If you or a loved one was bitten by a dog, it’s crucial to take certain actions to ensure your safety and protect your rights. An experienced dog bite attorney can help you recover damages for your injuries and losses. Read on to learn what to do if you get bit by a dog or a wild animal.
What Do I Do if a Dog Bites or Injures Me or a Loved One?
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), each year, dogs bite over 4.5 million people in the US. Dog attacks can be traumatic and cause life-threatening injuries. After a dog attack, it’s crucial to take the following actions:
Call the Police
As soon as a dog bite occurs, call your local police to report the incident. Provide details such as the location and time of the incident, and any relevant information about the dog. Note the dog’s breed, color, and any distinctive markings.
Clean the Dog Bite Carefully
Bacteria from a dog’s mouth can lead to serious infections in the bite wound. Wash the wound thoroughly with mild soap and warm water. Use a clean cloth or sterile bandage to gently pat the area dry. To help prevent infection, apply antibiotic ointment and cover the wound with a sterile bandage. Ensure you check your bite wounds for signs of infection or worsening symptoms. This can include swelling, redness, warmth, and pus.
Seek Medical Attention
Approximately 1 in 5 people bitten by dogs require medical care. Every year, over 800,000 dog bite victims in the US receive medical care. Even if the injury seems minor, it’s crucial to seek medical attention promptly. Sometimes, sutures are used to close a dog bite wound to reduce scarring.
Get Information from the Dog Owner
After the dog is restrained, speak with the dog owner and ask for the following information:
- Full name
- Contact information
- The dog’s vaccination records
Notify Animal Control
Contact the local animal control authorities. This is a crucial step that can help protect public safety and prevent future incidents. Provide a detailed account of the dog bite incident to animal control. Stay in contact with animal control to receive updates on their investigation and any actions taken regarding the dog responsible for the bite.
Consult an Experienced Dog Bite Attorney
Seeking legal advice is crucial to understanding your rights and potential courses of action following a dog bite. An experienced dog bite attorney can help you pursue compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages resulting from the dog bite.
Share the information you’ve gathered, including details of the incident, police reports, medical records, and information about the dog and its owner, with your animal bite attorney. This documentation can help strengthen your case.
Possible Complications That Can Result From a Dog Bite
Dog bites can easily lead to infections including Tetanus. Tetanus is a potentially life-threatening infection that can be transmitted by animal bites. Check when you had your last tetanus shot and ensure you are up-to-date. You may need a booster shot if you haven’t had a tetanus shot in the past 10 years.
Depending on the circumstances, medical professionals may administer rabies shots, especially if the dog’s vaccination status is unknown. Symptoms for a rabies infection may not appear immediately. If left untreated, rabies is nearly always fatal. Initial symptoms can be similar to the flu, including fever, headache, or weakness. There may also be an itching or prickling sensation in the injured area. Symptoms can progress to confusion, delirium, hallucination, insomnia, and cerebral dysfunction.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there is an average of 43 deaths per year from being struck or bit by a dog. Only about 20 cases of human survival from clinical rabies have been documented. If the dog’s rabies vaccination status is unknown, consult a doctor promptly to assess the need for rabies post-exposure prophylaxis.
Who Pays for the Medical Bills After a Dog Bite Injury?
In many cases, the dog bite victim can pursue a personal injury claim against the dog owner’s insurance company. If the dog owner is found liable for the incident, they will be responsible for medical bills, emotional trauma, pain and suffering, and other damages. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you file a dog bite lawsuit to help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
How to Prevent Animal Bites
Taking proactive measures can help prevent dog bites and ensure the safety of both humans and animals:
Identify Aggressive Behavior: Learn about dog behavior, body language, and appropriate ways to interact with dogs.
Supervision: Always supervise interactions between children and dogs. Avoid leaving young children alone with any dog, regardless of its temperament.
Respect Boundaries: Respect a dog’s space and boundaries. Avoid approaching unfamiliar dogs without the owner’s permission.
Signs a Dog Might Attack
Being aware of signs indicating a dog’s potential aggression can help prevent bites:
Aggressive Posture: Raised hair, bared teeth, and a tense body posture can be indicators of an aggressive dog. Avoid approaching a dog displaying these signs.
Anxiety and Fear: Anxious and fearful behaviors can also turn into aggression. Be cautious if the dog is pacing, holding their ears back, licking their lips, panting, or yawning repeatedly.
Growling or Snarling: Audible signs of aggression, such as growling or snarling, suggest the dog is feeling threatened. Give the dog space and avoid provoking it.
Contact a California Dog Bite Attorney Today
If you’ve experienced a dog bite incident, a California personal injury lawyer can help you pursue compensation for your injuries and losses. An experienced attorney will guide you through the entire claims process, deal with the insurance companies on your behalf, and resolve your case in a timely manner. At Golden State Attorneys, we are dedicated to helping personal injury victims obtain justice and maintain a 99% success rate. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.