We don’t like to think of our furry friends being capable of hurting anyone, but accidents do happen. Even the friendliest of dogs can unexpectedly lash out. Just ask the Obamas, who recently found themselves in a messy situation when their dog Sunny bit a guest at the White House. What do you do in this often highly dramatic situation?
Understand Your Liability
As the owner, you are liable for any injuries your dog causes to anyone else. This responsibility extends to anyone who takes care of your dog – meaning your dog sitter could face repercussions should the dog lash out against someone else on their watch. This is why it’s important to take preventative measures, particularly taking your dog through obedience courses, but even the seemingly most well trained dog can have a surprising moment.
Contact Your Homeowner’s Insurance
In most cases, your homeowner’s insurance will cover the damages. You’ll want to contact your agent right away after the incident and get the process moving quickly to avoid making a stressful situation even worse down the road. If you are the one who is bitten, you’ll want to ask the dog’s owner for their homeowner’s insurance and for a copy of their driver’s license. You will also need to confirm if the dog was provoked in any way. In the Obama’s case, the guest simply went to pet the dog and Sunny lashed out. This keeps responsibility on the owner.
After The Bite
Even if the dog has had all of their shots, it’s important to have the victim looked at by a doctor and possibly get a tetanus shot. The victim should take photos of the healing process to document any scarring or other issues that may appear in the aftermath. In some extreme cases, plastic surgery may be warranted.
As the owner of the dog, you’ll have to do some “soul searching” for what to do next. If the dog has displayed violent tendencies in the past, you may have to consider the unthinkable of putting the dog down. If your dog were to bite again, you could face criminal charges. Or sometimes a change of environment can make all the difference. With the Obamas moving out of the White House, there’s reason to believe Sunny will be in a much less stressful environment and may not be a threat.
Personal injury cases like these can be dramatic and stressful. Let Elsner Law Firm help you through it should charges become an issue. Our team is equipped to protect your legal rights as you recover from your incident, whether it be a dog bite or a car accident.