Dogs are famously known as man's best friend. However, dogs are still animals and can act aggressively at times, even without being provoked.
Because of their sharp teeth, powerful jaws and strong bodies, people can be seriously injured when dogs attack. Dog bites can lead to both physical injury and psychological trauma, which is why we all have an interest in preventing the attacks before they occur.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, there are certain steps that can be taken to help avoid getting bit by a dog, including:
- Respect the dog's personal space
- Don't approach an unfamiliar dog
- Let a dog see and sniff you before trying to pet it
- Use caution around unfamiliar dogs
- Never bother a dog who is sleeping, eating, caring for puppies or chewing on a toy
Additionally, the Humane Society suggests paying close attention to the dog's body language. The following signs may mean that the dog feels the urge to attack:
- Tension in the body
- A tail that is stiff
- A head and/or ears that are pulled back
- A furrowed brow
- The whites of the eyes showing
- Behavior such as yawning, flicking the tongue, staring intensely or backing away
When these signs are being displayed, it's important to remain calm and back away from the dog slowly without making eye contact. Remember, turning your back and running may cause the dog to chase you, the Humane Society reports.
Unfortunately, even if you do all of the right things, you may not be able to avoid a dog attack. If this happens, don't panic or scream. Put anything you can between yourself and the dog such as a bicycle or even a jacket. If you are knocked to the ground, curl into a ball and try to remain motionless.
After an attack
Needless to say, being attacked by a dog can cause just as much mental injury as it can physical injury. It's important to seek medical treatment for any injuries that you may have sustained, and then report the incident to the local animal control agency.
The next step that you will want to take is contacting an experienced personal injury lawyer in your area who can help you understand the kind of compensation that you may be entitled to. Typically, the dog owner's homeowner's insurance policy is responsible for the damages that were caused by the dog.
Damages stemming from a dog bite may include past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Remember that you only have a certain amount of time to pursue damages following a dog bite, so it is important to act quickly.
At The Law Offices of Carl Knickerbocker, P.C., we offer dog bite victims a free consultation about their case. Our firm also strives to provide personalized representation at a fair price.