Dog’s have a well-earned reputation as man’s best friend for their loyalty and companionship, but that does not mean that they are harmless. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that each year approximately 4.7 million people are attacked by dogs

What To Do If You Have Been Bitten

If you have been attacked, the CDC recommends you take the following actions

  • For minor wounds:
    • Wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water.
    • Apply an antibiotic cream.
    • Cover the wound with a clean bandage.
    • See a healthcare provider if the wound becomes red, painful, warm, or swollen; if you develop a fever; or if the dog that bit you was acting strangely.
  • For deep wounds:
    • Apply pressure with a clean, dry cloth to stop the bleeding.
    • If you cannot stop the bleeding or you feel faint or weak, call 911 or your local emergency medical services immediately.
    • See a healthcare provider as soon as possible.
  • See a healthcare provider:
    • If the wound is serious (uncontrolled bleeding, loss of function, extreme pain, muscle or bone exposure, etc.).
    • If the wound becomes red, painful, warm, or swollen, or if you develop a fever.
    • If you don’t know if the dog has been vaccinated against rabies.
    • If it has been more than 5 years since your last tetanus shot and the bite is deep.

If the dog is not your own, the CDC recommends contacting your local animal control agency or police department to report the incident. Those officials can then contact the owner and ensure the animal has a current rabies vaccination. They should verify the rabies vaccine license number, the name of the veterinarian who administered the vaccine, and the owner’s name, address, and phone number for you. 

We then recommend reaching out to an experienced dog bite attorney. You can obviously try to negotiate with your insurance company and the dog owner’s insurance company by yourself, but you might not get offered as much compensation as you would with an attorney by your side. 

Am I Eligible For Compensation?

New Jersey is a strict liability dog bite state, which means that a dog owner is liable for the injuries their dog has caused, no matter what. 

It doesn’t matter what breed the dog is. It doesn’t matter that the owner tried to keep the dog away from people by keeping it leashed or fenced in. It doesn’t matter if the dog has never bitten someone before. The owner is 100% responsible for his or her dog’s actions. 

You may seek compensation for the physical injuries you suffered, time you had to take off work, and the psychological trauma you suffer. If the owner wantonly allowed the dog attack, punitive damages may also be assessed. These damages are designed to punish the pet owner’s misconduct and to send a message to other like-minded dog owners.

Posted in: Personal Injury