Dogs are our best friends in the animal kingdom, but we all know they have a vicious side to them. If you are on the bad end of a dog bite, you will never forget that.
Of course, excruciating pain is not the only reason dog bite injuries are so difficult to deal with. Moving forward, you may also have serious injuries due to the attack.
What should you do if you were the individual on the bad end of a canine attack? Continue with this article to find out the answer to that question.
How Bad Are Dog Bite Injuries?
Before we get into the steps you must take following a vicious canine attack, let’s first highlight how significant dog bite injuries could be. We have outlined those potential injuries below.
Dog bites can easily lead to lacerations forming on your skin. If you have lacerations, the dog that attacked you broke through your skin during its attack.
Lacerations can be painful and may also cause plenty of bleeding. You will likely need professional medical attention if the attack led to lacerations.
Notably, lacerations may be the least of your worries if a dog recently bit you.
Puncture wounds are more serious versions of lacerations. They are deeper, and they are also more likely to cause significant damage.
Deep puncture wounds are also symptomatic of muscular tears and soft tissue injuries. Heading to the emergency room is likely necessary if you have puncture wounds.
Dogs can be surprisingly powerful. Their jaw strength, in particular, may catch you off guard.
A vicious dog can land a bite that is strong enough to break a bone. That can happen if they land a solid bite on one of your limbs.
You may be left hobbled for a long time after suffering from a dog attack.
Victims of dog attacks also must worry about potential infections.
For instance, you may develop a Capnocytophaga infection. According to the CDC, Capnocytophaga infections may cause fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and headaches. You may also start to develop swelling and blisters on the affected area.
In serious cases, Capnocytophaga infections may cause kidney problems, heart attacks, and gangrene.
As scary as a Capnocytophaga infection is, it is still not the most severe infection you may pick up from a dog attack.
Dogs can also spread the rabies virus through biting. If you contract the rabies virus, you may soon suffer from spasms, paralysis, and an inability to keep water down.
Rabies infections are also notorious for being fatal.
The Steps You Must Take Following a Dog Bite Incident
The way you respond in the immediate aftermath of being attacked by a dog could have huge ramifications.
Your response could determine how well you can recover from the attack. Fail to take the right steps, and you could end up sustaining serious injuries that affect you for the rest of your life.
Furthermore, you may also cost yourself potential compensation if you do something wrong.
Knowing what to do following a dog attack is essential. Keep the following tips in mind so you will know what to do if you ever find yourself in that unfortunate situation.
Stop the Bleeding
We already know that dog bites can lead to injuries that cause plenty of bleeding. The risk of going into shock from a dog bite is not high, but it could still happen if the wounds are bleeding badly enough.
Your priority should be to stop that bleeding. To do that, you will need to get a clean piece of cloth.
Use that clean cloth to apply direct pressure onto your wound. Apply force using one of your hands to get the right amount of pressure.
If you are too weak to exert the pressure needed, ask someone nearby to press on the wound for you. Ask them to put on latex gloves before they start applying pressure onto your wound to prevent any bacteria from entering your wound. The person applying the pressure should at least wash their hands if they have no gloves available.
Continue applying pressure onto the wound until the bleeding stops.
Wash Your Wounds
Remember that dog bites can lead to infections. Bacteria from the dog’s mouth could enter your body after the attack. The bacteria can cause all kinds of havoc after entering your body.
You need to do what you can to prevent a potential infection. Washing your wounds will help with that.
Go to the nearest faucet and turn on the tap for the warm water. Position your hands or legs under the warm water and let it wash over your wounds.
After rinsing, you should now use some mild soap to clean the wounds you sustained from the attack. Using mild soap is highly recommended because washing with other cleaning agents could be painful.
Wash your wounds for about five minutes to eliminate as much bacteria as possible.
Apply Antibacterial Ointment on Your Wounds
You must do whatever you can to minimize your chances of developing an infection. Washing your wounds will help, but soap and water can only do so much.
To further shield yourself from a possible infection, you need to apply some antibacterial ointment.
You can buy antibacterial ointments over the counter at pharmacies. You can ask a friend or family member to quickly pick some up for you following the attack.
Use enough antibacterial ointment to cover the wound before moving forward to the next step. Reapplying the ointment may also be necessary to maintain the protection of the wound.
Wrap Your Wounds in Sterile Bandages
Open wounds are dangerous because of their exposure to foreign bodies. You are more susceptible to infections because of those open wounds you got from the attack.
Take the time to cover those wounds while you await further treatment. Use only sterile bandages to reduce the chances of an infection developing.
Changing the bandages periodically is also a good idea. Make sure you clean the wound first before applying a new bandage.
Obtain Information from the Owner of the Dog
Avoid leaving the place without speaking to its owner first. At some point, you will likely seek compensation from them, so getting a hold of them will be important.
Ask for the dog owner’s name and contact details. While you are at it, you should also seek information about their pet.
Try to get as many details as you can from the dog owner. Put forth questions specifically about the dog’s history when it comes to attacking people. Ask if their dog has attacked someone before.
Down the line, those bits of information you picked up could help bolster your lawsuit.
Collect Information from Nearby Witnesses
The owner is not the only person you should be talking to. If the attack happened in a public space or at an event where people are gathered, then you can speak to witnesses as well.
Talk to the people who saw the attack and ask them to describe the incident. If you have your phone with you, you can record their statements if they consent to that.
Witness testimony is crucial in dog bite cases. Because cases like these often end up with both sides pushing their version of the events, it would be great to have unbiased witnesses.
Remember to get the contact details of the witnesses so you can reach out to them if necessary.
Go to the Doctor
Now that you have done everything you can at the scene of the dog bite incident, you should continue with your treatment.
Go to the doctor as soon as you can and get your injuries checked out. They can assess the severity of your injuries and inform you about your treatment options.
If you have a serious injury, going to the doctor may be the first thing you need to do.
Do not avoid paying a visit to the doctor simply because you think your injuries are not that bad. Not going to the doctor is simply a bad move on your part.
For starters, you cannot properly assess the severity of your injuries. Some of your injuries may be worse than they initially seem, so get them checked out.
On top of that, the doctor’s findings could prove useful when you decide to file a lawsuit against the dog owner. Their findings could indicate why you deserve substantial compensation.
Track the Progress of Your Injuries
While recovering from the attack, you can take the time to document your progress. Take photos or videos of your wounds to illustrate your injuries from the other party’s dog.
This is yet another way that you can bolster your case and prove that you are deserving of compensation. You can also show how your injuries may affect you long-term by tracking your progress.
Avoid Speaking to the Dog Owner’s Representatives
You may receive an unexpected phone call while you are resting at home. The person on the other line could be the other party’s insurer or their lawyer.
Why are they calling? Well, chances are they are calling to gauge your interest in negotiating a settlement.
The other party may be aware that you sustained some pretty nasty injuries from the attack. Because of that, they are offering you a settlement so they will not need to make a larger payment that is court-ordered.
If you have already racked up hefty medical expenses due to your injuries, you will likely be tempted to accept the offer they put forth. Truthfully, their settlement offer may prove to be quite appealing. Or at least it may seem that way if you did not know any better.
Do not forget that the insurer is aiming to avoid a large payout. Meanwhile, the other party’s lawyer is trying to minimize the potential financial cost that this case could have on their client.
The other party’s representatives are probably not offering you a good deal. It would be better to avoid talking to them altogether. Alternatively, you can also ask your lawyer to speak to them.
Report the Incident to Animal Control
Reporting what happened to animal control is important for two reasons.
First off, informing animal control allows them to investigate the dog. They can investigate the case and determine if the dog that attacked you is dangerous. If they deem it dangerous, they can take further action to minimize the threat it poses to your community.
Secondly, you can also learn more information about the dog after speaking to animal control. If that dog has attacked someone in the past, then animal control can tell you about that.
Hire a Dog Bite Lawyer
Lastly, you will need to hire a lawyer if you are aiming to recoup compensation from the dog owner. Dog bite cases can get complicated.
According to Texas Law, a dog owner can be liable for the attack if they were criminally negligent in securing their pet and if the attack was unprovoked and occurred away from their property.
An owner can also be responsible if their pet attacked someone unprovoked and they already knew that their dog was dangerous.
Proving that the attack was unprovoked or that the owner was negligent will be critical to the success of your lawsuit. You must partner with a skilled lawyer who can clearly illustrate those facts in your case.
The other side may also claim that you were trespassing, and that was the reason behind the attack. Refuting that bogus claim will be easier if you have an experienced attorney on your side.
Securing expert legal assistance is important if you want to receive compensation following an unprovoked dog attack. Allow us at Barrus Injury Lawyers to provide that service. Contact us today and let us handle your dog bite case.