What Should You Know About Dog Bites?

Approximately 4.7 million Americans suffer from dog bites every year and the majority of dog bite victims are between the ages of five and nine. Twenty percent of dog bite victims must receive medical attention.

What Should You Do If Bitten by a Dog?

First aid is the first step and WebMD recommends you do the following:

  • Place a clean towel over the injury to stop the bleeding
  • Try to keep the injured area elevated
  • Wash the bite area gently with soap and water
  • Apply antibiotic ointment to the inured area to prevent infection
  • Apply a sterile bandage to cover the wound

What Should You Expect During Your Doctor Visit?

Your doctor will ask you about the following:

  • Whether you know the dog’s owner
  • Whether the dog was provoked to bite or unprovoked
  • Whether you have health conditions that could suppress your immune system, such as diabetes, liver disease or other conditions

Depending on how deep the bite is, your doctor may examine the wound to determine whether there was muscle, tendons, nerve or bone damage. It may be necessary to remove dead tissue. The doctor will thoroughly clean the wound to remove dirt and bacteria, and you may require sutures to keep the wound closed.

What Legal Action May Be Appropriate?

By gathering all the information possible, you can help an attorney decide whether grounds exist to bring legal action.

The following are steps to take that could help with a lawsuit:

  • Take pictures of the dog and the dog’s owner
  • Take pictures of the bite wound
  • Keep notes of what occurred as soon as possible after the incident so you include all the details. Write down a description of the dog, how the bite occurred, and what injuries you sustained and the dog owner’s name.
  • Retain records of your medical expenses, lost wages, and other expenses related to the injury.

Seek legal counsel as soon as possible if your dog bite injury is serious. At Sackstein Sackstein & Lee, LLP, we offer a free initial consultation to discuss the injury and the prospects of taking legal action.