They say that dogs are man’s best friend. However, dogs are still animals, and animals can bite whether provoked or not. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 4.5 million dog bites occur in the United States each year.
If you’ve been bitten by a dog, your first concern should be your health and well-being. Because of a dog’s teeth, dog bites very often cause puncture wounds, which are prone to infection.
If you are bitten by a dog, here are the first critical steps you should follow to make sure you are covered medically and legally:
1. Exchange Information with the Dog Owner
If you were bitten by someone else’s dog, things get stickier than if you were bitten by your own. Make sure that before you leave the site of the incident for medical attention that you exchange information with the dog’s owner. Besides information such as names and addresses, make sure to get the dog’s status on their rabies vaccination. If proof of this cannot be obtained, you may need to undergo a series of rabies shots.
2. Care for the Wound
This part will depend on the severity of your wound. But always keep in mind that a dog’s mouth is potentially loaded with bacteria, and a puncture wound has a high risk of infection.
If the severity of your wound is great, contact first responders or go to the emergency room to get immediate medical attention. If you have a wound with open skin, always seek professional medical treatment. If there isn’t a puncture or it’s negligible, washing the wound with mild soap, applying antibiotic cream, and wrapping the wound in a sterile bandage should help mitigate infection.
3. File a Report
No matter how severe your injury from the bite, always file a report through the proper local channels. This is an official way to document what has happened. Additionally, it could help another person if they get bitten by the same dog later.
4. Gather Your Evidence
Depending on what state you live in, the dog’s owner has a certain level of accountability depending on circumstances surrounding the dog bite. To make sure you have all of your information gathered and ready, start putting together evidence right away. This can include:
- Witness accounts of the incident
- Photographs of the wound
- Information on the dog such as past biting incidents
- Documentation from any medical treatment you have received
5. Find an Attorney
Being the victim of a dog bite can be a traumatic experience, and probably not one you’ve been through before. That’s why finding a professional to help you navigate the waters is essential. A personal injury attorney like Steven A. Bagen and Associates can help you through the sometimes tricky area of who’s liable and who isn’t when a dog bite occurs. They can also make sure you are receiving the best care possible for your wound and adequate compensation for the incident and the treatment you need.
Since 1982, Steven A. Bagen has been serving the Florida counties with all kinds of personal injury cases. He and his associates have the expertise and drive to make sure you have someone in your corner should man’s best friend prove not so friendly. Contact one of our professionals now to discuss how we can help you get fair compensation for a recent dog bite.