Getting bit by a dog is a horrifying experience. We’re so used to being friends with our canine pals that it can be disorienting when we end up as a victim of one. Figuring out what to do after a dog bite isn’t easy, as adrenaline and panic take over your mind.
That’s why it’s important to take a moment and read about what to do if you’re ever bitten by a dog. There are steps that should be taken immediately for your own health and safety. Evidence that should be collected for the potential legal battle that will follow, and notes which you should keep to better prove your side of the story.
What are the First Steps to Take After a Dog Bite?
Dog bites can be quite dangerous. There is the physical bite itself, which could cause temporary or long-term disabilities. But the real danger of a dog bite is from the germs in their mouths. Dogs aren’t particularly the cleanest of animals and their bites can lead to serious infections.
If you have access to medical supplies then the first thing you should do, once you are sure you are safe from any further attacks, is to patch up the bite temporarily. Get a clean towel and wrap it around the bite to help stop the bleeding. If possible, also keep the wounded area elevated. Soap and water could be used to clean the wound.
Once the wound is bandaged temporarily, seek medical treatment. This is especially important if you didn’t know the dog in question or if the wound is deep. A shallow bite might not seem like a big deal but you should seek medical treatment regardless, as they’ll be able to properly clean the injury to reduce the risk of infection.
Even with proper cleaning, infection will still be possible. Using a daily antibiotic ointment is recommended.
There are a number of questions that you should expect from the doctor that treats you, such as if the dog has had its rabies shots. If it isn’t your dog then you’ll need to find this information out while you collect evidence.
What Evidence Should I Collect After Being Bitten by a Dog?
It’s important to gather evidence at the scene of the attack but it isn’t always possible. If your injuries are serious then it is best to seek out medical attention immediately. However, you should always exchange information with the owner of the dog so that you can reach out to them later and learn more about the dog such as what shots it has had.
If there was anyone around that witnessed the attack then ask for their contact information as well. Once you are sure that you are not in any medical danger you should reach out to them and ask them to provide a witness account of the incident. Witness accounts are great for backing up your story, as they help to show that you did not provoke the dog in the first place.
Next, contact your local animal control agency to file a report of the incident. They may decide to help investigate the situation and this could be even more evidence you can provide should you put in an insurance claim or press a lawsuit against the owner. It just might be that your information helps them to prevent future attacks or even that they have a record of another incident with that particular dog.
What Steps Should I Take After Seeking Medical Treatment?
Now that you have taken care of your medical needs, the real work begins.
Start by reaching out to the witnesses and getting their statements. Meanwhile, you should work on your own. Write out all the circumstances that lead to the attack. Include as much detail as possible, as you can always remove those that turn out to be irrelevant. But don’t speculate on events. If you can’t remember something, it is better to admit that you don’t remember rather than speculating on it. This only makes it easier to contradict your account through witness statements and the like.
Next, start documenting your injuries. These aren’t just the physical injuries that are visible such as the wound that the bite left but also things such as reduced mobility or pain. Take photos of any visible wounds and get a copy of your medical records from your trip to see the doctor. It’s also a good idea to start a journal that documents your recovery and any issues that you face while recovering.
While you’re speaking with witnesses, the owner of the dog, or even your insurance company, make sure that you keep a record of any and all conversations. People may change their statements later on but having proof of their original words will serve as a counter to this tactic.
Last, but certainly not least, make sure that you keep a record of any expenses that your injury costs you. These could be medical costs for your treatment, travel costs for getting to the doctor, wages you lost from missing work to recover, or physical therapy costs to regain your physical motion in the case that you lost some.
Should I Get a Lawyer if I Was Bit by a Dog?
It’s always a good idea to seek the services of an experienced lawyer when you’ve been injured because of another person’s breach of duty. It doesn’t matter if it’s their breach of duty while driving or their breach of duty in ensuring their pet doesn’t harm another person. A good lawyer will help you both in the event of a court case or in your negotiations with your insurance company. If you’ve suffered a dog bite recently then reach out to 801-Injured by calling (801) 465-8733 to learn how an attorney can help you in seeking the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Our attorneys have a history with cases just like yours and that gives them an advantage when it comes to dealing with incidents like this. Don’t wait, call today to learn how we can help.