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DogBite4.5 million people are bit by dogs per year, with one out of every five requiring medical attention.

While children are more likely to be injured, the wounds resulting range from superficial cuts to punctures requiring immediate medical attention. Should something like this happen, be sure to do the following:

Clean the Wound or Get Medical Attention

How you address the wound depends upon the severity:

Superficial: Clean it with soap and water, add hydrogen peroxide or isopropyl alcohol, apply a topical antibiotic, and then cover it with a sterile bandage. Re-apply the antibiotic ointment every day.

Punctures: In the most minor cases, it’s advised to let the wound bleed before applying direct pressure. In this instance, do not use rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, iodine, or mercurochrome to clean the area. However, if the wound does not stop bleeding or if it’s to the head or neck, immediately call 911.

In treating a patient, a doctor examines how deep the wound goes, sees if there is any damage to muscles, tendons, nerves, or bones, and removes any dirt, bacteria, or dead tissue. He or she may further request stitches or prescribe an antibiotic for up to 14 days.

Should you require treatment, it is imperative to a legal case that you follow all of the doctor’s instructions.

Did You Know the Dog?: An unfamiliar animal may be a sign of rabies, especially if it seemed partially paralyzed or aggressive. In going to the emergency room, make sure you get rabies vaccination in the process. Additionally, contact Animal Control as soon as possible, so that the loose, unfamiliar dog can be caught.

Work With the Dog’s Owner

If you know the dog’s owner, obtain his or her name and contact information, and get proof that the dog’s rabies vaccinations are up to date. Once you have this information, check the latter with the dog’s veterinarian.

Evidence

Severe wounds may require extensive medical attention and time away from work. These factors may result in you pursuing a legal claim against the owner. However, before that point, it’s important to start gathering evidence to prove your case, including the following:

  • Names and addresses of any witnesses who saw you get bit.
  • Names and addresses of those who had custody of the dog.
  • Photographs of the initial wounds.
  • Filing a report with Animal Control, and then fully cooperating with the investigation.

Dealing With the Insurance Company

If the owner has his or her dog insured, you’ll likely receive a call from the insurance company not long after the incident. It’s crucial, during the call, to get the company’s name and address, telephone number, claim number, and monetary amount available for medical expenses. However, as you speak with a representative, do not discuss settlements or the owner’s responsibility – these are to be determined if your case goes to trial.

Dog bites have potential to cause serious injuries, and if an animal’s loose in the neighborhood, more may be at risk. If you find yourself requiring extensive recovery and having to pay off several medical bills, begin a claim with Trantolo & Trantolo’s experienced team of lawyers.