Over 38% of all households in the United States own at least one dog. Unfortunately, such a close relationship with ‘Man’s Best Friend’ also leads to an enormous number of bites – over 4.7 million per year. While most dog bites are insignificant, over 20% of those bites require medical treatment.
Due to the many types of harmful bacteria found in the mouths of dogs, infection is a very real concern. One in five dog bites will become infected, requiring a course of antibiotics.
What to do if You or a Loved One Are Bitten
1 – Treat the Wound
- For minor wounds:
- Wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water.
- Apply an antibiotic cream.
- Cover the wound with a clean bandage.
- See a healthcare provider if the wound becomes red, painful, warm, or swollen; if you develop a fever; or if the dog that bit you was acting strangely.
- For deep wounds:
- Apply pressure with a clean, dry cloth to stop the bleeding.
- If you cannot stop the bleeding or you feel faint or weak, call 911 or your local emergency medical services immediately.
- See a healthcare provider as soon as possible.
- See a healthcare provider:
- If the wound is serious (uncontrolled bleeding, loss of function, extreme pain, muscle or bone exposure, etc.).
- If the wound becomes red, painful, warm, or swollen, or if you develop a fever.
- If you don’t know if the dog has been vaccinated against rabies.
- If it has been more than 5 years since your last tetanus shot and the bite is deep.
2 – Report the Incident to Local Authorities
- After you have carefully cleaned, disinfected and wrapped the wound or sought medical treatment, you should report the bite to appropriate authorities. This may include Animal Control and the Police. In Montgomery County, Ohio, Animal Control can be reached at (937) 898-4457. State law requires that all potential rabies exposures be reported to the Department of Public Health as part of the Rabies Control Program. The dog will be quarantined for 10 days to check for rabies infection.
3 – Identify Witnesses
Find anyone who was witness to the attack, the aftermath or the medical treatment. Record their name and contact information. This can be absolutely vital to establishing a claim against the owner in order to be compensated for your medical treatment and injuries.
4 – Document with Photographs
Once the dog has been secured and the victim no longer in immediate danger, take as many photos as possible. Take photos of the injury and the area in which the attack occurred.
5 – Consult with an Experienced Dog Bite Lawyer
In most cases, a dog bite lawsuit will be defended by the homeowner’s insurance company, who will try anything to avoid a lengthy and expensive court battle. They will offer you a low-ball settlement that is often a fraction of what your suit is rightfully worth.
The experienced Dog Bite Attorneys at Cowan & Hilgeman know insurance company settlement tactics inside and out, and will not stop fighting until you get the compensation you deserve. In addition to being repaid for your medical treatment, Cowan & Hilgeman may also negotiate payment for:
- Pain and suffering
- Psychological and emotional distress / trauma
- Lost wages
If you or a loved one has been injured by a dog, call the trusted Dayton Personal Injury Attorneys, Cowan & Hilgeman, to schedule your FREE consultation – (937) 222-2030.