There are nearly 90 million dogs in the United States, a remarkable number that shows just how important “man’s best friend” really is to Americans. A significant percentage of these 90 million dogs are considered to be beloved family members, and that pose no threat to others. However, there are roughly 4.5 million dog attacks in the United States each year, and if you are on the receiving end of a vicious dog attack, you will understandably not be thinking about how many safe dogs there are in the country. Dogs have powerful bites, sharp teeth, and an aggressive dog can cause serious damage to muscles, tissues, cause serious bleeding, and many may lead to infections.
If you have suffered a dog bite in Washington DC, then it is extremely important that you contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible who can help you make sense of your injuries, your legal options, and how best to move forward from this traumatic situation. While there is no amount of money that can undo the damage done by an attack, you and your dog bite attorney will be able to hold the dog owner accountable for their dog’s behaviors, and seek financial compensation so that you are not responsible for the monetary impacts of this terrifying and painful experience. It can feel impossible to determine what steps to take after an attack, which is why hiring a lawyer as soon as possible is one of the most important things to do early after any sort of personal injury.
Contact Balkin & Mausner Injury Lawyers LLP For a Free Consultation About Your Washington D.C Dog Bite Today
We offer a free initial consultation to victims of dog bites so that we can provide you with peace of mind and professional insight about your situation. Legally speaking, you are the victim of a tort, and therefore there is a pathway for you to follow in order to ensure that things like your medical bills, lost wages, and emotional damages are compensated; however, finding this path and staying the course on your own can feel impossible. We will be happy to help you understand the ways that we can help during our initial consultation. Speaking with a dog bite lawyer is the best way to understand how you can move on and get the financial support that you deserve.
After a dog attack, you understandably have a lot that you need to deal with in a short period of time. Most importantly, you must prioritize your own health — both emotional and physical — in order to focus on making a successful recovery. The physical wounds of a dog bite can leave permanent scarring, but the emotional wounds can last just as long if left uncared for. Trying to take on a legal process at the same time that you are trying to focus on your own personal needs is extremely difficult, and can actually have a negative impact on your physical wound recovery.
What To Do After a Washington D.C Dog Bite
We understand that your situation is extremely unique, meaning that the following steps may not fit your needs exactly. However, we have provided the following information as a guideline on how to make sure that you get the care that you need in order to facilitate a successful recovery from your dog bite injuries, and that you get the support necessary to move forward with your life following this traumatic and painful situation. Consider these steps as you look towards the future, and contact Balkin & Mausner Injury Lawyers LLP as soon as possible to get legal advice from a dog bite attorney.
It is essential that you document all of the relevant information following dog bites, and one of the best ways to make sure that the entire situation is properly documented (and that you get the appropriate care immediately) is by calling 911. When you call 911, you will be connected with an operator to who you can explain the situation, the severity of your dog bite injuries, and more, and they will dispatch the appropriate first responders. The Washington DC Police will interview both you and the dog owner to get a better understanding of what happened leading up to the dog bite, and will be able to compile a report. At the same time, EMTs will be able to attend to your dog bite injuries to ensure that they are sterilized and bandaged, and will ultimately determine whether or not your injuries are severe enough to warrant an ambulance straight to the emergency room.
In addition, contact DC Animal Control at (202) 576-6664.
Get Medical Help
Getting care from an EMT for a dog bite is one thing, but it is important that you schedule a followup with your doctor as soon as possible. For starters, you will need a medical professional to monitor the progress that your injuries make after the dog bite, but you will also be able to establish additional documentation about your dog bites and the extent of your injuries that resulted from the attack. When you file a claim against the dog owner or their insurance company, you will need to provide ample proof of the dog bites and the resulting impacts that they have had on your physical wellbeing. Any dog bite injury not documented will be pushed back on aggressively by the defendant.
Call an Attorney
If the dog owner has an insurance policy that you are able to file with, it might seem simple enough to just file a claim on your own without having to worry about hiring an attorney. If, however, you will need to attempt to seek compensation directly from the dog owner, you may immediately realize the importance of hiring a lawyer. What a victim may fail to realize after a dog bite, though, is that filing a claim with an insurance company means that you are attempting to go up against a massive company and all of their internal lawyers, while filing directly against the dog owner simply means that it is more apparent that there are legal professionals involved. After a dog bite, it is important that you hire a lawyer as soon as possible to ensure that you are moving in the right direction to get the money you deserve.
Who Is At Fault For Your Dog Bite?
The Code of the District of Columbia, § 8–1808, lays out a range of prohibited behavior when it comes to animal control and the way that pet owners must take responsibility for their animals. After a dog bite, the dog owner must be held accountable for the actions of their pet, and working with an attorney will help you understand the path towards this accountability and financial compensation as a result. There is something known as the one-bite rule in DC that allows for a victim to seek compensation for a dog bite even if the dog has never before indicated aggressive behavior or ever attacked before, in contrast to a number of other states that require a dog to have indicated aggressive behavior in the past before the owner will be held liable for the attack you were involved in.
Under the Washington DC statutes, there are a number of specific circumstances that indicate negligence on behalf of the owner, including allowing the dog to “go at large,” which is a legal term for saying that they allowed the dog to wander off-leash and away from their owner. When you are attacked by an at large dog, we will work to build a comprehensive case about the owner’s negligence and how this negligence led to your injuries.
Compensation For a Dog Bite
After being attacked by a dog, one of the major questions that we will need to answer is about how much money you are entitled to. This conversation can be especially difficult when the insurance company or the owner’s lawyers are trying to push back on paying you what you actually owe, which is why we will handle this process for you.
Washington DC dog attacks are torts, meaning that they seek compensatory damages like any other personal injury case. Compensatory damages are divided into economic and non-economic damages, which seek very different compensation. Economic damages include any damages that have a measurable dollar value associated with them, such as your medical bills and lost wages. Non-economic damages are harder to calculate, but just as important – they seek compensation for things like the pain and suffering of your injuries, and the emotional impact that this attack had on you.