While dogs can be wonderful companions and loving members of any family, some furry friends may have aggressive tendencies and be known to bite.  According to reports, 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every year, 20 percent of dog bite victims seek medical attention for their injuries, and, 27,000 individuals undergo reconstructive surgery after a dog attack. In 2013, there were 31 fatal dog attacks.

Statistics aside, most dogs that are lashing out have not received proper care or love. If a dog suffers from abuse, stress, neglect, or negative stimulation, they are more likely to act out. This is not always the fault of any particular breed of dog. All dogs need a positive and nurturing environment to be the loyal furry friends we know and love.

 

Here are some important safety tips on how to avoid a dog bite, which are recommended by the National Humane Society…

  1. Never approach an unfamiliar dog, especially one that is tied up, behind a fence or in a car.
  2. Prior to petting a dog, let them sniff and see you first so they know you are not a threat.
  3. Don’t disturb a dog while they are eating, chewing on a toy, sleeping or caring for puppies.
  4. Be polite to the dog and respect their personal space by keeping a safe distance between yourself and a dog.
  5. Pay attention to the dog’s body language and assume if the dog does not know you, you may be perceived as an intruder or a threat. Signs the dog may be uncomfortable, include, a tensed body, stiff tail, pulled back head or ears, intense stare, or backing away.
  6. If you are trying to distance yourself from a dog that might bite, never turn your back on them and run away. Since, a dog’s natural instinct will be to chase you, the National Humane Society recommends:
    • Resisting the impulse to scream or run
    • Remaining motionless with your hands at your side and avoid eye contact with the dog
    • Once the dog loses interest, slowly back away until they are out of sight
    • If the dog attacks, feed them your jacket, purse, bicycle, or anything that can put distance between you and the dog;
    • If you fall or are knocked to the ground, curl into a ball with your hands over your ears, and remain motionless. Try not to scream or roll around.

 

If the unfortunate does occur, here is a guide of what to do when the dog bites…

Identify the dog and its owner.

Immediately take note of who owns the dog that attacked you. Record their names and addresses as well as information from witnesses. If you are unable to distinguish the owner, you may have to endure a series of rabies shots which are both painful and expensive.

 

Seek immediate medical attention.

If the dog bite is serious, immediately call 911. Even if the dog bite injury is minor, you should still have a companion take you to the hospital. It is important to always seek some sort of medical care after a dog bite, as the risk of infection is too immense to disregard.

 

Photograph your injuries.

In today’s world, a picture is worth a thousand words. In the event you want to go forward with a dog bite lawsuit, it is a good idea to document all of your injuries including cuts, bruises, as well the torn and bloody clothing from the dog attack.

 

File a dog bite report.

After you have sought medical attention, you should file a dog bite report with the proper city or county authorities. By doing so, this legally documents the incident and may help to determine if the dog will be classified as a “dangerous animal” that may require precautions so as to protect others from an attack from the same dog. A paper trail may be key to determining dog bite liability.

 

Contact an experienced personal injury attorney.

The legal issues surrounding a dog attack are complex and confusing. A personal injury lawyer would have the knowledge to navigate you through this difficult process and discover who is liable.

When it comes to a dog bite lawsuit, what seems to be an open and shut case may be more complicated. It’s the owner’s fault, right? Not always. There are many factors that must be looked at in determining liability for a dog bite case, such as: Was the dog provoked? Was the dog bite victim a trespasser? Has the dog exhibited prior aggressive behavior that should have put the dog owner on notice of the vicious nature of their dog? Did the dog bite a person without any justification and cause serious injury?

As such, it is important to speak to a personal injury lawyer like Brindisi, Murad, Brindisi & Pearlman to determine if you have a case and can sue for damages, such as: the cost of medical care, including future scar reduction, psychological therapy (if needed), and medication; loss of wages for time spent recovering from the injury; and the cost of damaged property as a result of the dog attack.

 

If you or a loved one has been injured in a dog bite, you need The People’s Lawyer. While most dogs are beloved animals that we consider family, others that may be treated poorly can lash out and cause injury. Contact Brindisi, Murad, Brindisi, & Pearlman, experienced dog bite attorneys in Central New York, for a free consultation today.

 

 

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