If a dog bit you, and you sustained injuries as a result of that accident, you may be able to file a personal injury claim and recoup money for your medical expenses and pain and suffering. However, before you can file a claim, you have to know who the dog belongs to. Unfortunately, if a dog randomly bites you as you are walking down the street, tracking down the owner can be hard. Here are a few tips on finding the owner of a dog that bit you.
If you are bit by a dog that you don't recognize, walk around the neighborhood and ask neighbors if the dog sounds familiar and if they know who owns the dog. Many dog owners are set in a routine of walking their dogs at specific times of the day, so if they are walking their dog when you are at work or having dinner, you may be unfamiliar with the dog, while another neighbor with a different schedule may see the dog and owner daily. In addition to asking around, let your neighbors know what happened. This way, if the dog is seen around the neighborhood again, they can call animal control and/or be on alert to keep themselves and their children safe.
Call Animal Control and Have the Dog Checked for a Microchip
If you are bit by a dog you do not recognize, you will want to call your non-emergency police hot line or animal control. They can patrol the neighborhood looking for the offending dog before it can bite anyone else. There are a few reasons that you want this done. First, you don't want anyone else to become injured. Secondly, when possible, you want the dog quarantined to ensure it doesn't have rabies. And lastly, you want the dog checked for a license or a microchip. Many pets these days are implanted with a microchip. If the pet is lost, the microchip can be scanned and it comes up with the dog's name and the owner's information. Having the owner's name and phone number can help prove who the dog belongs to, helping you to proceed with a personal injury case.
Put Up Found Flyers
The last way that you can attempt to identify a dog that bit you is to put up flyers throughout the neighborhood where the dog bit you. Some people place found flyers while others place flyers stating they are looking for information on the owners of the dog. If you place the flyers, do not put that you were bit by the dog. The owner, or friends that know the owner, may be less likely to come forward with information on the dog if they think they may face legal issues. However, if they think the dog is simply lost, they may be more willing to tell you who the owner is, or come forward themselves, in hopes of finding the dog. It may be a little tricky, but this is a method many personal injury attorneys recommend.
As long as you didn't provoke the dog, or trespass on someone else's property, you will be able to file a personal injury case if you were bit by a dog. However, the case must be filed against the dog's owners. Tracking down the owners can be challenging, but asking neighbors in the area you were bit, having the dog checked for a microchip and putting up found flyers, can all help you. A personal injury attorney may also be able to contact local pounds and animal shelters to find out if any dogs matching the description came in, if they were claimed and by who. Unfortunately, if the owner can't be found, you may not be able to file a claim.