The occurrence of a dog attack is very hard to predict. Once it happens, it's even harder to stop it. While you don't have control over this unfortunate situation, you have some control over the outcome. You can help yourself heal and recover quickly from the dog's attack.
Here are some quick tips to help you figure out what to do if you've been attacked by a dog:
1. Seek Medical Attention Right Away
Even if the dog bite doesn’t look severe or deep to you, it’s very important for you to seek medical attention right away. Wounds from dog bites can be very serious, especially if they’re left untreated. Before it escalates into an infection, your wound must be cleaned up properly by a medical professional. If sewing up the wound is necessary, then this must be done ASAP.
The most compelling reason for you to seek medical attention right away is that dog bites can be potential carriers of the staphylococcus bacteria. If this isn’t addressed, it can even be potentially fatal.
Depending on the dog that attacked you, if you’re unlucky, they may also have rabies. A doctor can assess the best medical route for you to take to ensure your utmost safety, wellbeing, and recovery.
2. Call a Lawyer
If you have reason to believe that the dog’s owner is very difficult to deal with and, worse, won’t take responsibility for their pet’s action, you should take further action and contact a personal injury attorney or a dog bite lawyer to obtain legal advice regarding your rights, especially if you’re trying to fight for an amicable legal settlement to get over the traumatic experience immediately.
You have the right to claim for compensation if the dog’s owner was negligent. Remember that the bite resulted in a physical injury that required medical treatment.
A dog bite can have lifelong repercussions, requiring time, medical attention, and counseling. For these reasons, you’re urged to seek legal advice and representation as soon as possible following a dog bite.
The first thing your attorney will do is assess the extent of the injuries incurred from the attack. If there were serious, life-threatening injuries resulting from the attack, your attorney will ask for and obtain proof through medical records, as well as photographs of the injury. Your attorney will also work to establish the dog's liability. If the owner has previous dog bite or criminal records relating to animal abuse, your attorney will seek those records to prove their responsibility and negligence.
Your attorney's goal is to hold the owner accountable for their dog bite so you’ll receive the compensation you deserve.
It also pays to find out more about the legalities attached to dog bite cases in your area so you, yourself, will have an idea of your rights and the steps you ought to take.
3. Identify the Owner
Once you’re safe and your injuries are now taken care of, you must identify the dog’s owner. They must take responsibility over their dog’s attack towards you.
If the dog is still running loose around the neighborhood, it’s the owner’s responsibility to come and get the dog immediately before they cause any further damage and injuries to those around.
Once you’ve identified the owner, ask for the vaccination records as your doctor will also need this. You'll also have to discuss liabilities and payment of the hospital bills with the dog’s owner.
4. Be Ready for the Emotional Consequences
Once your physical injuries are done and settled with, you’ve got to be ready to deal with the emotional effects after the attack. These are particularly visible if the attack resulted in life-long consequences that are also permanent in nature.
It's best to avoid any type of stress or circumstance that’ll only cause you to become more anguished and anxious. Staying calm and relaxed can help you go through the trauma and recover quickly.
5. Follow Your Doctor’s Orders
If you’ve been discharged from the hospital, it’s very important for you to be diligent about following your doctor's orders.
Medication for the wounds you suffered from the dog attack may often take a long time of follow-up care. You’re only denying yourself the opportunity to heal well if you don’t follow your doctor’s orders.
For instance, if you’re a candidate for anti-rabies injection after the dog bite, remember that this isn’t only a one-time injection. You'll be asked to come back for a couple more shots before you’re guaranteed safe.
6. Call Animal Control
This step applies, especially if the owner is negligent and doesn’t assume responsibility for the dog bite, or if the dog is a stray animal.
If the dog has no identified owner, it’s your local animal control service that’ll take over and have responsibility over retrieving the dog.
Most importantly, if the bite resulted in deep scratches or wounds, animal control must also identify a possible rabies reaction. That way, the dog won’t be able to spread it to other animals and human beings they may attack again when their behavior starts to change.
7. Identify Witnesses and Gather Evidence
This seventh step is very important, should you need to bring your case to court. There are some owners that would deny any obligation, fault, and negligence simply because they don’t want to have to pay for the expenses related to their dogs’ action.
In these types of situations, witnesses can serve as your primary evidence to prove that the dog ultimately attacked you. Gather their names and phone numbers. From these witnesses, you may even be able to gain essential information, such as the dog had already bitten someone else in the past. This can help prove that the owner was, in fact, knowledgeable of their dog’s vicious behavior, yet were negligent about it.
One of the most traumatic experiences any person can go through is getting attacked by a dog. Whether you’re a dog lover or someone who walks away when a dog passes by, dog attacks can happen anytime.. Unfortunately, these attacks may lead to serious injuries, sutures, lacerations, disfigurement, or, worse, death. These can be avoided, had you only known what to do right after going through the attack, hence, the steps enumerated above.