As domesticated animals, dogs are typically not seen as a threat to humans. In fact, they’re considered a man’s best friend that many of us rely on – some for companionship, some for assistance. But the one thing we tend to forget about dogs is that they are still animals who have their instincts. As such, they can easily harm us, and their canine teeth can cause serious injuries that require medical attention.
Dog bites can happen for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, it could be your neighbor’s seemingly friendly dog or even your own dog that attacks you. Other times, you could be walking down the street and suddenly get injured by a stray. Either way, getting bitten by a dog is a serious situation that requires a serious approach. Therefore, if a dog bites you, make sure to do these four things right away.
Administer first aid
Bacterial infection is one of the top concerns people have after being attacked by a dog. Because of that, tending to the injury right away is imperative. Superficial wounds should be treated immediately by washing the bitten area with warm water and soap.
If there’s bleeding, use a clean towel to stop it while keeping the area that was injured elevated. Use an antibiotic cream to treat the area, and cover it with a sterilized bandage, changing it throughout the day. Depending on the severity of the wound, you may be able to administer first aid on your own or you might need to get medical help immediately.
Seek medical help
Sometimes, getting bitten by a dog will result in serious bite wounds that will call for an emergency treatment. This is especially true in cases where the wound becomes red, swollen, and painful, and the victim develops a fever. Because dog bites increase the risk of getting rabies, you’ll be asked by your doctor about your last tetanus shot. It’s very important that you follow the doctor’s orders and save all the paperwork.
Other times, the injury caused by a dog bite will be a minor one. You may know the dog’s owner and they may be able to provide proof of their dog’s vaccinations being up-to-date. In those cases, you may be tempted to forego medical treatment. Still, it’s important to seek medical help if you’re going to report the dog bite. When the time comes to file a lawsuit, your medical records will act as a proof of the wound severity.
Contact a dog bite lawyer
After getting the necessary treatment, some people may decide to take legal action and file a bite incident report. If that’s the case, it’s important that you contact a lawyer – the sooner you do it, the better. According to a reputable dog bite injury attorney in Arizona, dog bites are subject to a one-year statute of limitations. In other words, you need to file a lawsuit within a year after getting bitten. Otherwise, the claim will not be valid. After hiring the lawyer, they’ll begin investigating the dog bite report and start building your dog bite injury case.
Of course, there may also be instances where the victim hesitates to report the incident. This is especially true if the dog’s owner is someone they know (e.g. a relative, a friend, or their boss). In that case, the injury could be covered by the homeowner’s insurance of the dog owner.
Contact a local animal control
Other than seeking medical attention and contacting a lawyer, you should also contact local animal control. In states like Texas, reporting animal attacks is a must, regardless of whether there’s a bite or simply a scratch.
During the procedure, the animal control officers will interview the victim and assess bite severity. They’ll then inspect the dog’s health and gather the information necessary for rabies evaluation. They’ll take into account the dog’s breed, vaccination history, as well as dog owner’s contact information (if there’s one). After the assessment, the officers will determine what’s the correct placement for the reported dog.
Just like dog bites can range in severity, the process for reporting them differs depending on the state you’re in. While the entire situation can be scary, immediate response is essential. In doing so, the victim can minimize physical damages, prevent serious complications, and even save their life.