A bite from a dog in Illinois can be very frightening, especially if, as is sometimes the case, the dog is already known to you because it belongs to a family member or friend. We at the Law Office of Kerley & Associates understand that it may be very difficult to think straight and take action following the shock of a dog bite. However, there are important steps to take after such an attack in order to protect your health and defend your legal rights.
Dog bites can have long-term negative health effects, both physically and psychologically. However, the most important concern in the immediate aftermath of an animal attack is to receive proper medical treatment. A severe bite may require reconstructive or cosmetic surgery to correct and minimize disfigurement, while complications such as infection or disease may result from even a minor bite. The trauma of the attack may lead to stress disorder symptoms requiring counseling to overcome.
After receiving medical attention, your next step should be to report the attack to Animal Control. This is important to identify aggressive tendencies in animals and to establish liability by determining the dog's owner, but those are not the only reasons. The Immunization Action Coalition recommends a series of rabies shots for anyone potentially exposed to the disease through an animal attack. However, if the dog is up to date on its rabies vaccination, the bite victim usually does not require any shots. Therefore, reporting the incident to Animal Control will allow you to learn the dog's vaccination history and potentially prevent you from having to receive unnecessary inoculations.
Even if the attack did not occur at the pet owner's residence, his or her homeowners or renters insurance typically coverages damages related to a dog bite, which means that filing an insurance claim for noneconomic and economic losses is another important step to take. More information regarding dog bites is available on our website.