I Was Bit by a Stray Dog, What Do I Do?

Even though most people in Seattle are responsible with their dogs, there are still times when stray animals cause injuries. If a stray dog has bitten you or somebody you love, you may need to know what to do right away. There are various steps you can follow right now that not only help ensure your well-being and safety but also contribute to the safety of others who may be affected by the stray dog. If a dog has injured you and are seeking compensation, contact a Seattle dog bite attorney at Elk & Elk.

Seek Medical Care Immediately

Individuals who sustain a dog bite injury or any type of injury caused by a stray dog should seek medical care right away. Even relatively minor dog bite injuries can lead to serious medical complications. It is not uncommon for dog bite injury victims to experience lacerations, puncture wounds, infections, scarring and disfigurement, severed tendons, veins, arteries, and more.

Prompt medical care accomplishes a few goals. First, your health and well-being are the number one priority, and a doctor can begin treatment soon after the incident occurs to prevent any infections or worsening of the current injury. Additionally, by seeking medical care right away, you will have a better chance of linking the dog bite to the incident, potentially increasing your chances of recovering compensation for your losses.

Call Law Enforcement or Animal Control Officials

The incident should be reported to law enforcement officials or animal control as soon as possible. Each jurisdiction has its own animal control and animal bite reporting processes. For example, victims can call 911 or animal control in Seattle at (206) 386-7387 (PETS) or by dialing 911 to initiate the process. 

Law enforcement or animal control should be contacted right away after the incident occurs or as soon as you are in a safe location and can use the phone.

When you call animal control to report the attack, you should provide them with as much information as possible about the incident. This includes a description of the dog and how it behaved, any information you have about where the dog came from or who may own the dog, and what you did before and after the incident occurred.

If you are able to do so, gather as much evidence as possible. This can include using your phone to take a photograph of any injuries, damaged clothing, or even the dog if possible. Do not discard any damaged clothing you were wearing at the time of the incident.

Can You Recover Compensation?

Recovering compensation after a dog bite occurs in Washington can be complicated, particularly if the dog is astray. However, it is worth trying to discover whether or not the dog actually belongs to somebody.

In Washington, we follow a strict liability dog bite law, which holds the owner of a dog responsible for any bite injuries caused to a person who was in a public place or lawfully in a private place at the time the incident occurred. The dog does not have to have previously bitten somebody or have a known propensity for aggression for victims to recover compensation.

We encourage dog bite injury victims to reach out to an attorney who can examine the facts of their case. If the dog apostrophes owner can be located, a Seattle personal injury attorney can help you initiate a claim to recover the compensation you are entitled to. This can include coverage of medical expenses related to the incident as well as recovery of lost wages and other economic, and monetary expenses resulting from the injuries.