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What Steps Should be Taken After a Dog Bite?

An attack from a dog can take place just about anywhere, but usually occurs in familiar settings such as a home or park, and the culprits often are dogs that are familiar to the victims. The animal’s bite may lead to serious physical as well as psychological injuries.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 20% of the people bitten by a dog need medical attention, and children are most at risk for a dog bite, typically accounting for more than just half of such injuries. A dog bite should never be taken lightly. If this situation happens, you must take important steps to protect yourself.

Seek medical treatment, report attack to police

A dog bite also may lead to extensive medical bills and lost wages, often because of the dog owner’s negligence. After a dog bite, here is some helpful advice on what to do:

  • Immediately clean the wound: Use soap and warm water, which may help prevent infection. Cover minor wounds with a clean bandage. For deeper wounds, apply pressure on the wound until the bleeding stops.
  • Seek medical treatment: Do so especially if the wound is deep and does not stop bleeding or becomes swollen, painful, warm and red. Initial treatment may include antibiotics. This may be necessary primarily if you are unsure whether the dog received a vaccination for rabies.
  • Report the attack to police: The representative from the city’s animal control unit may contact you, so please cooperate with its investigation. A police report will help your legal case.
  • Get the animal tested for rabies: This is the dog owner’s responsibility. If he or she declines, you may seek assistance from local and state authorities to get this done.
  • Contact a personal injury attorney: An experienced legal advocate will provide insight and guidance on the legal approach to seeking compensation.

Take these initial steps and consider legal action, especially if you face significant medical costs and lost wages due to missing work.

Liability rests with dog owner

When it comes to a dog bite, liability rests with the dog owner. As the victim, you have a strong legal case if the dog had vicious tendencies before the attack, the dog’s owner or caretaker was negligent and careless in handling the dog or the owner violated a local ordinance requiring the dog to be on a leash.


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