What To Do If You Are Bitten By A Dog
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs every year and out of that number about 800,000 will seek some type of medical treatment related to that bite. Children are at greatest risk and make up about one half of those numbers. Children are also more likely to have wounds around the head, face and neck which may result in serious complications. Though the death rate from dog bites are rare, (about 6 per year according to the CDC), injuries can still be severe and lead to a lifetime of disabilities if not treated properly. Here are some things you need to know, if you or someone you love was bitten by a dog.
First, take care of the wound by cleaning it with soap and water, applying a clean bandage and seeking medical attention if the bite punctured the skin. Prompt medical treatment is the key to preventing major complications from occurring. In addition, your doctor will need to determine if the wound will recover with minor medical treatment or if you will need more serious plastic surgery. It is especially important to seek medical advice if you have other underlying medical conditions that may decrease your ability to fight infections such as Diabetes, liver or spleen problems or have been on chemotherapy treatments etc.
Even if you have a relatively minor break in the skin, watch for any signs of infection especially on the hands, feet or face. These areas are very susceptible to serious complications such as bacterial infections, and can result in surgical treatments which can become costly. In addition, tears or breaks in the muscles, tendons and nerves can result in a loss of function in the hand and also require not only surgical corrections but costly rehabilitation and loss of work time.
After you have received medical attention, it is also important to report the incident to the police or other county authorities, so they can determine if the animal is a danger to others. In addition, if the dog is a loose dog it becomes very important for the authorities to find the animal and determine its risk for Rabies.
After you have been bitten by a dog, it is equally important to contact a dog bite attorney so you can discuss all of your legal options. A dog bite attorney who has experience investigating and litigating dog bite injuries is crucial to being able to obtain the compensation you deserve to pay for medical expenses, rehabilitation and lost wages. When you meet with a dog bite lawyer be sure to provide him with important information such as when and where the incident occurred, name and addresses of the dog's owner, names and phone numbers of any witnesses and doctors. In addition, if you have photos of the injury, remember to take them with you.