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What to Do If You’re Bitten By a Dog

Whilst most dogs are happy to be loyal and loving companions for the rest of their lives, even the most placid and docile of canines can snap under certain circumstances. As a result, millions of people are bitten by dogs each year; even if a dog is anything but violent in their day to day life, many dogs can become defensive if they feel a need to protect the people or places that they know and love. However, dog bite injuries can have significant medical, financial and legal ramifications, so it’s important to know what to do if you are bitten. We’ve put together a list of the most important steps to take.

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#1. Get Medical Attention:

The first thing that you should do if you have been bitten by a dog is seek medical attention. Even if the bite isn’t particularly serious, you should at the very least be seen by a first-aider and make sure that the wound is thoroughly cleaned, disinfected and covered to prevent any nasty infections and other complications. And, since some dogs are not vaccinated against rabies, even the smallest of puncture wounds can become serious if left untreated. If possible, it’s a wise idea to take pictures of your wounds before treatment, so that you have a more accurate account of the harm done.

#2. Exchange Information:

Similar to the aftermath of a car accident, you should ask for contact information from the dog’s owner so that you can easily get in touch with them after the incident, particularly so that you can verify the dog’s vaccination history. You might also want to get contact information for their vet to make this easier. Whether you were bitten by a dog or have a dog who’s bitten somebody else, it’s a good idea to take down any witness information of people at the scene. If there is any need for an insurance claim or lawsuit as a result, witnesses can provide a more detailed, accurate picture of what exactly happened.

#3. Contacting an Attorney:

In some cases, a dog bite will not be serious and after cleaning the wound and verifying that the dog is fully vaccinated, all you’ll need to do is have patience while it heals. However, in the case of serious injury, you might wish to consider taking legal action against the dog’s owners. Because dog bites are a rather common occurrence, there are attorneys who specialize in handling dog bite insurance claims, lawsuits and settlements. Hiring an attorney can be the best path when it comes to dealing with the other party’s insurance company and when negotiating a settlement; they will know the tactics used to try and lower the settlement and be able to help you get the maximum amount of compensation. Check out this San Diego dog bite lawyer for more information.

#4. Documentation:

Once you have contacted an attorney, they will likely advise you to document as much information relating to the bite as possible. In addition to any photographs that you took in the immediate aftermath, it’s a wise idea to keep a diary in which you can account how it has impacted your life, such as needing to take time from work, being unable to participate in activities and hobbies, and any effects such as pain or being unable to perform certain functions. You should also include any relevant medical records, photographs, and proof of loss of income to make your claim stronger.

Most dogs won’t bite you, but even the friendliest pet can snap if they are scared or overexcited. If you’ve been bitten by somebody else’s dog, knowing which steps to take afterwards will ensure that you have a speedy recovery.

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