What to do When You Have Been Bitten by a Dog

We Alaskans love our dogs.  We take them camping, hunting, and walking with us.  They are wonderful companions.  Unfortunately, some dogs are not well trained.

As a result, there are over 1 million dog bites each year in America, with over 800,000 Americans requiring medical attention. Dog owners are responsible for damages caused by their pets.  There are a two notable exceptions you should keep in mind: (1) a dog owner is not responsible if a person trespasses or commits another criminal offense on the owner’s property (or attempts to do so), or teases, torments, or abuses the dog, essentially baiting or enticing the dog to bite.

What Type of Information Should You Collect?

Assuming you are an innocent victim of a dog bit, here is what you should do if you are bitten by a dog:

Get the names, phone numbers, and addresses of the dog owner and any witnesses. You should get this information even if you think you are uninjured, some injuries only crop up a day or two later, and this information will be helpful. Damages caused by a dog may entitle you to compensation for medical bills, lost income, loss of enjoyment of life and pain and suffering.

It is particularly important that you get the name of the owner. If the dog can’t be identified, you may face the possibility of painful rabies treatment.

Seek medical attention immediately if you need it.  Do not put off medical treatment.  Even if a bite doesn’t seem all that serious, puncture wounds are susceptible to infection. Maintain records of all doctor and hospital visits, and copies of bills.

If you sustain a wound to the face, request that a plastic surgeon treat it. Emergency-room doctors are skilled at the medical treatment, but not so much the cosmetic treatment.  Sometimes plastic surgeons will not treat someone for a year after the initial scarring, depending on how bad the wound and scar is, so do not be surprised if you cannot have the scar treated immediately by the plastic surgeon

You should also report the incident to animal-control authorities. This is especially important when an animal’s owner is unknown. The authorities will try to track the dog down (and its owner), quarantine it for a rabies evaluation, and talk to witnesses, which can aid a potential claim. 


You Need an Attorney

When you have injuries resulting from a pedestiran accident or auto collision, you need professional representation by an attorney with the experience necessary to win your case. You need a lawyer who you can have full confidence in. To learn more, contact the Law Office of Ben Crittenden to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

Ben Crittenden
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Devoted to advancing his trial techniques and communication skills on behalf of injured victims in Anchorage.
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