What to do if you have been bitten by a dog
There are at least 70 million dogs in the United States and an estimated 4.5 million dog bite incidents each year according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Being attacked by a dog can be a traumatic experience, so it is important to know ahead of time what to do if you or a member of your family is injured by a dog bite.
Stopping the Attack
The first thing to do is to stop the attack. This may seem obvious, but doing it safely and effectively requires that you know the proper technique to use. Try to put something between yourself and the dog to distract it. This could be a jacket, a backpack or any object you might have in your hands. Larger objects, such as a bicycle, can be used to shield you from the attacking dog or to deflect it away from you. At some point, the dog should lose interest in the attack and move away from you.
Notify the Authorities
Contact the police or animal control agency to report the attack. Identifying and catching the dog is essential in order to determine if it has rabies, learn if it has a history of aggressive behavior and find out the name of the owner. It will also help to prevent attacks on other people
Seek Medical Attention
A dog bite that does not cause a puncture or laceration may still cause significant damage to underlying tissue and tendons. An attacking dog can apply up to 450 pounds of pressure when it bites. This could be enough to fracture bones.
Puncture wounds might appear to be minor, but dog bites can lead to infection. If the dog that attacked you cannot be caught and observed for signs of rabies, your doctor might recommend rabies treatment which is a series of painful injections. If you have not recently received a tetanus shot, a doctor treating an open wound might recommend one.
Medical treatment for a dog bite usually begins by cleansing the wound to remove debris and saliva that might have gotten into it during the attack. Depending upon the extent of the injuries, a doctor might use sutures to close the wound. A plastic surgeon might be brought in to consult with the treating physician on the best course of treatment to minimize scarring. Some injuries, such as deep tissue damage or fractures might require surgery.
Take Photos of your Injuries
You should take photographs of your injuries as soon after the dog bite as possible. If possible, take photos both before and after the injuries have been treated.
Write a Detailed Description of the Dog Attack
It is easy to forget details of a dog bite or a dog attack, so you should write down your recollection of what happened as soon after the incident as possible. If police were called to the scene of the dog bite, get a copy of their report.
Contact a Florida Dog Bite Attorney
You may be entitled to compensation from the owner of the dog that attacked you or from the owner of the property on which the dog was being kept. Depending upon the extent of your injuries, you may be entitled to recover the cost of your medical care, pain and suffering, lost earnings and other damages you suffered due to the attack.
The attorneys at The Felicetti Law Firm P.C. represent dog bite victims in Tallahassee, Miami and throughout Florida. Learn more about how we can help you to receive the maximum compensation you deserve by scheduling a consultation with one of our dedicated attorneys.
Call us today at (800) 707-1954, or contact us through our website.