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What do I do after an animal bites me in Rhode Island?

Animals are so beautiful to look at as they run around and play, but some can be harmful to people. Even the friendliest dogs, cats and other animals can bite if provoked or scared. Animal bites are scary to experience and you should know how to handle the situation if an animal bites you in Newport, Rhode Island.

The first thing you need to do if bitten by an animal is seek medical help. Even if you think the wound is not too deep or not serious enough, you never know if the animal has rabies or not. A thorough medical examination can mean the difference between a patch job and developing an infection that could lead to more serious complications down the road.

After medical evaluation you should consult with a personal injury attorney to find out if you have a case. The attorney will be able to look at the records of the animal and your medical documents from the examination and make a determination. If the attorney says you have a case you will be able to make an attempt at recovering damages. Some of the damages you can recover include the following:

- Lost wages, both present and future

- Medical expenses

- Property damage

- Pain and suffering

There are certain instances where you can collect punitive damages for the animal bite. This happens when the owner of the animal is found to have been intentional or reckless. The defendant's behavior had to have been more than just negligent. For example, the owner of a dog instructed the dog to attack you. Or, the owner of a dog knowingly let it roam free when the dog has been known to be aggressive towards other animals or people.

There can be more than just the owners of an animal who can be held responsible for an animal bite. For example, the parents of a minor can be held responsible. Landlords, animal keepers (such as kennel owners) and property owners all can be held responsible for an animal bite.

Source: Findlaw, "Dog Bites and Animal Attack Overview," accessed March 07, 2017

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