To know if a dog bite is serious, you must get examined by a medical professional. It is important to note that any dog bite can be serious, especially one that breaks the skin. You should seek medical care immediately, even if you only appear to have superficial wounds.
If you had to seek medical treatment for a dog bite and another party is found liable for your injury, you might be legally entitled to compensation for your injury.
Key Symptoms to Watch Out for After a Dog Bite Injury
Dog bite injuries are typically treatable. However, some bites can lead to serious complications, depending on the dog’s health and other factors. There are a few telltale symptoms that can signal a serious dog bite, such as:
- Redness, swelling, or fever
- The wound feels warm or tender
- Deep puncture or tearing of the skin
- Significant bleeding
- Headache or confusion
- Muscle or joint pain
If you did not yet seek care, these symptoms are strong signals that you should go to an urgent care clinic or emergency room to treat your injury.
If you are concerned about seeking treatment after someone’s dog bit you, know that your treatment could be covered by their homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy. You will not need to deal directly with the dog’s owner to get compensation for your treatment, provided the dog’s owner is insured.
For a free legal consultation, call 412-661-1400
Complications That Can Result From a Serious Dog Attack
Due to the bacteria present in a dog’s mouth, even a seemingly uncomplicated bite could lead to major health problems. The rabies virus or bacterial infections from Capnocytophaga can be transferred from dogs to humans through saliva – and in the case of Capnocytophaga, illness can even result from proximity to an infected dog.
A dog bite wound is a potentially life-threatening injury, with complications that may include:
- Broken bones
- Nerve damage
If left untreated, the bacterial infection from a dog bite might spread to other areas of the body and lead to sepsis, which can become fatal. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), three out of 10 people die from a serious dog bite infection.
Seek Medical Care Immediately After a Dog Bites You
The CDC also reports that nearly one in five dog bite injuries need medical attention to avoid complications. It may be hard to judge if a dog bite is serious just by looking at it with the naked eye. Seeking medical care as a precaution – and for the purposes of documenting your injuries – is advised.
If you seek compensation for your injuries through the at-fault dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance, having records to prove that you sought immediate medical care will be crucial.
First Aid You Should Administer at Home After a Dog Bite Injury
Much of the risk of a mild or moderate dog bite wound can be mitigated by proper care. Per Cleveland Clinic, it is important to practice the following if you have even a mild or moderate bite:
- Wash the wound using soap and water
- Compress the wound using a cloth or wrap to stop the bleeding
- Cover with antibiotic lotion and a bandage or sterile wrap
- Monitor for redness, swelling, or other signs of infection
- Apply a fresh wrap or bandage on the wound each day
Practicing wound care for dog bites helps to prevent infection from developing. It can also help to prevent scarring. The effects of scarring are far-reaching. In addition to causing embarrassment if they are in a highly visible place, scars can also hinder movement.
However, even if you take these steps to clean the wound at home, professional medical care is still recommended.
You May Be Entitled to Seek Compensation for a Serious Dog Bite
Dog owners owe a duty of care to people around them, including restraining their pets to avoid harming others. In Pennsylvania, owners of dangerous dogs must always keep their dogs confined within their yard or on a leash.
If they fail to do so and their dog bites someone, they can be responsible for any injuries the victim suffered. Proving that a dog owner is liable can be challenging, however, especially while you are focusing on recovering from a serious injury. A lawyer from our team can help.
If your injury case is successful, your recoverable compensation may include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
Once one of our injury lawyers investigates your case, we can help you determine the value of it.
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Other Important Steps to Take After a Dog Bite Injury
For the purposes of your injury claim, you should take other steps to strengthen your case. In the days and weeks after your dog bite, consider the following:
Gather Your Own Evidence
Hang onto contact information you collected from the dog’s owner and any witnesses to the attack. Take photos of your injuries as they progress. You can also keep a pain journal to show how the complications of the injury are affecting you.
Avoid Making a Recorded Statement or Accepting a Quick Settlement
If the dog owner’s insurance company contacts you, avoid giving recorded comment. This statement could harm your case for compensation.
They may also offer you a low settlement soon after the incident. Unless this settlement will fully cover your losses – past, present, and future – don’t sign any agreement to settle. You can get a free case review from our team to discuss any offers and learn your options.
Act Promptly in the Event That You Must File Suit
We advise getting started on your injury case soon. In some situations, you may need to take your case to trial to seek fair compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and more. Building a case for civil court can take time.
Additionally, the statute of limitations is a state-mandated deadline that restricts your time to file suit. For Pennsylvania, for example, your deadline to file a lawsuit is generally two years following the injury (per Pa. C.S.A. § 5524).
We can help you meet this deadline as long as you contact our team in time.
Berger and Green Offers Free Case Reviews for Dog Bite Victims
If you have medical bills or lost wages due to a bite from someone else’s dog, you may be entitled to financial compensation. A representative with Berger and Green can answer your questions during a free consultation about your case.