You have the right to walk down a public street without fear of attack—from a person or a dog. For the most part, dog owners take responsibility for their animals. They condition them not to bark and bite strangers, or they put a muzzle over their mouth when out in public. There are a few, however, those who do not take such precautions; they do not assert control and command over their animals and therefore put the public at risk.
If you have been the victim of a dog bite attack, you do have legal options.
How to Protect Yourself Against an Attack
Although the burden of responsibility is on dog owners, you should take common sense steps to protect yourself against an attack. For starters, you should never pet a dog you do not know. This can be hard to do if you are a dog-lover. You may find these furry creatures irresistible and want to touch and stroke the most adorable of them. But you must resist this impulse. Even if the owner gives you permission, you should not stick your hand out to a strange dog.
You should also avoid passing too closely to a dog and their owner on the sidewalk. If you are on an especially narrow street, you should open some space between you and the owner as you pass. Some dogs take close contact with their owner as a threat.
What to do After the Attack
If you are attacked by a dog, you should try your best to get away from it. If you are in too much pain to call emergency services, you should call out for someone else to. If you are able to do it yourself, then you should call 911.
The owner should stop to ensure that you are okay. If they do stop and you are able to speak, then you should exchange contact details. You should also take a photo of both the owner and the dog if you are able.
You will need to go to the emergency room. Your wound will be washed, treated, and bandaged. And you will need to undergo a course of rabies shots. You should take a photo of the bite injury before it is bandaged. The nursing staff will tell you how to do so safely.
Your next call should be to a lawyer. Only a lawyer who specializes in dog bites can help you get the compensation you deserve.
What Your Lawyer Will Do
There will be medical bills. If the dog bite was especially serious, you may even miss days of work. The owner is responsible for the actions of the dog. Your lawyer will gather all the evidence necessary to prove that you were attacked by a dog, that you were seriously injured as a result, that the dog owner was remiss in their duty to prevent the attack, and that you are owed a specific amount of money. Your lawyer will know how to put such a case together and make it stick.