The last thing you might expect when walking around Denver is to get attacked by someone else’s pet or a stray dog. Unfortunately, dozens of people in Colorado visit emergency rooms for serious dog bite injuries each year. Dog attacks are a common cause of painful, violent and traumatic injuries. Knowing what steps to take after being bitten by a dog can help you protect your health and legal rights.
Get to a Safe Place and Find Help
Always put your physical health and safety first. If you were attacked by a stray dog, find shelter away from the animal. Get to a safe place where you can assess your wounds and call for help. If the dog’s owner is present, do your best to remain calm. Call the police if the wounds inflicted constitute an emergency. Filing a police report can help you document the incident and strengthen an insurance claim later. Notifying your local police of a dog attack can also help improve the safety of your community.
Apply First Aid and Go to a Hospital
Conduct first aid as much as you can immediately after the incident. If you have an open wound that is bleeding, put a clean cloth over it and apply pressure to stop the bleeding. If the wound is superficial, you can clean it with warm water and soap to help prevent infection. For a more severe wound, you will need to go to a hospital for antibiotics. Serious dog bite injuries may also require stitches, surgery or skin grafts. It is important to see a medical professional after any dog bite injury to decrease your chances of infection or diseases, such as rabies.
Notify Animal Control
Report the dog attack to the Denver Animal Shelter by calling (720) 913-2080. You can also access the reporting form online. State law (Colorado Revised Statute 25-4-603) requires all dog attacks and animal bites to be reported within 12 hours. Reporting dog bite injuries to the local animal control authority can keep a record of incidents connected to a dog. If a dog bites multiple victims, it may be deemed “dangerous,” which will require the pet owner to take special precautions to avoid future attacks, such as using a muzzle in public.
Gather Evidence and Information
Do your best to document the dog bite injury. Start while you are still at the location where the attack occurred. Write down the pet owner’s name and contact information. Ask for his or her insurance information, as well. Most property insurance policies cover dog bite injuries, as dogs are viewed as property by law.
Write down a description of the attack while the details are still fresh in your mind. If anyone witnessed the incident, get their information. Take photographs of your injuries as they heal and consider keeping an injury journal of your daily progress and how you feel. Request copies of your medical records and hospital bills. Keeping a record of events can help you build your insurance claim and help an Aurora dog bite injury lawyer file your injury claim.
Contact a Dog Bite Injury Lawyer in Colorado
Colorado has a strict liability dog bite law, meaning a pet owner will be held responsible for any injury or harm caused by his or her dog, regardless of whether the owner knew the dog was capable of attacking someone. Under this law, it is not necessary to prove that the pet owner was negligent or contributed to your injury. As long as you can show that you suffered an injury caused by the dog, the owner’s insurance company should pay for your medical bills, property damage and other losses.
Unfortunately, insurance companies can make it difficult to secure the financial compensation that victims deserve for dog bite injuries. If you need assistance with the claims process after a dog attack, contact a Denver personal injury attorney at Manning Law.