Even minor dog bites can have unexpected and costly consequences for the victim. In some cases, individuals think that a small dog bite is no big deal, only to go on and develop an infection or require expensive and painful rabies prevention therapy. Even with the tiniest bite or scratch, bacteria from the dog's mouth can enter the body and cause a potentially severe and life-threatening infection such as tetanus, rabies, or sepsis.
Victims may not only experience pain and inconvenience due to a minor dog bite but could be saddled with considerable medical expenses and other costs. Do not let this happen to you. While the dog owner is usually liable and should pay for your damages, getting what you truly deserve can be tricky.
Morgan & Morgan knows the impact of dog bites on victims. A minor dog bite lawsuit could allow you to seek damages such as healthcare costs, property damage, pain and anguish, and others. Contact us today to determine whether you have a case against an irresponsible dog owner.
Your Next Best Steps After a Dog Attack
Even in a minor dog attack, taking action to preserve your health and legal rights can be critical. If someone’s dog bites you, you should report the dog and owner to the police. Also, consider seeking medical help immediately, take photographs of your injury and damaged items, and get legal advice from an attorney as soon as possible. Read on to discover your next best steps in detail:
See Your Doctor Promptly
Seeking professional medical help to care for your wound is critical, even if you only suffered a small bite. Dog bites are prone to developing infections. Therefore, a medical professional should clean and disinfect your wound as soon as possible. Your doctor may also take additional steps to protect your health, such as ordering a prophylactic rabies treatment. Visiting a doctor will provide you with a detailed medical report, which is essential if you later want to pursue damages from the dog owner.
Gather Evidence of the Dog Attack
Essential evidence of the attack can include photographs of your injuries, the animal, and any damaged personal items. If there are any bystanders, ask them for their contact details as they could provide vital eyewitness statements later on. Ensure to retain any dirty or damaged clothing and items as evidence. Importantly, do not throw away any receipts for out-of-pocket expenses you incurred, such as medication, wound care costs, and others. You will need to present evidence of all your costs to qualify for reimbursement.
Call a Dog Bite Lawyer
Your injury may be minor, but that does not mean that the consequences of your dog bite will be insignificant. Dog attacks can be traumatic and emotionally scarring, regardless of an injury’s severity. You could be entitled to damages for both your physical and emotional injuries. If a dog owner’s carelessness caused your physical, emotional, and financial upheaval, they should be held accountable. Our attorneys can clarify your legal options and move forward with seeking damages from the responsible party.
Filing a Minor Dog Bite Lawsuit
Victims of minor dog bites may not know whether they should pay for their damages or press charges against the dog owner. In severe dog attack and bite cases, victims can recover considerable compensation that covers their current and future medical bills, income loss, and other damages. However, even with a small dog bite, you are entitled to compensation for your costs and losses. Moreover, you may not yet know the long-term impact of a dog bite on your finances and health.
You may have to initiate a lawsuit if you cannot reach a fair settlement with the dog owner or insurer. It is worth noting that filing a suit does not necessarily mean that you will end up in a court of law or at a trial. According to the American Bar Association (ABA), most personal injury cases are resolved out of court. However, filing a claim can provide the necessary incentive for the responsible party or insurance company to settle with you.
Having an experienced personal injury lawyer from Morgan & Morgan by your side can be crucial when you want to hold a dog owner accountable with a minor dog bite lawsuit.
Common Dog Bite Injuries
Dog bites can potentially cause significant injury to the skin and tissues. Even a minor bite that does not break the skin can cause damage to the underlying soft tissue with crushing or bruising injuries. Common injuries in dog attacks can include:
Laceration wounds typically tear the skin and underlying soft tissue. They are prone to harboring infections as lacerations’ jagged and irregular edges can be particularly challenging to clean and disinfect.
Puncture wounds occur when the dog’s teeth pierce through the skin and deep into the underlying tissues. Due to their depth, puncture wounds can be difficult to clean correctly and prone to infections.
An aggressive dog may not let go of a person during the attack, causing rips, tears, and skin abrasions. Even minor tearing injuries and scrapes can cause scarring or develop infections.
Nerves could be damaged even with a relatively minor dog bite, depending on the location and depth of the injury. More severe dog bites could sever nerves and cause permanent damage.
All dog bites, even tiny scratches, can develop potentially severe infections requiring considerable medical intervention such as antibiotics and surgery. Moreover, catching a disease such as rabies or tetanus is generally possible with even the smallest dog bites. If rabies or tetanus are not treated in the earliest stages, the outcome could be fatal.
Dog attacks resulting in minor or major dog bite injuries can damage a person’s psyche significantly. Victims may develop a severe phobia of dogs that could prohibit them from going about their everyday life as they did before the attack. The effects of fear and anxiety triggered by a dog attack can include nightmares, depression, insomnia, and others.
Seek Legal Advice After Your Injury
No matter how small your physical injury seems now, you could suffer various negative consequences in the future. Therefore, consider speaking to an attorney to protect your legal rights and determine the best course of action. You could be entitled to compensation from the dog owner.
Damages Available in Minor Dog Bite Lawsuits
You may be entitled to damages with a minor dog bite lawsuit. Depending on your injury and expenses in connection with the dog attack, you could qualify for economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages come with a fixed dollar amount and receipts and include medical bills, loss of income, property damage, and out-of-pocket expenses.
Non-economic damages, however, can be tough to quantify as they relate to the degree of the dog bite victim’s pain and suffering. Examples of non-economic damages that may be awarded for minor dog bites include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
Depending on the circumstances of your dog attack and the losses you sustained, you could be eligible for other damages. Our dog bite attorneys can assess your losses and determine the worth of your claim.