Getting bitten by a dog is painful. It’s also a frightening experience, both before, during, and after—you don’t know how serious the wound is or whether there are diseases or infections you need to be worrying about. You have no idea if the incident really “never happened before,” as the dog owner said or if it’s something that’s going to happen to someone else someday soon.

It can be tempting to put the whole scenario behind you and move on with your life, the wound is healing, and you don’t feel quite so nervous when you walk past someone and their dog. The following will explore some of the reasons you might not want to give in to this desire—why it might be best to seek out a legal professional and do your best to ensure that someone else isn’t in the same situation in the future.

Seek Medical Attention

Before we begin, it’s crucial that if you were bitten by a dog, you seek proper medical attention. Given the shape of a dog’s teeth, wounds from dog bites tend to be open and jagged. This is the perfect scenario for infection, especially given that around half of dog bites introduce bacteria (like staphylococcus, Pasteurella, capnocytophaga, and streptococcus) to the wound.

Follow appropriate first-aid steps (clean and cover, so it stays clean) and if the wound is more than you can comfortably handle, go to the doctor. Depending on the severity of the situation, you might need to be hospitalized or have antibiotics delivered intravenously. 

You might also need to look into rabies vaccinations. It is vital that you see a doctor within eight hours of the bite; waiting any longer means you have an increased risk for infection. Those who have diabetes or are immunocompromised have an even greater risk.

Don’t Continue To Interact With The Animal.

If you’ve been bitten by an unknown dog, don’t spend any time trying to stop, catch, or hold the animal. If you feel it is necessary, contact animal control as soon as possible and provide a detailed description of the animal and the last location the dog was seen.

dog bite

Reach Out To A Legal Professional

Being bitten by a dog can have serious consequences in terms of suffering, cost of treatment or loss of wages for time missed due to hospital visits. Speaking to a lawyer after the incident will give a professional time to evaluate your particular situation and present to you the options available given the incident. It’s always best to do this before dealing with the dog owner, insurance companies, or other parties involved.

When seeking out an attorney, look for someone who practices in the state where the incident occurred and someone who specializes in the particular kind of law you’re dealing with—in this case, personal injury. The law varies between states, and even in scenarios where the law isn’t so different, the way the law is interpreted and applied can vary drastically.

 Beyond this, every area of law requires years of focused practice and experience to master. It might even be best to seek out someone local; points out that there are specific strategies used by those involved in serious injury cases to keep payouts low. An attorney will know what sort of evidence to gather and how to present it no matter who you’re dealing with (dog owner, insurance companies, or other parties). For instance, if you were bitten multiple times successively, legally, you weren’t bitten by a dog; you were attacked by one. This sort of information can only help you determine which course of action needs to be taken.

Reporting The Crime

An attorney will also know the proper steps you need to take to report the crime. After a dog has bitten someone, they are typically required to quarantine for a few days (to reduce the risk of immediately causing someone else harm), usually at the owner’s home. In rare cases where the owner disobeys these rules, or the animal is considered too dangerous for traditional quarantine, the dog might be taken to a shelter to quarantine with professionals. 

The animal will be investigated to determine whether a repeat incident is likely or not. The animal will also be tested for diseases or illnesses that you need to be aware of to better your treatment and recovery.

The above information should have made it clear that you need to be reporting dog bites and dog attacks as it can be part of a larger public safety issue or a personal health issue if the dog has spread disease to you. A lawyer can help you throughout the process and give you legally sound advice about the best course of action.