What to do first in a dog bite or animal attack?

1. Gather Evidence

If you are still at the scene of the accident, gather as much evidence you can. Photographs of any god, bite, or driver’s license information. If there are any witnesses who pulled over or bystanders, don’t be afraid to approach them to ask if you can get their number as a witness to what occurred (you may be surprised how helpful people are upon being asked). Try to obtain a police report if feasible. Typically upon going to a hospital for treatment, the local police will be involved anyways. If there are nearby businesses, check to see if they have security cameras that may have captured the accident (be aware, footage is usually deleted after 30 days).

2. Seek immediate medical care

Seek immediate medical care. Options include ambulance, emergency room, urgent care, or primary care physician. It is extremely important to see a medical professional as soon after the accident as possible. Insurance companies pay claims based on how strong the documentation is, and the strongest first step is seeing a medical professional as soon as possible. You must report any and all symptoms you noticed since the accident occurred, and stress that all symptoms started after an accident. Often crush injuries, nerve injuries, or major lacerations may require immediate medical care to prevent or minimize long term damage.

3. Skip talking to insurance, hire an attorney

In animal attack, dog bite, or dog attack cases, people are often surprised to learn there can be insurance coverage. If the animal owner has homeowner’s insurance or rental insurance, these policies can often provide insurance coverage to compensate you for the attack.

An insurance company has invested millions of dollars in perfecting a system of minimizing how much they pay out. There is nothing an insurance company would love more after an accident than an unrepresented person calling them and speaking with them. The old saying is “what you say may be used against you” is 100% true.

Call an attorney as soon as possible and get a professional on your side. Haling Law provides free consultations.

Common Injuries from Dog Bites / Animal attacks

A wide variety of injuries are possible from dog bites or animal attacks. Each person’s body is unique, re-creating the exact physics of every single possible accident scenario is not feasible. Below is a listing of the most common injuries, but by no means does this mean that an uncommon injury cannot occur from an accident:


An animal bites or attacks can result in scarring which may be permanent in nature. A permanent scar can not only be bad for aesthetics but also impact how people see you, your self confidence, or serve as a permanent reminder of the horrific attack. Treatment can range from dermatologist care to plastic surgery and sometimes even with the best of care the skin will not recover completely. Scars can also cause permanent nerve damage to the body part.

Nerve Injury

Animal bites or attacks can either cause a laceration to a nerve or a crush injury. These injuries can cause long term damage to the nerves resulting in loss of sensation, constant irritation, pain, and loss of function. Surgical intervention may be necessary, but permanent damage can occur.

Ligament Tears or other Tissue Tears

During an attack, the force of the animal crashing into or the power of its jaw can cause major tissue damage. The force exerted on a person in an attack can exceed the amount of force a ligament, tendon, or other tissue can handle and a tearing occurs. Sometimes the tearing is not noticeable at first, but like nylon the tear becomes worse over time. Surgical intervention is often required or the injury will simply become worse as time goes by.

Bone Fractures

Dogs and animals can have incredible force in their attack and can cause a variety of fractures such as spiral fractures, stable fractures, oblique fractures, compound fractures, oblique fractures or comminuted fractures. Treatment can range from conservative casting or interventional surgery with installation of medical hardware. Sometimes joints themselves require surgical replacement. The resulting injuries can put you at risk long past the end of treatment as you are increasingly at risk of arthritis or other complications down the road.

What type of compensation can I recover from a dog bite or animal attack?

Damages in a case is typically split into two separate legal categories: Special Damages and General Damages. Special Damages consist of items such as medical bills, future medical care, out of pocket loss, lost wages, loss of earnings, loss of future earnings, etc. Think of Special Damages as anything that you can assign a number for, show documentation of the dollar amount, or have a receipt. Even if your health insurance paid the bill or an employer paid your sick time, these are damages you are still entitled to recover. General damages is also labeled as pain and suffering, this is about the actual pain you felt or continue to feel, the impact on your life, the damage of relationships that medical problems can cause, the additional stress, the loss of enjoyment in your favorite activities etc. General damages can particularly be a pivotal issue in cases involving permanent scarring.

In dog bites or animal attacks, the owner’s homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance can provide you with insurance coverage to compensate you for your damages. Contact Haling Law now to receive a free consultation to find out more about your options.

Request a