Dog bite injuries are very common. According to the Center for Disease Control (“CDC”), over 4 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year. Connecticut, like most states, has laws that cover injuries caused by dogs. In this state, individuals who are injured by a dog can file a claim against the dog owner, or the person in control of the dog, in order to obtain compensation for injuries.
Read on to learn the first steps you should take if you have been attacked and injured by a dog:
Report the Incident to the Police
The first thing you should do is to dial 911 so as to report the incident. If you are not in a position to make the call, have someone near you who can contact 911. The Police and local Animal Control will come to the scene to document what happened, get the dog under control, and ensure medical help is on the way.
If the dog owner was not present during the incident, then, if possible, you or the authorities need to inform the dog owner that the dog will need to be quarantined per Connecticut law. This is to ensure that the dog does not have rabies as well as to allow for an examination of the dog’s demeanor.
Seek Medical Help
Have the wound, and any other injuries, treated by a medical professional as soon as possible after the attack. A medical professional will be able to disinfect the wound and prevent any further complications. If the dog’s vaccination records can be accessed, that is critical in order to ensure the proper treatment. If you do not have access to the dog’s vaccination status, your doctor may advise you to receive a rabies vaccine.
In the hours and days after the incident, look out for signs of infection as this is a major concern following dog bite injuries. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms:
- Swelling, redness or pain around the wound
- Loss of sensation around the injured area
- Fever, chills, night sweats, weakness, or fatigue
Make certain to follow your doctor’s advice about changing bandages, medications, and treatments to ensure you are properly caring for your wounds.
Collect and Document Evidence
Under the Connecticut dog bite statute, the dog owner or “keeper” is strictly liable for any damage caused by the dog. This means that in a case in which the claim is made against the dog owner, the injured person does not have to prove negligence on the owner’s part in order to receive compensation. You will, however, need to be able to identify the dog and its owner to file a dog bite injury claim in Connecticut. If you are unsure about who the dog owner is, witness testimony can be crucial to identify the dog and the owner.
Document as much information as possible about the dog, its owner, and the location of the incident. Make note of everything you can think of, including:
- Its breed and name
- The dog owner’s contact information (name, phone number and address)
- Where you were when the incident happened
- The dog’s vaccination status
- The owner’s insurance information
- Does the dog look healthy?
Dog attacks can be very traumatic, often leaving you with not just physical pain, but also emotional suffering. Hiring a personal injury attorney ensures that everything related to the claim process is handled properly and professionally giving you the chance to focus on the most important thing—your healing.