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What should I do if I’ve been bitten by a dog?

It's very common in America that people are bitten by dogs -- often by those of strangers when out in public. This can be a traumatic and dangerous experience for the victim, and therefore there may be legal rights to recover damages. This blog summarizes the circumstances in which the responsible party might be liable, and what damages the victim may be able to claim.

What to do immediately after a dog bite

Medical attention should be sought immediately if you have been bitten, because it could result in infection or serious injury. After you have been treated, you might think that it is appropriate to file charges against the responsible party.

Who is liable and to what extent?

The first person to look toward is the legal owner of the dog. Some states assign "strict liability" to animal owners, whereby they are always responsible for the actions of the animal, regardless of what precautions they took to try and prevent the incident. In other states, the owner is only liable if he or she had reason to predict the act - in other words - if he or she saw that the dog had "dangerous propensities".

What damages can be recovered?

The damages that can be recovered are dependent on how much the injury has negatively affected you. You may have had to pay medical costs, lost wages and suffered through a lot of pain and stress. In some instances, you may want to file charges against the responsible party for his or her negligence or recklessness.

It's important to seek trusted legal guidance when making a claim for damages, since every situation is unique and requires a tailored approach.

Source: Find Law, "Dig bites and animal attack overview," accessed July 13, 2017

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