Sometimes dogs may seem well-trained or innocent, but they act on instinct and hurt people.
If you or a loved one becomes a dog bite victim, it’s essential to take the proper steps to treat the injury and document the scene. Here are five steps to take directly after a dog bite:
- Take a deep breath
Right after a dog bites you, you’ll want to try to stay as calm as possible. It can be a traumatic experience and you might even stitches. But before scurrying off, it can be helpful to stick around momentarily to gather some information about the dog and the scene. Collecting yourself can help you make sure you don’t miss any factors that may help your case if you choose to file an insurance claim or lawsuit.
- Clean the cut
You’ll want to have a medical professional look at your wound to determine the best treatment route. Cleaning the cut as soon as you can is crucial to prevent infection, especially when there is the potential that the dog that bit you might not be up to date on their rabies vaccination.
- Document the scene
If your injury isn’t extremely severe, it can be useful to take notes and snap photos of the scene of the incident. If the owner is present, be sure to exchange contact information with them. That way, you’ll be able to follow-up to learn the dog’s vaccination history and have someone to reach if you decide to take legal action. You can also gather witness statements and jot down any events that led up to the incident while it’s still fresh on your mind. And, if possible, take photos of the location and your wound.
- Report the incident
Whether you know the dog and owner or not, it’s essential to let the animal control agency in your area that a dog bit you. This will help you have more documentation to provide as you build a case. And this action will also help prevent the same dog from biting another person.
After having a doctor assess your wound and recording as much information about the event as you can, a personal injury attorney can help you navigate the claims process.