When you’ve been the victim of a dog attack and are injured, getting the maximum dollar amount for compensation is no doubt, on your mind. Rightly so. Dog bites and their aftermath can be very costly in terms of medical bills, lost work, and lifestyle changes. Particularly if your appearance has been changed because of a disfiguring dog bite injury, the costs can be difficult to put on paper.
With dog attacks, as with any other legal case, the tiny details matter. Keeping an excellent record of all your expenses and medical treatments is the best place to begin to prepare for a larger settlement.
What to Do When You’ve Been Bitten
- Take pictures – images of the scene where the dog bite happened as well as pictures of the dog and the injuries it inflicted will be necessary. As much visual proof as you can collect will help your lawyer convince the court that you deserve a larger settlement.
At the time of the attack, you may not be up for documenting the attack in photographs, but the sooner you can collect the photographic evidence, the better. (The broken fence that allowed the animal to escape and attack you might be quickly fixed if a dog owner thinks there might be legal action. Waste no time.)
- Keep Medical Bills and Receipts – This may seem like a no-brainer, but people often forget that follow-up appointments and physical therapy take time and very often, money out of your pocket for lost time at work. Keep appointment times on a calendar along with hours you may have missed from work. Physical evidence of your expenses is essential to gaining it all back.
Prescriptions for pain medication and receipts for bandaging materials add up and sometimes get forgotten. Ointments and creams used to alleviate scars are just as important to your case as the ambulance ride because they all help your lawyer paint a complete and compelling picture of your injuries.
- Keep a Journal – Make note of things that are even remotely related to your accident. Ask yourself if your life is different in anyway because of the bite and document it. If your life is much different because of the bite it can result in an even higher payout when your lawyer communicates it effectively.
Do you take a different route for your evening walks? How often do you see the dog at large, or outside his yard without the owner? Have other neighbors had similar experiences with the dog? All of these things can be useful to your lawyer to help communicate the toll and value of the injury on your life.
When a Child is the Victim
When a child is traumatized by a dog bite, many other tragic consequences can follow. Beyond the scarring and the pain of shots, and stitches, a child’s pain is felt differently than your own. Physical therapy at a facility or at home can hurt. Scarring and disfigurement can hurt even worse.
When a little one is hurt, it is essential that you make note of the things that change in his life including where he plays and how he interacts with others. With this information, your lawyer can demonstrate how the child’s life was traumatically transformed – this translates to a higher settlement in the end.
- Collect the same medical records and other documents related to a child’s dog bite injuries as you would anyone else.
- Take Pictures – adding pictures of the child’s healing process can be very helpful in addition to the photographic evidence mentioned above.
- Keep Journaling – these duties become more challenging when a child is the victim. He or she may not know how to express the new fears or tell you all the ways every-day life has changed. Watch for behavioral clues. School work may suffer and relationships with other children and patterns of play can change significantly. You must document those changes as well. If school personnel or parents of friends notice changes, be sure to get names and contact information.
- Irrational Fears – As adults, we may know that attacks won’t happen with all dogs, but it’s easy for children to be so traumatized by an attack that seeing any dog afterward will trigger a panic attack. These episodes can lead to a life-long fear of dogs that can make life far less pleasant and much more difficult. Make full and thorough notes if and when such reactions happen.
Elderly or Handicapped Victims
Vulnerable adults including senior citizens and the handicapped can also experience dog-attacks in a life-altering way. Old people heal more slowly and must endure the painful recovery process for a longer period of time. By documenting the recovery process, you can give your legal team the ammunition to recover effectively for your loved one.
- Fearful Behaviors – A dog attack can shrink the world of the elderly or the handicapped. Following a dog attack, these folks often find that they fear going outside or leaving their yard. They may stop attending social events, pursuing their hobbies, volunteering, or even going to church. This fear-caused isolation can starkly minimize their ability to live a full and healthy life. Making note of lifestyle changes like these will be of use to your attorney.
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Hire a Qualified Attorney
At the Millar Law Firm, we believe that after any accident, it’s smart to consult with a personal injury lawyer. We think it’s the best way to be sure of your rights and to take steps to recover what you’ve lost.
Many lawyers offer a free consultation for the purposes of evaluating your claim. We urge you to take advantage of that free service by making an appointment, gathering your documentation, and sitting down with an experienced professional.
A personal injury lawyer, who works exclusively in this field of law is up-to-date on changes to the laws, and knows every possible way to make sure you recover everything to which you are entitled. When a lawyer specializes, he intensifies his knowledge and can bring that intensity to your case. This is the key to winning a larger settlement.
At the Millar Law Firm, we only take personal injury claims. We are immersed every working day in the reality of what happens when people are injured through the negligence of others. This makes us particularly well-qualified, and committed to helping you.
Call our office today and make an appointment for your free case evaluation. You’ll be glad you called 770-400-0000