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What to Do After Being Bitten by Someone’s Dog

man petting dog with mouth open
January 26, 2022
Legally Reviewed By Rand Spear, Esq.

WHAT TO DO AFTER BEING BITTEN BY SOMEONE’S DOG

Dogs are “man’s best friend”, but the threat of suffering a dog bite is real. According to the Center for Disease Control, there is an average of 4.5 million dog bites every year in the United States, where 800,000 of those injuries result in medical care. Dog bites can happen in a split second, making the injury unexpected. While the pain and physical wounds can be serious, a dog bite may also leave a lasting emotional impact. Dog bite injuries can lead to substantial medical, financial, and psychological damages, which may require you to weigh your legal options. Our attorneys are eager to help you and provide information on what to do after getting bitten by someone’s dog. Below is information on what to do after being bitten by someone’s dog. 

WHAT TO DO IMMEDIATELY AFTER BEING BITTEN?

Your health is the primary concern after suffering a dog bite. Do not delay tending to your injury, because any open wound runs the risk of bacterial infection. The other concern is documenting the personal injury incident for any legal action you may take. Below are the important first steps after suffering dog bite injuries.

  • Clean the dog bite injury. An immediate cleaning of the injury area will help you to determine the severity and lower the risk of infection. According to Web MD, two important initial steps in the cleaning procedures are placing a clean towel on the injury to stop the bleeding and keeping the injury area elevated to slow the blood flow to the injury point. Once the bleeding has slowed, wash the injury with soap and water and bandage the wound.   
  • Seek medical care. Visiting a doctor or medical professional following a dog bite is always prudent. This action is especially true if the dog bite injury has puncture wounds, which increase the risk of infection. Also a dog’s vaccination status is important to consider. Has the dog in question received a rabies vaccination?
  • Exchange information with the dog owner. Collecting this information allows you to verify whether the dog has had a rabies shot and other vaccinations. According to FindLaw, the information to collect includes the person’s name, address, contact information, and the dog’s breed. 
  • File a report with animal control. In some cases, filing this report protects others from future dog bite accidents. By filing this report, you are also documenting the incident, which may help your case.
  • Collect witnesses’ contact information. If you suffered a dog bite in a public area, speak with any witnesses who saw the incident. In the event a lawsuit is necessary, these eye witness accounts are important evidence.

DOCUMENT THE DOG BITE INJURY

The other critical component for what to do after getting bitten by someone’s dog is documentation. This step starts with taking a picture of the injury shortly after the dog bite accident if possible. Other documentation includes recording the effects of the injury to your life, whether it is pain, missed time at work, or limitations in activities. If you visit a doctor or medical professional, collect your medical records as a final form of documentation.

Besides injury documentation, there is additional information to record after a dog bite accident. Ensure you document the events of the accident, while they are fresh. Also, document the aftermath from the dog bite injury, which may include expenses, lost wages, and travel. This documentation allows a dog bite attorney to accurately present both the scene of the incident and the damages from a dog bite injury. 

WHAT NOT TO DO AFTER A DOG BITE INJURY

While there are important steps to take following a dog bite injury, also consider what not to do following a dog bite injury. These mistakes can hurt any legal action taken following a dog bite incident. Do not accept any money offered by the dog owner or discuss monetary settlement immediately following the accident. Another conversation to avoid is discussing who is responsible for the injuries. Finally, do not contact the dog owner regarding the accident until you have spoken with a dog bite injury attorney. The dog owner may use any statements you share against you in a personal injury case.

REASONS TO CONTACT A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY FOR A DOG BITE INCIDENT

Dog bite attorneys specialize in identifying the damages suffered by a dog bite victim to determine an accurate compensation amount. According to FindLaw, a lawyer’s calculations consider lost income, pain and suffering, and other associated expenses. Legal professionals also utilize experience from the outcomes of other dog bite cases that they have represented. 

Another benefit of hiring a dog bite attorney is their ability to communicate with the other party’s insurance company. Insurance companies have the goal to convince injury victims to settle for low offers. A dog bite lawyer can identify an insurance company’s strategy. From experience, an attorney can identify crucial evidence to share or effective statements to negotiate a fair settlement. 

HOW TO AVOID BEING BITTEN BY A DOG

Whenever interacting with dogs, remember animals are unpredictable. Interacting with a well behaved dog does not eliminate the chances of suffering a dog bite injury. When interacting with a dog, it is important to display confidence, while controlling your body language. Below are some tips that will reduce your chances of suffering dog bite injuries.

  • Do not approach an unfamiliar dog
  • Keep loud noises or sudden movements to a minimum.
  • Do not approach or disrupt a dog when they are eating, sleeping, or distracted.
  • Never pet a dog without asking the owner’s permission first.
  • Before petting a dog, allow them to observe and smell you.
  • Do not let children play with a dog without adult supervision.
  • Report any stray dogs to local animal control.

Remember to always be careful around dogs, because even following the rules above will not guarantee that you won’t suffer an unexpected dog bite injury.

CONTACT THE DOG BITE INJURIES AT SPEAR GREENFIELD

Knowing what you should do after getting bit by a dog can ensure you obtain proper medical care and maximize the legal options available to you. As mentioned above, a key step for what to do after getting bitten by someone’s dog is to contact a personal injury attorney. The attorneys at Spear Greenfield have experience with dog bite injuries. Our law firm will ensure you receive the necessary medical care following a dog bite accident. Our attorneys will gather the necessary evidence and fight for your best interests. We offer a free consultation to evaluate your dog bite injury case, so call us now!

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