How to Proceed Following a Dog Bite

Dogs are Great Pets

Dogs are wonderful pets providing companionship and fun for countless people.   But when it comes to dogs you are not familiar with always listen to the dog’s owner or handler and be cautious with the dog.  

Each year in the United States there are at least 4.7 million dog bites.   Some of those bites are the result aggressive, vicious dogs attacking people.  But most dog bites were the result of people violating a dog’s boundaries and made the dog attack because it felt threatened and thought it must defend itself.

Dog Bites Can Be Avoided

A good portion of all dog bites should never have happened.   Unfortunately, many dog bite victims failed to seek approval  from a dog’s owner or handler before approaching or touching a dog. If a dog owner or handler asks you to keep a safe distance from their dog  do not argue, and spare yourself, the dog and the dog owner or handler the possibility of medical issues, expenses, suffering, squabbling and legal hassles.  Even small and cute dogs have sharp teeth  that can cause significant damage if frightened or provoked. Always respect both the wishes of a dog owner and a dog’s boundaries.

Dog Ownership is a Privilege that Carries Responsibilities 

Most states impose liability for dog bites on the dog owner, no matter how “good” the dog might previously have been.  Dog bite law in the United States is an impressive blending of city and county ordinances, state statutory law, state case law and common law legal principles derived from specific lawsuits from across the country.  In general, civil laws provide monetary compensation for the victim, criminal laws impose punishment on the dog owner, and administrative laws create a remedy against the dog itself. 

5 Things a Dog Bite Victim Should Do

If a dog bites you:

  1. Make sure you can identify the dog and find out who owns it.   The dog will need to be examined for rabies or other diseases, and the owner will most likely be responsible for all expenses, and none of this can be handled unless you know both the dog and the owner.
  2. Get medical attention immediately.   On average 1,000 Americans per day go to emergency rooms as the victims of dog bites.  This also begins the process of documenting any injuries.
  3. If the bite is in the face or is disfiguring, ask to see a plastic surgeon.  Emergencies Rooms are great places to stop the bleeding and stitches, but they are not always as concerned with disfigurement, so you need to ask.
  4. The doctor or emergency room will also address the issue of rabies.
  5. Contact a personal injury attorney or a lawyers experienced in dog bite law.  They will help protect your rights and provide for the best possible outcome.

3 Things a Dog Bite Victim Should Not Do

On the other hand, if you are the victim of a dog bite this is what you should NOT do:

  • Do not discuss financial issues connected with the dog bite until you have consulted a personal injury lawyer
  • Do not make any recorded statements or permit yourself to be photographed
  • Do not discuss the incident with anyone until you have consulted a personal injury attorney or personal injury lawyer specializing in dog bite law.

 

 

Dog Bite Procedure

Dogs Are Fantastic Pets

Dogs bring companionship and a great deal of joy to a lot of people, but not every dog is friendly. If a dog does not belong to you or you are not it’s handler then you need to be respectful of the dog and the wishes of it’s master.

Today, there are about 75 million dogs in the U.S.A. About 4.7 million dog bites are reported each year. That means that about 6.5% of dogs will bite a human seriously enough to be reported. Out of those 4.7 million reported bites, about 800,000 or one out of six is severe enough to need medical attention. So, each year 1% of dogs will bite somebody seriously enough that they need to go to the hospital. And those figures are assuming that each dog bite comes from a dog who has never bitten before. Most dogs are well behaved and aren’t overly aggressive, but people still need to know how to interact with dogs to stay safe around them and prevent being injured by a dog bite. Most bites are not the result of vicious and aggressive dogs, but rather the result of people who are not aware of the boundaries of dogs. Dogs will bite when they feel threatened or scared and they will bite in self-defense.

 

Dog Bites Are Easy To Avoid

Most dog bites don’t need to happen in the first place. Knowing the boundaries of dogs and what makes them feel scared is the best way to prevent them. You should never pet a dog when it is eating or when it is sleeping. Dogs are animals and their first concern is self-defense. A dog is defenseless when sleeping, so if it is startled it’s natural reaction is to bite. This bite is a natural reaction that a dog has no control over and may not even know that it’s doing. Another way to avoid being bitten is to refrain from putting your hands over a dogs head, particularly if you are not familiar with the animal. A dog’s neck is a place they consider vulnerable and they will instinctively try to protect it. Putting your hand over a dog’s head can very easily be seen by the animal as a threat. Another thing that dogs take as a threat or challenge is direct eye contact. With dogs that you are not familiar with it is best to avoid direct eye contact as the dog may take it as a challenge. When dealing with a dog that is not yours you should always ask the owner or handler if it is okay to interact with the animal and respect whatever they tell you, even if they tell you “no” or if they ask you to approach the dog in a certain way, you should listen. They know if the dog is well-behaved or not and it is their decision to allow you to interact with their animal. Even smaller dogs can do damage with a bite as there are many forms of bacteria in the mouth of a canine.

 

Dog Ownership is Responsibility

In most states a dog’s owner is liable if the animal bites. It makes no difference if the dog has never bitten previously or how well it is generally behaved. Dog law usually requires that the owner provide monetary compensation to the victim of a dog bite for medical bills and may require that the dog be quarantined or even put down.

 

What To Do If You Are a Dog Bite Victim

If you are a dog bite victim you will want to identify the dog who bit you and who the owner is. You should make sure that the dog is up-to-date on all it’s vaccinations. If the dog isn’t, or you were bitten by a dog you can’t identify you may want to get a rabies shot although rabies in dogs is pretty much non-existent now-a-days. If a dog bite is serious enough, or if you can’t identify the dog’s owner to find out if it is up-to-date on vaccinations then you will want to go see a doctor. About 1,000 Americans go to the emergency room for dog bites every day. If you are bitten in the face or you have concerns about disfigurement then you may want to see a plastic surgeon, because emergency rooms are not always concerned with aesthetics. If the bite isn’t serious enough to get you to go to the hospital then be certain that you wash the bite with soap at the very least. Hydrogen peroxide is preferable because dogs have a lot of bacteria in their mouths and you don’t want to catch an infection. Due to this you shouldn’t stitch a dog bite because you may be trapping bacteria underneath your skin. Just bandage the bite and let it heal on its own. Lastly you should contact a personal injury attorney or an experienced dog bite lawyer. A lawyer will help to protect your rights and to make sure you receive the monetary settlement that you are entitled to.

 

What You Shouldn’t Do If Bitten By a Dog

When bitten by a dog you should not discuss any financial issues connected to the dog bite until you have talked with a personal injury attorney.  Additionally you should not allow recorded statements or permit others to photograph you. You can however photograph the bite for your own personal records, but you should not allow others to do so. Finally you should not discuss the bite with anybody until you have first talked with a personal injury attorney or a dog bite lawyer.