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Here's What You Should Do if Your Dog Bites and Injures Someone

Dogs have the sixth sense and they can act defensive and aggressive if they are suspicious about someone in their surroundings and can also injure them. As a dog owner, you will have to take the responsibility for your pet's actions. Let's have a look at what all you'll need to do, to save further trouble after your dog has bit or injured someone.
Foram Mehta
Last Updated: Jun 3, 2018
It is a nightmare come true, when you know your dog has bit or injured someone, badly. Your dog is your favorite pal and you could have spoiled him. So, after he has bit some stranger randomly, you can be clueless as to what you should do to save further loss.
Given below are a few things you'd need to do and take care of; when your dog has bit someone.
Things to Do When Your Dog Has Injured Someone
Talk to the Victim
If you are around when your dog has injured someone, the first thing you must do is try controlling your dog and pull him off the victim. Talk to the victim, asking him about his injuries.
Provide Medical Help
Check how badly is the victim injured and help him with immediate medical attention as well as dog bite treatment.
Find Out What Really Happened
Once you have taken him to the hospital and treatment is done, ask him what really happened. Also find out about the whole incident from a witnesses.
Pay for the Expenses
If you are convinced that the victim was innocently attacked by your dog, then offer to directly pay for the medical expenses that the victim has incurred. However you don't have to end up paying, if you think that your dog was not at fault and was just defending himself against an intruder.
Learn About the Concerning Laws
You may NOT have to pay for the medical expenses if...
  • The victim himself provoked the dog
  • The victim was aware that dog can bite him, but he still took the risk of approaching him or being around him.
  • The victim was trespassing.
  • The victim was careless, and in bargain got bitten up.
  • The victim was breaking some law.
However, the above laws cannot be applied at all times, let's see when.
  • Not all the above mentioned defenses can be used by the dog owner in all the states. As the laws vary from state to state.
  • If the victim proves that he was not at fault.
  • The laws may not be applicable depending on what the dog owner is being sued for.
Criminal and Civil Law
In a few states, you have the civil and the criminal laws applicable. The civil law would mean that, if your dog bites someone, you will have to pay for it. Whereas, the criminal law states that if your dog bites someone then you may be prosecuted under the criminal statue, by paying a huge fine or even going to the jail.
The First Bite is 'FREE'
The rule of first bite states that, if your dog has bitten someone for the first time, the dog owner will not be held liable for it, as he still does not know in which situations would his dog end up biting someone. So, the first bite is granted as 'free'. However, this law had been called off in California. So, in California If your dog bites someone for the first time, you will be held responsible for it.
Take Responsibility/ Consult Your Attorney
Whatever the law states, take responsibility for your dog's action. By taking responsibility I mean that you should handle the situation as if your dog was your child. Pay for it, apologize and do whatever you can to reduce his pain. And avoid being defensive, unless you think that the victim is raising a irrelevant claim on you.
If you are sure that your dog was provoked and the victim was at fault consult your attorney and discuss the case with him and see how strong your case is.
Talk to Your Insurance Company
A few insurance company's policies do provide a cover for dog bites. Check with your insurer and inform him about the incident.
Talk to Your Vet
There could be a need to show your dog to a Vet if your dog is injured or infected, or even if you think that his behavior was unusual, and figure out the problem.
Tame Your Dog
You will have spend sometime teaching your dog how he should behave and act in public. If your dog was at fault, you may have to punish him in way that he realizes that you are upset with him and that he has done something wrong.
"Prevention is Always Better Than Cure". Try to know your dog better. If that was the first time he bit someone, understand how he'd react to different things and in different situations. If you think your dog is not socially safe, then you will have to avoid taking him out in the public. Be careful when you take your dog put to a new place or a place where some rituals or celebrations are going on. As the dog may misunderstand the event as chaotic. Also, never leave your dog alone with children and old people. You never know what the kids end up doing and if the old people will be able to handle them. Be careful while handling your pet, you sure don't want your dog and yourself or even others in trouble.