What to Do When a Dog Attacks Your Child
Nothing is scarier than finding out your child has been attacked by a dog. Studies show that an estimated 885,000 dog bite injuries require medical assistance each year and that around half of these injuries occur to children. There are various steps that you, as a parent or guardian, need to take immediately to ensure that your child is safe and that they receive the care they need. There are also steps you can take in the aftermath of the emergency to help ensure that you receive the compensation your child needs to recover.
1. Ensure the Child Is Safe
The number one priority, if your child is being actively attacked by a dog, is to ensure your child’s safety. Children are much more susceptible to serious injuries due to dog bites due to them being lower to the ground and closer to the dog’s mouth. We encourage you to use whatever means possible to stop the dog, which may include picking up heavy sticks or other tools to fend the dog off and keep it away from your child.
2. Call 911 Immediately
After you get your child to a safe location away from the dog, you need to call 911 or direct someone else to do so. Let law enforcement officials come to the scene of the incident so they can locate the dog and fill out a complete accident report.
3. Ensure Medical Care
You need to make sure your child receives immediate medical care. This may include going right to the hospital in an ambulance or taking your child to the closest emergency clinic. Even if an injury looks relatively minor, you need to go to the doctor to have your child evaluated. Even seemingly minor puncture wounds can lead to severe infections. More severe injuries, such as broken bones or lacerations, need to be treated promptly.
4. Gather Evidence
We encourage you to gather as much evidence as possible when you can. This may include using a phone or another type of camera at the scene of the incident to take photographs of the location, the injuries, and the dog, if possible. Keep any torn or bloodied clothing, as this may be important evidence needed by law enforcement officials or the insurance carrier.
If there were any eyewitnesses to the dog attack, get their names and contact information. These individuals can provide valuable information to law enforcement authorities or insurance carriers to help you recover compensation for your child’s injuries.
5. Call an Attorney
You should reach out to an attorney who has experience handling dog bite injuries. A lawyer will fully examine every aspect of the claim, gather the evidence needed to prove liability, and handle all communication with other parties on your behalf. This will include communication with the dog owner’s insurance carrier.
6. Keep a Daily Log
We encourage you to keep a daily journal or log (properly dated) that details everything that has happened. This includes the day the bite occurred, any medical treatments or follow-up visits, as well as your child’s daily pain and suffering or struggles as a result of the dog bite injury. These journals will likely be admissible as evidence in a civil personal injury case against the dog owner.
7. Continue Medical Care
You need to make sure your child goes to all follow-up medical visits until after the doctor says they have reached maximum recovery. If you discontinue your child’s care before the doctor says to do so, this could hinder your ability to recover compensation from the insurance carrier.