If you have been wary of a neighborhood dog, you might have good reason. Careless dog owners often allow their pets to roam free, and big dogs, especially, can raise alarm bells in your mind as well as the hackles of other dogs. Be aware that there are dangerous dog laws in the state of Louisiana. If you have been the victim of an unprovoked canine attack, there are six steps you should immediately take following the incident.
1. Make identifications
Identify the dog that bit you, and find out the name and address of the owner, or the person who was taking care of the animal when you were attacked. You should also get the contact information of any witnesses. If you cannot identify the dog owner, you may have to be vaccinated for rabies, a process involving an expensive series of painful shots.
2. Get medical help
If the injury you suffered was severe, you should contact an emergency medical team by dialing 911. Otherwise, go to the emergency room or have someone drive you there. Do not put this off because your risk of infection is high after a dog bite.
3. File a report
The dog bite incident should be reported to local authorities. In addition to becoming a legally documented case, your report may be a great help if someone else is ever bitten by the same dog. Officials who work on a subsequent case need records in order to enforce the law effectively.
4. Collect additional information
Obtain whatever information you can get about the dog that bit you. Start by obtaining dog licensing information. You may find that the animal has a previous history of attacking other people or perhaps other dogs. Also look to see if the dog has been designated either dangerous or potentially dangerous by the authorities.
5. Start a journal with photos
Start a journal by describing the attack and including photographs of your injury and the torn or bloody clothing you were wearing at the time of the incident. Add comments as time passes to describe how your injury is progressing, and include accompanying pictures.
6. Contact a lawyer
After sustaining a dog bite, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. Among other salient points, Louisiana law states that a dog becomes dangerous if it engages in a behavior that requires a person to take defensive action to prevent bodily injury. The statute goes on to say that it is unlawful for anyone to own a dangerous dog without restraining or confining the animal properly. Obtaining legal help is an important step for you to take. An attorney experienced with dog bite cases will have your best interests in mind and provide the kind of representation you need.