Course of action if you are bitten by a dog
What would you do if you were bitten by a dog?
Dog bites are pretty quick to happen. As a matter of fact most dog bites come unexpected mostly because many people of unaware of the dog's body language. If you were bit by a dog you are in very good company, according to the CDC (Centers for disease control) website, every year approximately 4.7 million people are bit in the U.S.A. That's about 2% of the population!
The few first minutes following a dog bite are the crucial ones because they will be decisive on many factors. You have many rights when you are attacked by a dog so it is fundamental that you do everything correctly so to carefully preserve these rights.
1) First of all even though you may be shocked try your best to take a mental picture of the dog. If the dog bit and ran away, very likely it was a stray. You will need to give a good detailed description concerning the dog's breed, color and size to animal control officers so they can look for the dog and hopefully capture it.
2) Of course seek immediate medical attention even if the bite appears minor. When skin is broken by a dog bite it is very likely to become infected. While waiting, wash the wound with soap and water to clean the area up from bacteria and control the bleeding.
3) Report the bite to your local health department.They should be able to inform you about the dog's rabies vaccination status. Do not trust the owner if he is stating his dog is "up to date" on all its shots. If the dog ends up being a stray and its whereabouts are unknown, you will be required to undergo extensive rabies treatments which can turn out being pretty painful.
4) It is also very helpful to report the incident to your local animal control office and your local police department.
5) If the is owner is identified then you are very likely entitled to compensation because of the dog bite law. The compensation will be for all medical bills, pain and suffering and loss of earnings from work as well. Get the dog owner's information, address and contact numbers.
6) As soon as possible take good pictures of the bite wound as this may be helpful in a court of law.
7) Consult an attorney as soon as possible. Many times your rights can be easily lost if there is a delay on reporting the incident. The earliest the better. Keep in mind as well that there are many attorneys specializing in dog bite incidents.
Dog's may be considered man's best friend but unfortunately dog bite incidents appear to be increasing each year. This appears to be due to improper training, back yard breeders, and owners that abuse/neglect dogs. Keep in mind that Dogs usually do not naturally attack humans unless they were trained to do so or are not properly socialized. Keep yourself away from trouble by keeping your children under control and thinking that any dog is not 100% safe. This will help reduce the number of dog bites and the negative stereotyping of certain breeds.
Never try to pet a stray dog or a dog which you are not familiar with. If a stray or unleashed dog approaches you, resist running away even though this feels like a strong urge. Rather, stand immobile as possible and allow the dog to sniff you. Tell children as well to follow these guidelines since children are the most common victims of dog bites.
These steps may hopefully prevent a dog from biting you, however in the unfortunate event you happen to be bit follow the above guidelines carefully. Your rights are in your hands, do not allow them let to escape through your fingers, leaving you with permanent physical, mental and financial scars.