Any concerned parent will be upset to learn that a neighborhood dog has bitten his or her child, but it's important to also stay calm as your child tells you what has happened. Your first priority should be to get your loved one medical care if it's needed, but you should then try to assess the situation before you evaluate the merits of moving forward legally. While you don't ever want to distrust your child, you also need to know that children can sometimes overstate certain situations. Here are some details that should be present before you move forward legally.
There Is A Physical Injury
A child may claim that a dog has attacked him or her, but it's also possible that the child simply got frightened by an exchange with the animal — and that no "attack" actually occurred. For example, if the child was running with a neighborhood dog at a local park, the excited animal may have jumped up and put its paws on the child's chest. Such an interaction, especially for a child who isn't overly familiar with dogs, may seem aggressive. In actuality, this may just be a sign of excitement, and certainly doesn't constitute an attack. There should be a sign of an actual injury if you're thinking about hiring a personal injury attorney.
The Story Stays Consistent
It doesn't hurt to ask your child to tell you what happened a few times. Each time that he or she retells the story, look for consistency. For example, if the child tells a completely different story each time, it may be difficult to move forward with an injury case if the child is the lone witness and isn't believable. Try to encourage the child to be calm before he or she tells the story, as being excited can easily result in him or her leaving out critical details or perhaps even embellishing certain things.
The Dog Is Identifiable
It's impossible to bring a personal injury case forward against the owner of a dog if it's not clear who the owner is. Ask your child if he or she knows who the dog belongs to or if he or she had an interaction with the owner after the incident in question. Ideally, the child will be able to describe the dog and describe the location of the incident. Even if you don't know whose dog it was, an investigator who works for a personal injury attorney can conduct surveillance in this area and seek to identify the animal and its owner, should you decide to move forward with legal action.
To learn more, reach out to personal injury lawyers like Jack W Hanemann, P.S.