Although dogs are often viewed as harmless and friendly companions, the truth is that thousands people suffer painful dog bite injuries each year across the United States. In fact, more than 3,600 dog-related injury claims were paid out just by State Farm in 2017 alone, and over 14% of those claims originated here in California.
If you’re not expecting a vicious dog attack, you may feel shocked and emotionally overwhelmed in the aftermath. In spite of that shock, it’s critical to take the correct steps to care for your wounds and prepare for an injury claim. Aside from your immediate medical needs, a dog bite claim may be able to account for your psychological trauma, your physical pain, and any lost wages as you recover from your experience.
Here’s what you should do in the event of a dog bite injury:
- Exchange information with the dog’s owner. Like a car accident, it’s important to ask the dog’s owner for their name, address, contact information, and any relevant insurance policy numbers. Not only will this make it easier to verify the dog’s vaccination history and medical records, but it will allow you to file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit later on.
- Perform basic first aid to ward off infections. Although dog bites can cause profuse bleeding and even affect your muscles, infection is usually the number one medical concern with a dog bite. If you were bitten by a neglected or unvaccinated dog, there’s also a high risk of contracting diseases like tetanus or rabies. To stabilize the area, flush out the wound with water and mild soap, and apply antibiotic cream and a sterile cloth bandage.
- Seek out immediate medical attention. Once you’ve bandaged your dog bite wound, experts recommend visiting a doctor within the following 8 hours. Even with initial first aid, the bacteria in a dog’s mouth can easily get into your bloodstream through their razor-sharp teeth. You may require intravenous antibiotics or stitches, and depending on the severity of the bite, your doctor might recommend an overnight hospital stay to monitor your vital signs.
- Take pictures of your injuries. Getting photos of your injuries, the scene of the accident, and even the owner’s house may not seem particularly useful after a dog bite, but photographic evidence can prove invaluable in a personal injury case. By showing the conditions under which you were bitten, you may be able to strengthen your claim that the owner was negligent.
- File a report with Animal Control. Once you’ve seen a doctor, you may want to file an official report with your local animal control agency. They may decide to launch their own investigation into the case, and this can help you in the long run.
Holding Negligent Dog Owners Accountable
Dogs may bite you, but it’s the owners that are most often to blame for allowing their pets to hurt you. Because so many dog bite incidents are prompted by owner abuse, lack of proper supervision, and outright negligence, the state of California allows you to pursue a full personal injury claim if you’ve been hurt by a dog.
At Del Rio & Caraway, P.C., our Sacramento injury team can assist you with that process. Bringing decades of experience to every case, our responsive and caring team will communicate openly with you as you navigate the legal system. By seeking compensation, we’ll aim to ensure that you can cover any medical bills, and get peace of mind for the future.
Do you think that you have a dog bite injury case? Give us a call at (916) 229-6755 today.