Dealing With Insurance in Washington After Dog Attacks
If you or a loved one has been bitten and injured by a dog in Washington, then you may be able to recover compensation for your medical bills and other expenses through an insurance settlement. However, dealing with insurance carriers after a dog attack can be incredibly challenging and frustrating. It is important to understand the steps necessary to recover the compensation you need to make as full of a recovery as possible.
1. Seek Medical Care
It is crucial for any dog bite injury victim to seek medical care immediately. In some cases, the need for immediate medical attention is readily apparent, particularly if there is significant blood loss or obvious visible injuries. However, even if a dog bite injury wound is not bleeding profusely, you need to seek medical attention. A single dog bite can introduce foreign bacteria into a person’s body, which can lead to major infections not only at the site of the injury but throughout the body.
By seeking medical care quickly, individuals are taking steps to ensure their well-being and to establish a link between the bite and their potential injury claim.
2. Gather Evidence
If it is safe to do so at the scene of the dog bite incident, you or someone close to you should gather as much evidence as possible. This can include using a phone camera to take photographs of the dog, the scene of the bite, and the injuries. If there were any eyewitnesses to the dog bite incident, get their names and contact information so they can give statements at a later date. Keep any clothing you were wearing at the time the dog bite incident occurred, even if the clothing is torn or bloodied.
3. Report the Dog Bite
You need to report the dog bite incident to the appropriate authorities as soon as the incident occurs or very soon afterward. This could include calling 911 to report the incident to law enforcement authorities or calling the local animal control phone number. These agencies have systems in place to investigate a dog bite incident, complete an accident report, and deal with any potential dangerous dogs according to law.
4. Speak to an Attorney
We encourage you to reach out to a dog bite injury lawyer in Washington as quickly as you can. A lawyer will understand all of the laws regarding dog bite incidents and be able to gather additional evidence that can be used for your insurance claim or in a personal injury lawsuit.
5. Contact the Insurance Carrier
Either you or your attorney will need to reach out to the dog owner’s insurance carrier to let them know what happened. The vast majority of dog bite incidents are resolved through homeowners’ insurance carriers, but the claim can also be made to a renter’s insurance carrier if the renter has insurance at all. If you personally speak to the insurance carrier, you do not need to go into much detail. They only need to know that the injury occurred and that you are seeking medical care. Let them know that further documentation will be forthcoming.
6. Maintain a Journal
We encourage you to maintain a dated journal or diary that details the incident as well as your recovery process. This includes how you feel, both physically and psychologically, on a day-to-day basis after the injury occurs until you have reached full recovery.
7. Continue Medical Treatment
You must continue all medical treatment recommended by your doctor until you have fully recovered from the dog bite. If you choose to discontinue care for any reason, this could be used as a sign by the insurance carriers that you have not sustained as severe an injury as you claim.