What to do if You’ve Been Bitten by a Dog
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every year in the U.S. Unfortunately, many of these bites prove to be not only painful, but also dangerous for victims, as one in five of those who are bitten by dogs require medical attention of some kind. Although the cost of treatment and related losses can often be recovered from the owner of the dangerous animal in question, doing so can be difficult, especially for those who have not taken certain steps, including carefully documenting the incident, retaining all medical records, and hiring an experienced Fort Lauderdale dog bite lawyer.
Obtain Medical Treatment
One of the most important things that a dog bite victim can do after an attack is to obtain medical treatment from his or her primary care doctor, urgent care clinic, or emergency room, where the wound can be cleaned and treated. Depending on the bite’s placement, the healthcare provider in question could choose to stitch the wound, especially if there are concerns about scarring, and could also provide the patient with a prescription for antibiotics, or in severe cases, surgically repair any damaged muscles, ligaments, or tendons.
Dog bite victims should also be careful to seek immediate medical attention if they begin seeing signs of infection, such as redness, pain, and swelling around the site of the wound, or begin experiencing fever or chills. Some of the bacteria that can be transmitted via a dog bite is extremely dangerous to humans and if left unaddressed, could even prove deadly.
Document the Incident
It is also important for those who have been bitten by a dog to carefully document the incident as soon as possible after obtaining medical treatment. This could include taking some or all of the following steps:
- Taking photos of the injury;
- Taking photos of the scene of the accident;
- Taking photos of the dog;
- Collecting the name and contact information of the dog’s owner, along with any information about the dog’s vaccinations;
- Obtaining the name and contact information of any witnesses who saw the attack; and
- Collecting video recordings from nearby security, traffic cameras, or cell phones that may have captured the incident.
This evidence can play a crucial role in proving that a dog was off-leash at the time of the attack, was on public property, or was otherwise behaving in a particularly vicious manner.
Report the Incident
After obtaining treatment and documenting their injuries, dog bite victims should be sure to report the attack to the proper authorities, including the at-fault party and victim’s homeowner’s associations, law enforcement officials, and animal control. The latter will conduct an investigation into the incident and determine whether there is cause to quarantine the animal or label it as a dangerous dog, while the former will begin the process of filing a claim with the parties’ insurers.
Call Today with Your Questions and Concerns
If you have questions about your legal options following a dog bite or what to do after being attacked, please call the Fort Lauderdale dog bite attorneys at Boone & Davis for a free consultation at 954-566-9919 today.