If you were bit by a dog, you should take immediate action to protect your health. The following can help you protect your health and also begin building an injury case:
Treat the Wound
Wash the wound right away with soap and rinse with plenty of water, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Dog bites are dirty wounds that have a high risk of infection from the bacteria and viruses in a dog’s mouth.
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Seek Medical Attention
If you have not already done so, see your doctor or go to the emergency room at once. You might need medical treatment so that the bite wound heals correctly and to prevent possible diseases, like rabies and tetanus. Getting immediate medical attention can also help to prevent scarring, which is common in dog bites.
The Cleveland Clinic reports that it is essential to get medical attention the same day as the dog bite. Cleveland Clinic also warns that waiting longer than eight hours will increase your risk of infection. Monitor the wound for signs of infection, like fever, swelling, redness, or worsening discomfort.
Follow your doctor’s instructions about caring for the wound after it gets cleaned and wrapped. Cleveland Clinic recommends changing the dressings several times a day. Infections from dog bites can be lethal. If you have any doubts about whether you should go back to the doctor, you should err on the side of caution and contact your physician or go to an urgent care center or emergency room.
How Your Doctor Might Treat Your Dog Bite Wound
After examining and cleaning the wound, your doctor might want to close the wound using stitches. The physician might apply antibiotic ointment directly to the injury and prescribe antibiotics for you to take.
Cleveland Clinic states that about half of all dog bites include harmful bacteria. The bacteria live in dog saliva. Canine teeth can create deep puncture wounds that can carry these and other types of bacteria deep into your flesh:
Also, if your last tetanus shot was over five years ago and the bite wound was dirty, your doctor might recommend that you have a booster shot to protect you from this severe and possibly fatal disease.
Determine Whether the Dog Had an Up-to-Date Rabies Vaccination
Find the dog’s owner and ask for proof of rabies vaccination and the name and contact information of the dog’s veterinarian. You may also be able to contact the veterinarian to see if the dog was up-to-date on its rabies vaccinations. Consider writing down the events that occurred shortly before, during, and after the bite so that you do not forget any important details.
What Happens if the Dog That Bit You Did Not Have Rabies Shots
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you might have to start anti-rabies treatment if the dog that bit you did not have its rabies shots, depending on the facts of the situation. There are three possibilities:
- If the dog looks healthy, the owner or public health department can quarantine it for observation for 10 days. If the dog does not show any symptoms or rabies or otherwise become sick, you will not have to undergo rabies shots. The CDC reports that there is no record of anyone in America who ever developed rabies from a dog bite when the animal stayed healthy for 10 days of quarantine after the bite.
- The victim should immediately start anti-rabies post-exposure prophylaxis vaccination if the dog was rabid or suspected as rabid at the time of the bite, or developed signs of rabies during the 10-day quarantine.
- You will want to consult public health officials at once if the rabies status of the animal is unknown because the animal escaped after the bite.
These suggestions are general guidelines. Your doctor might recommend another strategy because of unique facts or circumstances. You want to deal with the medical emergency first, but you will want to protect your legal rights by talking with a dog bite lawyer as the next step.
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Speak with a Lawyer
You might qualify for compensation after a dog bite. Dog bites can have significant consequences. You might need plastic surgery to minimize the disfigurement of severe scars after getting mauled by a dog.
Many dog bite victims experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some have trouble even leaving the house out of fear of another dog attack.
If you develop an infection or disease from the wound, your overall health could suffer. You might have substantial medical expenses.
Your personal injury claim could include things like:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
The amount of compensation you can pursue will depend on the facts of your situation.
How a Dog Bite Attorney Can Help with Your Injury Claim
A dog bite lawyer at Berger and Green could help you go after money damages for your losses. If you wait, evidence could disappear, making it impossible to hold the at-fault party responsible.
You can call us today at (412) 661-1400 for a free consultation. There is no obligation. We can speak with you about what you should do if you were bit by a dog.