Depending on the size and health of a dog, a bite can be life-altering. Find out right here what happens if a dog bites you and what to do.
Dogs bite around 4.7 million people every year. Meanwhile, only 800,000 of these bites need medical attention. If you sustain a minor dog bite, you need to take action right away.
Otherwise, that minor bite might develop into a major infection.
What happens if a dog bites you? There are a few essential steps you need to take. With this guide, you can take the proper course of action for your health and overall wellbeing.
In fact, taking the right steps could ensure you receive compensation for your injury, too. Keep reading to discover what to do after sustaining a dog bite.
1. Request Medical Care
The first thing to do after sustaining a dog bite injury is to treat the wound as best as possible. Treating the wound before seeing a doctor can help you avoid the risk of infection.
First, take the time to wash the wound. Make sure to use a mild, preferably unscented soap. Run the wound under warm tap water for five to 10 minutes.
If the wound is bleeding, slowly dab at the wound with a clean cloth. Apply an over-the-counter antibiotic cream over the wound before wrapping it with a sterile bandage.
Make sure to see a doctor as soon as possible. Don’t remove the bandage until your doctor can inspect the wound.
Your doctor will provide further instructions on how to treat the wound. They might also prescribe antibiotics to fend off infection.
Change your wound several times a day to keep it clean.
In the meantime, keep an eye out for any signs of infection. If the wound is infected, you’ll likely experience swelling, redness, a fever, and pain. Contact your doctor as soon as possible if you believe you’re infected.
Otherwise, make sure to tell your doctor when you last received a tetanus shot. Keep your shots up-to-date to reduce your risk of infection. Tetanus immunizations are good for 10 years.
For serious wounds, you might also require stitches. Otherwise, leaving the wound open could leave a scar.
2. Gather Information
What happens if a dog bites you and you know nothing about the dog or their owner? In that case, you might have a difficult time pursuing legal action.
During your appointment, your doctor will likely ask questions about the dog that bit you. Let them know what happened. You’ll want to describe the dog, too.
Think of a dog bite incident like a car accident. After an incident, you’ll need to gather as much information as possible. After your bite, you’ll want to prioritize your health.
However, you’ll want to gather the dog owner’s information, too. Make sure you have all their contact information after the incident. If you need to contact them afterward to verify the dog’s vaccination history for your dog, you’ll need the owner’s name and phone number.
Where did the incident occur? If you can, take photos of the dog before leaving the scene. At the very least, make sure you know what type of dog bit you.
3. Look for Witnesses
Did anyone witness the incident? Look around for any witnesses who were there where you were bitten. Before leaving the scene, gather their contact information as well.
Your dog bite lawyer will likely want to contact these witnesses to corroborate your side of the story.
Eye witness accounts are an important part of building your case. You’ll need their official statements if you plan on filing a lawsuit or making an insurance claim.
4. Call Animal Control
You might want to consider contacting your local animal country agency, too. Filing an official report with animal control might ensure no one else gets bitten and injured.
The animal control agency will complete its own case. During their investigation of what happened, they’ll file an official report. You might benefit from using that report as evidence during the course of your own lawsuit.
Contacting animal control will also indicate how seriously you’re taking the entire event. At the very least, you’re protecting someone else from a potential injury.
5. Document Everything
After completing the steps above, you’ll want to start the process of coming to an agreement regarding compensation.
First, make sure you document everything that happened regarding the dog bite incident. Take photos of your injury before and after visiting the doctor. Record any symptoms regarding your injury as well.
For example, you might notice your mobility has decreased. Are you experiencing chronic pain? Do you find it difficult to perform certain activities?
Keep a journal of everything. You can also gather evidence for your case by taking photos and gathering your medical records. Keep copies of any medical bills and prescriptions as well.
Write down your memory of the incident as soon as possible. After a few days, you might start to forget certain details. Writing down a journal entry of what happened as soon as possible will keep you from forgetting something important.
You’ll also want to document any correspondence you have with anyone regarding the incident, such as a lawyer, witnesses, or insurance company. Keep records of your email correspondence.
Documenting the details of your case will help determine the amount of compensation you deserve.
6. Contact a Lawyer
Injuries caused by dogs account for over a third of all homeowners’ liability claim dollars, costing almost $700 million. Many people require reconstructive surgery and hospitalization as a result of their injuries.
If you sustained a major or minor dog bite injury, consider consulting a dog bite lawyer.
Make sure to look for someone with extensive experience regarding dog bite injuries. Their prior experience will help them build your case. A lawyer with this specialty will also keep up with laws, procedures, and cases that are relevant to your lawsuit.
Your lawyer will help you determine how much you deserve for your compensation. They’ll also help you negotiate a settlement and deal with the dog owner’s insurance company. Contacting an experienced, qualified lawyer could make or break your case.
What Happens If a Dog Bites You? 6 Things to Do After Getting Bitten
To recap, what happens if a dog bites you? It’s essential you take these six steps as soon as possible. Following these steps can help you maximize your compensation.
Otherwise, you might have to cover your medical expenses and lost wages on your own.
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