Bit by a Dog in Peoria, Illinois? Three Steps to Take Right Away

Peoria is a charming little city in Illinois with a low crime rate and bustling commerce; however, this doesn’t mean that life is always bucolic here. As dogs are one of the most popular pets in the United States, it stands to reason that some of these wonderful animals won’t be quite so nice – and they may bite without provocation, causing life-threatening and disabling injuries.

If you’ve been bitten by a dog, or are simply worried about the possibility of a local pet turning on you, these are the three most important facts you must consider.

Get to a safe place and call the police

Dogs can turn on humans for many reasons: one of the most important factors is that they felt you were a threat for some reason. This might be because you stepped onto someone’s property, the dog was loose and you approached it, or you came too near the animal while it was on a walk with its owner. Regardless of why the dog attacked you, you need to get away from it as soon as you’re able to, preferably somewhere that it cannot reach you again.

Don’t run, as this will initiate the animal’s prey drive, but back away from it while shouting and making yourself as large as possible. When you feel you’re safe from the animal, immediately phone the police and explain the location of your accident, as well as the size and color of the animal. They will likely contact animal control, which will either tranquilize or euthanize the dog, depending on what they feel the situation is.

Go to the hospital right away

Even if you think the attack wasn’t that bad, you need to go to the hospital to receive an examination. As dog’s mouths have many bacteria, you may get an infection from a puncture wound, so you will likely receive precautionary antibiotics. You will also get a rabies shot to ensure that you do not get infected with this deadly disease.

Depending on the severity of the injury, you may need a variety of interventions, such as reconstructive surgery or stitches. Be sure to ask for records of all these treatments, as you will need to provide them to your insurance company – and a qualified Peoria personal injury lawyer, which should be the next call on your list.

Contact a lawyer as soon as you’re able to

In the aftermath of a dog bite, you’re shaken up and dazed, and this is the time when insurance companies and third parties will come calling, trying to ensure that you don’t sue. You’re vulnerable, and you may give away information that will severely diminish your chances of receiving a fair settlement from the dog owner’s insurance company. This is why it’s essential that you call a personal injury lawyer and receive a consultation to determine a way forward.

Insurance companies want to pay as little as possible of your claim, and they will attempt to haggle you down from reasonable compensation; you might be willing to settle for their lowest offer, unaware of what kinds of costs you may incur in the future that won’t be covered by that sum.

In contrast, personal injury law firms have decades of experience in negotiating with insurance agencies, and they can pursue a lawsuit on your behalf if the insurance company refuses to settle out of court. They will be able to use medical documentation and other evidence to convince a judge that the other party was negligent, and therefore should pay for your injuries. Most importantly for you, they will handle all these matters on your behalf so that you can focus on healing from your serious wounds and getting back to your normal life.

You need to get started on this process as soon as possible, as the Illinois statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits is only two years. This might seem like ample time to get a lawsuit started, but consider the fact that the negotiation process for a settlement can take months, and that you need to file a lawsuit only if this process fails.

If you wait, you may not be able to take anything but the insurance company’s lowest offer, which is far less than you deserve.

Final thoughts

Dog bites are disorienting and terrifying: no one wants to believe that man’s best friend would turn on you. However, it’s important to know what to do should you ever find yourself in this situation: get to a safe place and call the police; go to the hospital to receive treatment; and call a lawyer to represent you in the negotiation process with any third parties. Realizing that you have recourse in such a scary situation will give you peace of mind and help you respond appropriately should you ever encounter a vicious dog in the city of Peoria, Illinois.

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