Unfortunately, children are often the victims of dog attacks and are much more likely to suffer serious injuries or death due to their smaller size and height. If your child was bitten by a dog, they may be entitled to compensation from the dog owner under Virginia’s dog bite laws. Here are five steps you should take to protect your child’s health and legal rights.
Step #1: Get Medical Help
Your first step should be to obtain immediate medical care. If the injuries are serious, call 911 for an ambulance.
Administer first aid to clean the wound and stop the bleeding while you are waiting for medical assistance. Apply pressure with a clean towel and elevate the wound to slow the bleeding. You should clean the dog bite area if possible.
If the bite was not serious enough to require an ambulance, you should take your child to the emergency room or schedule an appointment with their doctor. Even if the injury appears minor, they should be examined by a physician and treated for a possible infection.
Step #2: Obtain Contact Information
You should collect the contact information for the dog owner, their insurance company, and any witnesses to the dog attack. If you do not get this information for witnesses right away, you could lose important information that can help you prove the owner’s liability to compensate your child.
#3: Preserve Evidence
Use your cell phone camera to take pictures of the scene of the dog bite, the dog, and your child’s injuries. You should also save your child’s clothes in the condition they were in at the time of the attack. Pictures and bloodied clothing can be powerful evidence to show the jury if your case goes to trial.
#4: Call Animal Control
You need to contact your local animal control to report the dog attack. They may quarantine the dog or take actions to prevent the dog from biting others. In addition, they can provide you with information about other times the dog bit someone, which can help you prove that the dog owner knew or should have known that their dog was dangerous or aggressive.
#5: Retain a Lawyer
You need to hire an experienced premises liability attorney as soon as possible after your child is attacked. They can file your child’s claim and fight with the insurance company, so they receive all the compensation they deserve for their injuries. They can also obtain court approval of the settlement if this is necessary.
Our skilled legal team is here to help if your child suffered a dog bite or other injuries in a dog attack in Virginia Beach or Norfolk. To discuss your child’s options, call our Norfolk office to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.