If you or a loved one have been bitten by a dog, what should you do? Should you see a doctor? Do you need an attorney? Should you get the police or animal control involved? Here’s a quick guide to your first steps.
Do Dog Bites Require Medical Treatment?
The first thing you should do is seek immediate medical attention. Dog bite injuries range in severity from minor injuries to severe injuries that can result in a life-threatening infection.
If the injury is minor, begin with basic first aid at home. Press the wound gently, so blood flushes out as much bacteria as possible, wash the area with mild soap, then stop the bleeding with a clean cloth. Once you’ve controlled the bleeding, apply an over-the-counter antibiotic, and cover the wound with a sterile bandage.
Regardless of the severity of the bite, seek same-day medical attention. According to the Cleveland Clinic, almost 50 percent of dog bites contain bacteria including Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Pasteurella, and Capnocytophaga. If you wait too long to see a doctor, you increase your risk of infection. If the bite becomes infected, you may require hospitalization and intravenous antibiotics.
In addition, if you are bitten by an unvaccinated or feral dog you could also potentially contract rabies.
Alert the Appropriate Parties
If the dog’s owner isn’t already aware of the incident, tell him or her accurately what happened and how. Exchange contact information and request the dog’s veterinary information to be sure the dog is up-to-date on its vaccines. If you can’t find the dog owner or the dog is stray, alert animal control immediately.
You should also file a report with the police or animal control. This record will help if you eventually have to file a lawsuit to recoup damages.
How Do I Pay For the Medical Bills?
This incident may result in a lot of medical bills that need to be paid. You may also have lost wages for the time that you spent away from work.
As soon as possible, speak to an experienced personal injury attorney to see if you have a dog bite claim. We have experienced dog bite lawyers who are ready to help you now. If you’d like to speak to one of our experienced Greenville personal injury lawyers, contact us today to set up a free consultation.
David Price is a Personal Injury, Civil Litigation, Collections, and Criminal Defense Attorney who practices in Greenville, SC. He graduated from the University of Georgia School of Law, and has been practicing law for 12 years. David Price believes in helping those who have been injured. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.