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What To Do After a Dog Attack

No one ever wants to experience a dog attack. Unfortunately, it can happen even when you're taking the necessary precautions. If you or someone you know is ever the victim of a dog attack, it's important to know what to do afterward in order to ensure that everyone stays safe and healthy. Contact a dog bite lawyer from The Law Offices of John M. McCabe today.

Essential Steps to Take After a Dog Attack

dog attack

During a traumatic event, it may be difficult to think of what to do next. However, it's important to remain calm and pursue the following steps to ensure your safety.

  1. Seek Immediate Medical Attention: The first and most crucial step after a dog attack is to seek immediate medical attention. Even seemingly minor bites can lead to serious infections, and deeper wounds may require stitches. A healthcare professional can properly assess your injuries and provide the necessary medical care. Remember to keep records of all medical treatment, as these records will be essential for your case.
  2. Identify the Dog and Its Owner: If possible, try to identify the dog and its owner. Gather as much information as you can about the dog's breed, color, size, and any unique markings. If there are any witnesses, ask for their contact information. Identifying the owner is crucial as they may be held liable for their dog's actions due to any negligence.
  3. Document Your Injuries and the Scene: Take photos of your injuries, even before seeking medical attention if possible. Document the scene where the attack occurred. Photograph any evidence, such as broken leashes, fences, or signs warning about aggressive dogs. These photos can serve as valuable evidence in your case.
  4. Report the Incident: Contact your local animal control or law enforcement agency to report the dog attack. Filing an official report ensures that the incident is on record. Animal control may conduct an investigation, especially if the dog has a history of aggressive behavior.
  5. Preserve Evidence: Preserve any evidence related to the dog attack. This includes the clothing you were wearing during the attack, as well as any torn or bloody items. Additionally, keep copies of your medical records, bills, and any correspondence with the dog owner or their insurance company.
  6. Contact an Experienced Dog Bite Attorney: After taking the immediate steps to address your injuries and document the incident, it's crucial to consult with an experienced dog bite attorney, such as from The Law Offices of John M. McCabe. We can help you understand your legal rights, assess the liability in your case, and guide you through the process of seeking compensation for your injuries and damages.
  7. Do Not Discuss the Case with Insurance Companies: Avoid discussing the case with insurance companies or signing any documents without consulting your attorney. Insurance companies may attempt to minimize your claim, so it's wise to have legal representation to protect your interests.
  8. Keep a Detailed Record: Maintain a detailed record of your recovery process, including medical appointments, treatments, and their associated costs. This record will be essential when seeking compensation for your medical expenses and other damages.

At The Law Offices of John M. McCabe, we understand that the moments following a dog attack are filled with questions, uncertainty, and concerns about your physical and emotional well-being. Having legal knowledge on your side will help ease your worries and ensure that your rights are protected. If you have been injured in a dog attack, contact our office today to schedule a free consultation.

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Call us at (866) 907-1145 24/7 to arrange to speak with a personal injury lawyer about your case, or contact us through the website today.


Liability with Dog Attacks

The state of North Carolina maintains strict liability for at-large dogs or dangerous dogs, which is defined on the North Carolina General Assembly site. In other situations, owner liability is based on negligence.

Strict Liability

Strict liability for at-large or dangerous dogs means that the owner will be held liable for any damages the dog caused. Under N.C. Gen. Stat. §67-4.1, a dangerous dog is a dog that has killed or severely injured a person or is determined by an authority that they are potentially dangerous. A potentially dangerous dog is one that has inflicted a bite on a person that resulted in hospitalization, killed or severely injured another domestic animal, or approached a person when not on the owner's property in a vicious manner. Proving one of these criteria may be crucial for your dog bite case.


If the dog owner had prior knowledge of any vicious behavior, you may be able to prove negligence on the owner's behalf.

One-Bite Rule

Unless the dog is considered a dangerous dog, then the one-bite rule may apply. This means that the owner may not be held liable if this is the first time the dog has attacked and does not have a history of being vicious. Speak to a knowledgeable dog bite lawyer to know your rights and options.

Compensation for Dog Attack Injury Claims

Victims of dog attacks may be eligible for compensation for damages caused. Damages may be recovered for:

  • Medical Treatment: Compensation for current and future medical bills related to the injury, such as hospitalization, surgeries, medication, physical therapy, and any necessary medical equipment.
  • Pain and Suffering: Damages awarded for the physical and emotional pain, suffering, and distress resulting from the dog attack.
  • Disfigurement and Scarring: Compensation for any permanent scarring or disfigurement caused by the attack, which may require cosmetic or reconstructive surgery.
  • Lost Wages: Reimbursement for income you lost due to time off work during recovery and any potential future loss of earnings if the injury affects your ability to work.
  • Legal Fees: In some cases, the at-fault party may be responsible for covering your legal fees associated with the dog attack claim.

The specific compensation you can recover will depend on the circumstances of the dog attack, the severity of your injuries, and the applicable laws in your jurisdiction. Victims have 3 years to file a claim. It's essential to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can assess your case and help you seek the compensation you deserve.

Recognize the Signs of a Dog Attack

Dog attacks can happen suddenly and without warning. Knowing the early warning signs can help you take preventive measures and avoid a potential attack. Here are some common signs that may indicate a dog is feeling agitated or aggressive:

Growling and Snarling

Growling and snarling are clear signals that a dog is unhappy or agitated. Take these vocalizations seriously and keep your distance.

Excessive Barking

Dogs often bark to communicate, but persistent, aggressive barking can be a sign of agitation or territorial behavior. If a dog's barking becomes intense and defensive, exercise caution.

Stiff Body Language

An agitated dog may exhibit stiff and rigid body language. This includes a tense posture, raised tail, and forward-leaning stance.

Aggressive Stance

Dogs will sometimes display aggressive posturing, such as raising themselves onto their tiptoes, to appear larger and more intimidating.

Protecting Possessions

Dogs can be protective of their possessions, whether it's toys, food, or their sleeping area. Trying to take something from a dog that is guarding it can lead to an attack.

History of Aggression

If you are aware that a dog has a history of aggression, either due to past incidents or reports from the owner, exercise extreme caution when approaching or interacting with the dog.

Remember that any dog, regardless of its breed or temperament, can exhibit these signs when feeling threatened or provoked. If you encounter a dog displaying one or more of these signs, the best course of action is to back away slowly and avoid making sudden movements or loud noises.

Seek Legal Action Today

If you or someone you know is a victim of a dog attack, know you have options. Contact The Law Offices of John M. McCabe for a free consultation and explore your options today.

FREE Consultations

Call us at (866) 907-1145 24/7 to arrange to speak with a personal injury lawyer about your case, or contact us through the website today.



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