First Steps for Dog Bite Victims

If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, there are several things you need to do right away.  First, you need to get the dog owner’s name and contact information.  You should also immediately request the dog owner‘s home owner‘s or renter‘s insurance.  This insurance may prove to be only source of recovery for the victim‘s personal injuries.

You also need to request proof of the dog’s rabies and other vaccinations.  The vaccination history should be verified with the dog’s veterinarian.

It is very important to clean the wound area with soap and water.  If at all possible where there is a breakage of the skin, seek medical attention immediately to have the wound checked by a physician.  Dog bite wounds have a tendency to become infected.  A dog bite often necessitates an updated tetanus shot.

Many municipalities also require licensing of animals.  This may be another means of gaining records and information.  Depending on the city where the attack occurred, you may also need to contact local law enforcement. The time frame for reporting may be a little as 24 hours.
In an attempt to stifle the growing dog bite trend, New Mexico adopted the Dangerous Dog Act to hold dog owners criminally and civilly responsible for dogs that cause harm.  Likewise, the City of Albuquerque enacted Angel’s Law, an ordinance that focuses on dogs who are potentially dangerous, dogs who have demonstrated that they are dangerous and owners that have proven irresponsible.

Where a dog has a known history of attacks, the dog owner can be facing some pretty serious criminal and civil penalties.  The dog owner will be held liable for all damages suffered by the injured person.  The owner may even be exposed to punitive damages in a personal injury suit.

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