Dog Bites: Man’s Best Friend, Runner’s Worst Enemy?

August 10, 2023 | By Impact Legal Car Accident Attorneys
Dog Bites: Man’s Best Friend, Runner’s Worst Enemy?

Dogs who like to bark and chase are typically just a small annoyance for runners. However, if a dog feels threatened or is vicious by nature, this small runner annoyance can turn into a serious situation. CDC data shows dog bites send nearly 800,000 people to the doctor every year – in fact, dog bite injuries can rack up quite a lot of medical bills and other damages, including the emotional trauma that sometimes comes with being attacked by a dog. In this blog, we'll discuss what you should do directly following a dog bite attack, potential legal remedies, and how to prevent dog bites/attacks while out for a run. 

If you've been bitten or attacked by a dog, call or text our New Mexico/Arizona dog bite lawyers today. We provide free initial consultations where we will review your case. This can be scheduled online or in person. Schedule your consultation by calling/texting us at 602-345-1818 or filling out our convenient, secure online form

What to Do If You Are Bitten By a Dog

Follow this checklist as soon as possible after you have been hurt in a dog bite attack:

  1. Obtain the necessary information - You may not feel like you need to take any legal action in the moment, however, severe injury may not be present until later. You may hurt your ankle or back trying to get away from the dog or get an infection from the bite. Thus, it's important to get the contact information and names of the dog's owner.
  2. Get Any Available Witness Information - In case of any future disagreements between you and the dog's owner, having witness statements can help back up your side of the story.
  3. Take photos - Take any important pictures. This may include images of your visible injuries, any images of the surrounding area that may support your claim (a hole in the fence, a ledge that you fell over while trying to get away from the dog, etc), and any images of the dog that bit you, if you can.
  4. Get Examined By a Medical Professional - If your injury is serious enough, see a doctor. Err on the side of caution when deciding if you should see a doctor. Keep any relevant medical documentation and bills for your records. 
  5. Report the Incident to Animal Control - You may need to do this in the case that you don't know who the owner is or if the dog isn't wearing identification tags. Additionally, sometimes after biting someone, a dog is required to stay in quarantine to ensure it is not infected with rabies. Additionally, check with animal control to see if the dog has bitten someone prior to biting you. This can be used as evidence if you decide to file a dog bite claim down the road.
  6. Consult a Dog Bite Lawyer - Legal remedies may be available to help you heal and recover after a dog attack. Set up a free consultation with Impact Legal to learn more. 

Potential Dog Bite Injury Settlement 

Just like other personal injury claims, a dog bite claim is intended to help you recover from your injury to become “whole” again. Your potential injury settlement will depend on the specifics of your case, but, generally, the compensation available in a dog bite claim includes both economic and non-economic damages. This means that you may request legal compensation for any medical expenses associated with the dog bite injury, as well as any emotional damages that may have resulted. Some examples of economic and non-economic damages include:

Financial Damages:

  • Current and future medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Rehabilitation expenses
  • Medication costs

Non-Financial Damages:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of companionship
  • Severe physical pain
  • Loss of consortium

Every case is unique, so be sure to speak with an experienced dog bite lawyer to know what your legal options and potential settlement may include. To learn more about your potential injury settlement amount, use our online accident settlement calculator.  

Preventing Dog Bites/Attacks While Running

Being attacked or bitten by a dog while you are on a run is scary. The best scenario is to avoid it altogether. Some tips on avoiding dog bite attacks while running and exercising outdoors, include:

  • Practice Good Running Etiquette - Politely pass by people walking their dogs. Make sure to give ample warning if the person doesn't realize you're coming up behind them, and never pass closely by the dog. A fast-moving person may be taken as a threat to some dogs causing them to bite you as a means of self-defense. If you can, try to move out of the dog's area, like off the sidewalk if it's safe to do so.
  • Don't Make Eye Contact with the Dog - Direct eye contact with an aggressive dog may trigger an attack. 
  • If a Dog Chases You, Stop Running - Typically, a dog is chasing you for the playful thrill alone. If you stop running, the dog is likely to stop, too. 
  • Pay Attention to Your Surroundings - If you see a dog up ahead, don't startle or surprise it. Saying something so the dog can hear you before you run into its space could help you avoid an unintended confrontation. 
  • Stay Calm, and Be in Charge - If you're confronted by a scary, barking dog, as difficult as it may be, stay calm. Getting worked up and showing your anxiety is going to make the dog feel more threatened. Using a stern, calm voice may help deter the dog. Additionally, try to back away slowly. 
  • If You're Attacked - Many running experts/animal behaviorists advise that, if you're attacked by a dog, you should try to get something, other than a body part, into the dog's mouth (a water bottle or extra clothing). Additionally, curling up in a ball may deter the dog; most dogs lose interest if you don't engage.   

Consulting a Dog Bite Lawyer in Arizona/New Mexico

If you've been hurt by a dog while running or exercising outside, know that there may be legal options available to you to help you recover financial losses and other damages. For a free case review, call or text our trusted dog bite lawyers at 602-345-1818. Additionally, you may fill out this online form, and we will reach out to you to schedule your free online or in-person case review.