Did you know 4.5 million people in the U.S. are bitten by dogs each year? As alarming as that statistic is, it’s vital to know that these bitters aren’t necessarily “bad” dogs. Any dog can bite — even nice ones. So, it’s vital to exercise caution when around or interacting with any dog.
In addition to noting that millions of people get bitten every year, the American Veterinary Medical Association says nearly one in five victims require medical attention.
If you’re ever on the receiving end of a dog bite, there are certain things you need to do. It can be a traumatic experience, but you need to keep your cool and follow the right procedure.
Here’s a look at five steps to take after being bitten by a dog — and one of them is speaking to a personal injury lawyer. Even a small bite can cause big trouble, so talking to a lawyer is vital.
1. Get Contact Details from the Dog Owner
Get contact information from the dog owner. After being bitten, you won’t be in the mood for a drawn-out conversation with anyone. But you should get your wits about you and obtain the dog owner’s full name and phone number. That information may come in useful later.
2. Tend to Your Wound
You should tend to the wound by washing it with warm tap water and mild soap. Do so for around five minutes. After that, apply some clean cloth to stop or contain the bleeding.
Once the bleeding is under control, apply an antibiotic cream to the wound. It’ll be great if you already have some in your medicine cabinet. Otherwise, go to your local pharmacy or ask someone to get some for you. The next step is to bandage the wound until you can see your doctor.
3. See Your Doctor
Make an appointment to see your doctor. Even if you think the bite was relatively minor, you should still get the injury checked out by a qualified medical professional. Problems can include infections or even worse. That’s one reason your doctor will probably order a tetanus shot. Tetanus is a severe and possibly life-threatening inflection that can occur after a dog bite.
Another reason to see a doctor is that you’ll have documentation about your medical condition. If you hire a personal injury lawyer and pursue a compensation case, you’ll want a report from your doctor verifying the extent of the injury. The more supporting documentation you have, the better your odds of achieving a good outcome in court or at the bargaining table.
4. Call Animal Control
You won’t have to notify animal control or call the policy in all instances of dog bites, but there are some cases where doing so is in order. If the dog that bit you is behaving strangely, is a stray animal, or is a pet that hasn’t gotten vaccinated against rabies, it’s best to call animal control. Give animal control a description of the animal and its location so they can intervene.
5. Personal Injury Lawer
You definitely must call a personal injury lawyer. Getting bitten is no laughing matter. A lawyer can help you navigate a tricky situation. They can help you get whatever compensation you’re entitled to and detail the process involved. You’ll likely have questions, and a personal injury lawyer will give you answers.
While you’ll want to avoid dog bites at all costs, millions suffer such a fate annually. So, you’ll want to be careful when out and about to reduce your odds of being bitten and traumatized. Knowing what steps to take if this scenario materializes, however, is a good idea.