September 28, 2019

How These 5 Mistakes Can Harm Your Dog Bite Case in Michigan

When dealing with an injury from a dog bite, your likelihood of getting compensation increases significantly if you consult with a specialized dog bite attorney at our law firm. Hopefully, you’ll never have to deal with the pain caused by a dog attack. If you do, though, here are the mistakes to avoid.

1. Not Getting Witness Contact Information

If you’re fortunate enough to have witnesses in your case, make sure you get their contact information before they leave. It’s common for witnesses to leave as soon as they believe you are in safe hands or the dog has been removed from the scene.

Politely ask for the witnesses’ contact information, in case you need it in the future. If you don’t have witnesses, you may need significant amounts of other evidence to support your claims later.

2. Not Contacting Police

The owner of the dog that just attacked you may be hoping you’ll accept their apology and move on. It may be tempting not to file a police report, as it can take time and be a hassle to both parties.

However, failing to contact the police can cause problems later. If your dog bite lawsuit goes to court, you may find that the plaintiff or insurance company’s lawyer uses that missing report to cast doubt on your case. They could try to claim that the incident never occurred, or that it must have been someone else’s dog that inflicted the bite.

3. Not Seeking Immediate Medical Attention

Like police reports, medical care can take time and seem like more hassle than it’s worth for a minor bite. However, not getting medical attention can give your opposition evidence that your injury wasn’t that bad.

Dog saliva can also contain surprising amounts of bacteria. Since a dog’s teeth can push this bacterium deep beneath the surface of your skin, you shouldn’t try to treat a dog bite on your own at home. Severe dog bites can also fracture bones, which can sometimes be brushed off as a severe bruise.

4. Not Documenting Injuries

Taking photos of the dog bite site is only the first step. Since photos don’t always show the initial severity of a bite, take later photos of bruising, swelling, and any bandages that end up being necessary. Keep copies of medical records and receipts, as well, including from follow-up visits.

Also, keep a journal of when you take pain medication and deal with other physical symptoms. That journal can be used as evidence in court. Log the date, time, and exact location of pain. While it may seem excessively detailed, sometimes the plaintiff or insurance company lawyers can find fault with missing details.

5. Not Tracking the Aftermath

If you miss work due to the dog bite, you can theoretically get those lost wages back during the lawsuit. However, you’ll need good records of when you missed work and how much you lost because of it. You may also need a letter from your employer stating the exact times you missed.

Also, log any night terrors or other trauma symptoms you experience. Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms are common in victims of vicious dog attacks.

Next Steps

If you’ve already been the victim of a dog bite, the clock on the statute of limitations is ticking. Typically, personal injury cases in Michigan have a statute of limitations of three years.

Even if you’ve already made some of the above mistakes, your case may still be winnable. The top personal injury lawyers at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. can help assess your case. Our medical lawyers have a deep understanding of the severity and complexity of personal injury cases and can get you the settlement you deserve. Call our law firm at 1-866-642-4529 for a no obligation case evaluation. We never charge a fee unless we win your case.

Hannah Johnson has her Bachelor of Arts in Public Affairs with a specialization in civic engagement. Her career has focused on labor-related research, including unions, workers’ compensation, and contract law. She is now broadening her career to include research and policy analysis in East Asia, specifically in countries like South Korea and Japan where the aging population is creating a new frontier in economic trends and public policy innovation.

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