Did you know that nearly 5 million people are bitten by dogs in the United States every year? And 800,000 of those people received a dog bite severe enough to require medical attention after the incident.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you should fear every dog you see. There are actually many more common types of injuries. However, it’s still important to be aware of dog bite protocol to help protect yourself should you ever be attacked.
Listed below are a few steps to follow after receiving a dog bite, keep reading to learn everything you need to know!
1. Take Pictures of Your Wound
If you can, snap a few pictures of any wounds that you suffered due to the dog bite.
It will help if you have images of the damage at its worst rather than after it’s been tended to by doctors. That way, you’ll have a more accurate representation of the full extent of the harm done.
2. Seek Medical Attention
If the bite is severe enough to bleed profusely, you can stem the bleeding by applying pressure with a clean, dry towel and elevating the injury.
However, because an animal bite is classified as a puncture wound, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. The nature of this wound means it carries a high chance of infection, but the bacteria inside of a dog’s mouth can exacerbate this issue.
Worst case scenario, the dog that attacked you is not vaccinated for rabies. In this situation, you will need a preventative vaccination near the wound to fight off a possible viral disease.
3. Exchange Information
As with any accident or incident, it’s vital that you get the dog owner’s information.
This should include their name, phone number, address, and insurance information. You need to be able to contact them easily regarding vaccination records, as well as pass all of this on to your attorney.
4. Speak to Witnesses
If anyone else witnessed the attack besides you and the dog’s owner, ask that they give you their contact information as well. Should there be an insurance claim or lawsuit from the incident, witnesses will help to paint a picture of what happened in a non-biased way.
5. Contact Animal Control
No one wants to think about something happening to a dog or other animal, but if you are attacked, you need to call animal control. They can do an investigation on the dog in question and determine if it’s a threat to others.
Should they determine that it is, rest easy knowing that you prevented another person from experiencing a dog bite or other attack.
6. Document Your Experience
When it comes to documentation, more is always better. Write down every single detail you can, beginning with the injuries resulting from the bite. Document everything from pain level to decreased mobility in the form of pictures or written records.
Next, recount the incident in your mind, recording the circumstances leading up to and directly following the bite.
Finally, keep a list of all of the expenses you pay as a direct result of the bite. This can include medical bills, travel costs, and even wages lost due to an inability to work.
7. Limit Contact With the Owner
If at all possible, once you and the dog’s owner have exchanged contact and insurance information, limit your interaction with them. Furthermore, do not submit to any interviews by their insurance company.
This task should be left to your attorney and insurance company to avoid unwittingly compromising your case.
Of course, this can often be easier said than done, especially if the dog belongs to a family, friend, or neighbor. But it’s important that you do so, even if you have to sever ties with someone you care about temporarily, so you can protect yourself and your case.
8. Follow Your Doctor’s Instructions
The treatment prescribed by your doctor will depend on the severity of the injury, but their instructions should be followed regardless. Be sure to take any medications advised and change bandages as needed.
The last thing you want to do is take poor care of yourself and make your injuries worse as a result.
Also, be sure to get copies of all of the paperwork that your doctor may have on the injury. This type of proof can be crucial to your case, and as always, the more information that you have about the situation the better.
9. Call a Dog Bite Attorney
A personal injury attorney is typically equipped to handle a dog bite incident, so do a bit of research to find a suitable choice in your area. An attorney can help you with everything from calculating the compensation you should receive to dealing with the dog owner’s insurance company.
Again, it’s important that you hire a personal injury attorney specifically. Even if you have a family friend who is a different kind of attorney, paying money for an expert is more than worth the extra costs.
Dog Bite Protocol to Follow
Hopefully, you’ll never need it, but you now know the dog bite protocol to follow, should you ever be attacked.
It can be difficult to stay calm in a crisis but do your best to keep a level head, first and foremost. You need to be able to seek care for yourself while collecting all of the necessary information for a possible court case.
Be sure to contact animal control regarding the incident to protect others from a similar situation. Additionally, do not communicate with the dog’s owner beyond getting their contact and insurance information.
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