Waiting To Go To The Doctor

Not every dog bite will be serious. However, many require medical attention immediately. And even if the injury is not severe, the doctor’s visit can confirm that you were injured.  Some injuries may not seem so bad at the time of the act, but they can worsen over time or simply never go away.  The medical report that the doctor prepares can establish the extent of your injuries at the time of the dog bite. This will make it much easier to show in your case how injured you really were.

If you wait to go to the doctor, however, you may not be able to prove that you were injured. And some people may find it suspicious that you delayed visiting the doctor, which could hurt your case.  If you didn’t even think it was important to seek medical treatment how can you expect them to believe you now that you are seeking a large compensation award?  That’s why, after you’ve obtained contact information and contacted the police or animal control, you head to the doctor right away.  It’s also important to continue with follow up visits if your doctor(s) believe it necessary to do.  The more medical documentation that you have, the better.

Not Fully Documenting Damages

In any dog bite case, you’re going to have to prove the extent of your injury in order to receive compensation. That’s why it’s crucial that you document everything that you possibly can and know what to do after a dog bite.  The more evidence that you have supporting your claim and injuries, the better your chances of a full recovery.  You’ll need:

  • Photographs –  This is one of the first pieces of documentation you’ll need after the dog bite. Take pictures of the wound, as well as any other damage to property, to clearly establish the damage done by the dog.
  • Medical records and bills –  You’ll want to make sure that every doctor’s visit is fully documented, and that you get bills for everything. If you don’t have the proper documents, you risk getting a smaller payout than what you’ll need to cover medical expenses. Make sure you track what insurance is paying for, as well as any out of pocket costs.
  • Statements and communication from insurance company – If you have insurance, make sure that you properly document all statements that they provide relating to your injury. And you should save any other communication that you have with your insurance company, as well.
  • Amount of hours lost at work –  For many victims of dog bites, lost income stemming from the injury can be quite substantial. That’s why it’s crucial that you properly document how much time you lost at work, as well as your wages over this period. If you do not, you put yourself at risk of not getting the maximum possible payout for your case.

Trying To Be Their Own Attorney and Save Money

Michigan law allows you to seek damages for a dog bite from the dog’s owner. Some dog bite victims try to save money by representing themselves in their case.  While this might seem like a good way to save money, it is almost always a bad idea and will end up losing you money down the road.  You need a skilled Michigan dog bite attorney to help you prepare your case and win the maximum possible settlement. At the Clark Law Office, we have years of experience working on dog bite cases.  We speak to your doctors, help you gather documents, negotiate with the insurance companies and organize witness statements so that your case is as strong as possible. And we only get paid if you win your case.  Contact us today by phone for a free consultation, or fill out our free case evaluation form.