In this podcast, John Maher talks with Rob Mazow and Robert Hartigan of the law firm, Mazow McCullough about dog bites while traveling. They explain what to do if a dog bites you in another state or another country. They cover the importance of getting medical help and contacting an attorney as soon as possible.
John Maher: Hey, I’m John Maher and I’m here today with Rob and Robert of the law firm, Mazow McCullough, a personal injury law firm with offices in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Today, we’re going to be talking about what to do if you’re bitten by a dog when traveling. Rob and Robert, welcome.
Rob Mazow: Thanks John.
Robert Hartigan: Hey John, how are you?
Which Laws Apply When Dogs Bite Travelers?
Rob: Good. So Robert, if you’re traveling maybe out of state and you’re bitten by a dog, do the laws of that state apply to the dog bite case? Or how does that work?
Robert: Yeah, so whatever state that the incident happens in, that’s the state whose law’s going to apply to the incident. What I would suggest is if that happens and you’re bit by a dog while traveling in another state, that you call the police. You want to make sure everything is documented. And if the owner is there, try to get as much information from them as possible. Address, phone numbers, things like that.
Rob: And I don’t think it would hurt either depending on the severity of the bite to contact a local attorney, or certainly you can contact us, and we can look into the local laws and regulations that might be in place. I suspect that many states handle cases like this the same. Many states might handle cases like this differently, but there may be certain notice requirements that are necessary in a state that you would need to notify a particular board of selectmen, or you need to notify the homeowner. You need to do some sort of… Jump through some hoop. And you want to make sure that you’re going to jump through the correct hoop before you might miss something.
John: Right. So whether it’s the victim contacting, like you said, an attorney in that state or contacting you, and then having you get in touch with an attorney in that state, you want to find out what those laws are in that state and what the regulations are, what you need to do.
Statute of Limitations in Dog Bite Cases
Rob: Exactly. I can give an example. Let’s say if the statute of limitations… Massachusetts, you have three years to file a claim, file a lawsuit if you got bitten by a dog. Another state, it could be six months. It could be a year. It could be two years. I would hate to have somebody make some assumptions. Get bit by a dog, come home, wait a couple of years, contact an attorney and then find out that they’ve missed something. So you want to make sure that you will have the correct laws so that you don’t fall into a trap if you’re not aware of it.
Robert: Especially when you’re dealing with really serious injuries where you have a long recovery and really you’re focusing on your medical treatment. You should still contact a lawyer.
What If a Dog Bites You in Another Country
John: And what if you’re bitten by a dog when traveling to another country? Does that complicate things?
Robert: I would think it does. And we know what happens. We know when we travel to different countries, that you’re much more likely to run into a stray dog. There may be less stringent requirements on having dogs have rabies shots and have other immunizations such shots. So certainly as always, as we tell everybody, if you get bit by a dog, get yourself medical care, but also try to find out what the story is with that dog.
Does that dog have an owner? Does that owner have any paper to show that the rabies shots are up to date? Because if not, you’re sitting in another country, in another hospital getting a rabies shot out there. So not a situation that you want to be in, but again, just like we tell everybody, medical attention and information about the incident. Information about the dog, so that you at least are armed with important knowledge that you can then use to protect yourself.
Info to Collect After a Dog Bite
John: Is there anything else in general that people should make sure that they do besides getting, like you said, medical attention and information about the dog and the dog owner? Is that the most important thing or are there other things?
Robert: Yeah. If we’re talking about in another country or talking about in general. In another country, it’s going to be a difficult situation. You’re going to have to do your best to get the proper information. If we’re talking about in another state or in your local state, yeah. It’s medical attention. It’s information about the dog. It’s information about the dog owner or the dog keeper.
By dog keeper, I’m talking about the person that was in charge of the dog at the time of the incident. You want to get photographs of perhaps the area where the incident happened, but also photographs of any scarring that might take place. You want to make sure that you have well-documented medical records, medical treatment. We want to find out who the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance might be, because that ultimately may be where we are able to make a claim for monetary pain and suffering.
Contact Us If You’ve Been Bitten by a Dog
John: All right, well that’s really great information, Rob and Robert. Thanks very much for speaking with me today.
Rob: Thanks John.
Robert: Thank you.
John: And for more information, you can visit the firm’s website at helpinginjured.com or call (855) 693-9084.