When walking down the sidewalk or when your kids are out playing with the neighbors, the last thing you expect is to be confronted with a dog bite. However, it is pretty common for known or unknown dogs to attack with no warning. When it happens either to you or to a loved one, it is crucial to know what steps to take to preserve your health and protect your legal rights.
What does a dog bite entail?
A dog’s front teeth are powerful enough to grab and compress your skin and muscles, while their smaller teeth are also strong enough to tear the skin. When this happens, you may end up with a jagged wound that may become infected if left open and untreated.
Dog bite infections can quickly progress to the point where the victim may be hospitalized to receive intravenous antibiotics. To avoid reaching this point, you must be seen by a primary care doctor within less than 8 hours from the moment the bite takes place. The more you wait, the greater the chance of infection grows, and this is even more delicate in cases where the victim is immune-compromised or a diabetic.
What should you do immediately after the dog bite?
You can take some steps to protect your health or that of your child after being bitten by a dog.
Clean the area – With mild soap and warm water, rinse the wound for 5 to 10 minutes. Any bleeding may be stopped with a clean cloth.
Apply antibiotic cream – If you have it on hand, use antibiotic cream on the wound and then use a sterile bandage to wrap the area. Change the bandage frequently until your doctor can see you. Watch for signs of infection at all times.
Make an appointment to see your doctor.
Other Actions to Take
While at the scene, exchange information with the dog owner – You should get enough information to get in touch with them in the future, should the need arise. Also, note the dog’s breed and ask about vaccinations.
Interview any witnesses – It may come in handy to have eye witness accounts. If anyone nearby witnessed the dog bite, interview them and get their contact information.
File a report with your local animal control agency – This is important in order to prevent the dog from biting other people in the future. Their investigation may also work in your favor, should you decide to file a claim.
Document your injuries – Take pictures of the injuries as soon as they happen and continue to do so as the injury heals. Keep a file of all your medical records, expenses, and write down the effects that the injuries have had on your life. Also add information regarding the wages you have lost and other damages.
Keep in mind that, when it comes to dealing with the insurance company, the better documented your injuries are, the better the chances of a higher payout. And if you find that you are not getting the response you expect, lawyer Agruss recommends you reach out to a dog bite attorney to help you build a strong case and fight for your rights.