Legal Guide

5 Things to Do After a Dog Bite

5 Things to Do After a Dog Bite

I'm sure you've heard the saying, "It's a dog-eat-dog world."

Well, what happens when it's a DOG who eats YOU?

It's not all that uncommon. In fact, there are more than 4.5 million people in the United States who get bit by dogs each year. And while that may sound shocking, it makes sense: there are an estimated 78.2 million dogs in the United States alone.

A dog bite can be more than just scary and traumatic—especially if you don't know what to do afterwards. Because even though dogs are mostly considered domesticated animals, they're still animals at heart—and sometimes they act like it. So even if you think your typical morning walk can't turn into a disaster, you never know!

To help you prepare for the unexpected, here are 5 things to do after a dog bite:

1. Seek Medical Care:

Much like any other animal, dogs can carry diseases in their saliva. If you are bitten by a dog, the first thing that you should do is seek medical care. Even if it is a minor bite, your skin has been broken and you are at risk of contracting an infection.

Infections are especially common if the biting dog was not vaccinated. It is also possible that the dog had rabies, which can lead to serious complications if not treated immediately.

2. Gather Information:

If possible, gather information about the dog and its owner. You'll want to get the contact information of any witnesses as well. If you plan on filing a claim, your attorney will need this information to make your case.

A dog bite can cause serious injury. If you've been attacked by a dog, it's important that you take action to protect yourself and your family from harm. Seek medical care immediately and contact an experienced attorney who can help you file an insurance claim or lawsuit against the owner of the animal.

3. Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer:

Fresno dog bite attorney Richard Patterson says: “If the dog owner was negligent, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills and other damages”. A personal injury lawyer will review your case and advise you on what your options are. They'll also give you an idea of how much you might be able to recover from the at-fault party.

4. Do Not Discuss Who Is Responsible:

If you have suffered a serious injury in a dog attack, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the owner of the dog to receive compensation for your injuries. However, it is important that you do not discuss who was responsible for the dog attack with anyone else. Anything you say could be used against you in court. If anyone asks who was responsible for the attack or who owns the dog, politely decline to answer their questions.

5. Animal Control:

If you have been bitten by a stray, rabid, or unidentified animal, contact animal control immediately. You may not know if the animal carries a disease that could be transferred through saliva or open wounds. You may also not be familiar with the animal’s veterinarian history and rabies vaccination status. Animal Control can help you identify the animal and take appropriate action. You can call your local animal control or visit the website of the Humane Society of the United States to find an agency in your area.


According to experts who write for us on legal topics, while most dog bites are accidental, if you are bitten by a service animal that is working, the situation becomes more complicated. Service animals are trained to provide support to people with disabilities and have special access rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If you are bitten by a service dog that is wearing a vest or other gear indicating it is a working service animal, you should still seek medical attention as needed. However, you generally cannot sue the owner of a working service animal for a bite. It's important to remain calm and not distract a service dog that is doing its job. If the bite seems intentional or the animal poses an ongoing threat, calling animal control may be appropriate. Otherwise, try to give working service dogs their space. Getting bitten by any dog can be a traumatic experience. Following these steps can help you take care of your injury and explore your options if someone else is legally responsible.

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