Understanding Your Rights: What to Do After a Dog Bite Incident

Dog Bite

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of dog bites worldwide reaches up to tens of millions annually. It can be a painful and traumatic experience for anyone – not to mention the significant concern for rabies after an attack, which adds to the trauma.

In addition to the physical and emotional consequences, dog bite injuries can also have significant legal and financial ramifications. That said, it’s important to know what you should do if you’ve experienced a dog bite. Taking the appropriate actions increases your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve.

So, what to do after a dog bite incident? Check them out below.

Seek medical attention

Seeing a doctor immediately after a dog bite is in your best interest, both medically and legally.

Dog bites often result in puncture wounds, torn ligaments, and blood loss. But many of the biggest health concerns about it aren’t visible to the naked eye. Think about it; a dog’s mouth harbors various bacteria. What happens when they enter your body through the wound? There’s a risk of developing cellulitis or even sepsis!

That’s why, regardless of how minor the bite seems to look and feel, get it checked by a physician immediately. They can provide proper wound cleaning, reducing any infection risk. Your doctor can also determine the probability of you contracting the dreaded rabies. It also means you’ll receive the necessary medical care right away, preventing further complications.

From the legal point of view, seeking immediate medical attention would mean having medical records. These are documents that detail your injury and its severity. They also outline the treatment you received. Lawyers experienced with dog bite claims in Salt Lake City and other areas highly encourage seeing a doctor since this documentation will serve as evidence to support an insurance claim or a personal injury case.

Identify the dog and the owner

Even if you have medical records, pursuing compensation can be difficult, if not impossible, without an idea about who the owner of the dog that bit you is.

For one, attacks can happen without warning. They can take place out of nowhere. Finding out anything about the dog that has bitten you wouldn’t be the first thing that comes into your mind in the immediate aftermath of the attack. However, it’s strongly encouraged that you identify both the animal and its owner.

In 2020, a dog bite claim’s average payout in the US was USD$50,425. That’s already a big help, considering the medical bills and lost wages that often follow an attack. But compensation is only possible if you have an owner whom you can hold responsible. There’s no way you can sue the dog itself.

Identifying the owner will also reveal the dog’s history. You’ll know if it has been vaccinated for rabies. You can avoid expensive rabies shots as a result.

Dog Bite Incident

Submit an incident report

The next step is filing a report about the dog bite incident. What should this document contain? Everything about the attack. It should be a detailed account of what happened. So, include your medical records and the information about the dog and its owner. Don’t forget about the date and time the incident took place and where it happened, too. Also, include the contact information of witnesses, if there are any.

Here’s the thing: medical documents don’t include photographs in most cases. But pictures are important. They help overcome skepticism towards the severity of your injuries. They also tell a story in a way that words can’t always do. That said, take pictures of your injuries, especially if it involves significant bodily deformation. Photographs will be a great companion to your medical records.

An incident report helps determine the legal responsibilities of everyone involved in a dog bite or attack. It’s also accepted as evidence by insurance providers and in a court of law. Therefore, provide accurate information and make it as detailed as possible.

Contact an attorney

The last (but not least) step to take is contacting and hiring a dog bite attorney.

You see, the legal process surrounding dog bite cases can be overwhelming. Add to it the complicated nature of dealing with insurance companies. Also, when recovering from an injury, can you really be at your best when seeking the compensation you deserve?

With a dog bite attorney by your side, your chance of receiving just compensation improves. An experienced lawyer can help you gather the necessary evidence. They can also negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf. Only about 5% of personal injury cases go to trial, but if necessary, a dog bite attorney can also represent you in court.

They’ll do all these things armed with knowledge about all your legal rights as a victim.


Dog bite injuries can be devastating physically and emotionally. Their impact extends beyond the initial incident, too. Most cases result in long-term emotional distress marked by psychological scars. That said, it’s important to act when you or a loved one has been a victim of a dog bite or attack. Protect your or your loved one’s health and secure fair compensation.

Of course, navigating the entire process isn’t a walk in the park. Thankfully, professional help is available through dog bite attorneys. They’ll advocate for you. They’ll provide you with all the support you need to obtain the compensation you fully deserve.

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