What To Do If A Dog Bites You

Nearly five million animal attacks occur yearly in America. The results of these attacks range from minor bites and scratches to severe injuries, which may require stitches or even cosmetic surgery. Some attacks even culminate in the death of the victim.

Dog bites are the most common form of animal attacks. Although most of us love and cherish our pets and consider dogs to be man's best friend, there are also many people who abuse their dogs, leading to aggressive and dangerous behavior. Additionally, some animals are simply more violent than others. To avoid being bitten by a dog, it's important to be able to identify the types of dogs that are most likely to attack or kill such as pit bulls and rottweilers. People who encounter dogs on a regular basis should also look out for telltale signs of canine aggression, such as heavy chains around the animal's neck, foaming at the mouth that may indicate rabies, an unkempt appearance, aggressive behavior, and growling. Common sense goes a long way toward avoiding an attack by a dog, too; if you see a dog who exhibits any of the above symptoms, don't tease or provoke it in any way. Cross the street or try to evade the dog if possible. Never approach a strange dog unless you have been invited to do so by the dog's owner.

If you have done everything you can to avoid being bitten by an animal, and you become the victim of an animal attack nonetheless, there are several things that you must do. You should take down contact information for the dog's owner and any witnesses to the dog bite. Record the dog license information if it's possible. Taking photos of all of your bruises, wounds, and bloody clothing, as well as getting the dog owner's insurance information, is a good idea. If you have been bitten by a dog and the dog owner or handler wants to make a deal with you, you should decline to do so. Neither should you sign anything, discuss money, allow yourself to be tape recorded, accept any money, or discuss who is responsible. To the extent that it's possible, you should avoid talking about the dog bite incident at all, except to say what's necessary to obtain the information.

As soon as possible, immediately clean the wound with warm soap and water, washing the larger and deeper wounds as well. Applying antiseptic lotion and antibacterial cream will go a long way towards preventing contamination. It's advisable not to use bandages on the wounds. Then, seek medical attention as soon as you can. Consulting your doctor is important because they can give you the shots that are necessary to prevent any type of contamination or infection. After a dog bite, people can be more susceptible to developing an infection or disease. Staph infections and a superbug known as MRSA infection are both commonly seen in dog bites. Even if the would does not initially appear to be serious, there is a chance that bacterial can fester deep within the joints, muscles or tendons, and manifest itself later.

It's also important that the dog be observed after the bite, for both medical and legal reasons. The dog that bit you should be confined and observed for up to 14 days to check for signs of rabies. If the dog is confirmed to have rabies, you will be required to get a series of tetanus shots and antiviral shots. The dog will mostly likely need to be either treated or euthanized, as well.

Lastly, do not waste time in reporting the bite to your local animal care and control agency this is a must. The animal care and control agency will record all of the necessary information; if the dog is found to be dangerous (whether it has an owner or not) or the dog is a stray, he may be picked up and euthanized.

It may be in your best interest to hire a personal injury attorney who specializes in animal attacks and dog bites if you have sustained significant injuries that result in medical costs, loss of wages, and pain and suffering. A personal injury attorney or lawyer will be well-versed in state and local dog bite laws, and they will be able to argue your case on your behalf, in order to recover the maximum amount of damages you are entitled to under your state's law. To find an experienced personal injury attorney or lawyer near you, visit the American Bar Association website.


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