Dogs are indeed man’s best friend. However, there are times when our canine buddies attack or bite someone causing injuries that need medical attention. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said over 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs annually and insurance companies are the ones usually affected.
Gather evidence at the dog bite accident scene
According to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), claims related to dog bites cost the insurance industry around $317 million in 2005 and $356.2 million in 2007. Everyone makes mistakes, but mistakes can hurt your accident case. That's why it's crucial to be aware of how insurance professionals might skip or forget to gather important pieces of evidence. This could affect the results of your case. Here are few of them:
- While you may have witnessed how aggressive the defendant’s dog was while attacking the victim, your statements may not be enough evidence to prove the dog is indeed dangerous. Video presentations can significantly help solve this issue.
- Professional evaluations must be conducted as soon as possible! If the dog dies, is given away or lost, your opportunity to evaluate the animal is gone.
- Choosing not to evaluate the dog, especially when it is still alive, easily backfires. Retaining an expert may weaken the defendant’s testimony. If evaluation from the defendant’s side is not conducted, then the testimony from the plaintiff’s expert may have more weight.
Look into the scene
It is might be necessary to have an expert inspect the defendant’s home if the dog spends time indoors. Looking at doors, walls and even in areas where the dog goes to the bathroom can lead to clues on how the animal is being treated by its owners. This also can give the expert an idea of how the dog responds to them. Experts will be able to see how the owner and the dog relate to one another. They will also know how this impacts the dog’s behavior from evidences such as leashes, collars and toys.
Prepare discovery documents
Secure and safely store any veterinarian records, paramedic records, police reports, animal control records, names of any trainers and names of independent witnesses that are familiar with the dog. Other related documents that may be helpful include: American Kennel Club (AKC) registration certificates, breeding documents if the dog was imported as a puppy and diplomas from any training schools. All of these documents may help your case. If you choose to wait or don't get these documents, then you may be putting your case at risk.
As a Kentucky Accident Attorney, I would like to remind owners to monitor their pets. Our pets are part of our family. We don't want them to be put in stressful situation that may cause them to bite or attack someone.