What to do After a Dog Bite

Few things are scarier than being attacked by an animal, especially if that animal is known affectionately as ‘man’s best friend.’ A variety of injuries including severe puncture wounds, nerve damage, and lacerations can occur from dog attacks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in five dog bites is serious enough to require medical attention.

Dog Bites: Just the Facts

• Approximately 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every year.
• About 885,000 of those victims require medical attention.
Half of those victims are children.
• 27,000 people underwent some type of reconstructive surgery due to a dog bite in 2012.

Dog Bite Injuries

Dog bites can cause serious damage to skin, tissues, bones, nerves, muscles, blood vessels and tendons. Depending on the severity of the bite or attack, multiple reconstructive surgeries may be necessary. Children, who are quite often bit in the face and neck area when attacked, will require expert attention from a plastic surgeon to limit scarring. Keeping an eye out for infection may also be an important part of your doctor’s treatment plan. If immunization status of the dog is in question, a rabies shot may be in order. Additionally, a doctor may also suggest a tetanus shot. In addition to the physical injuries involved with dog bites, victims often have to deal with pain, suffering and emotional damage that goes along with being attacked.

Who is at Fault?

At the end of the day, a dog owner is responsible for the actions of his or her pet. California has strict-liability laws regarding dog bites. This means that the ‘one-bite free’ rule and ‘provocation’ defense don’t apply. Regardless of situation or circumstance, dogs should always be under the control of their owners and handlers.

What to do After a Dog Bite?

Even seemingly mild bites should be medically evaluated. Puncture wounds are common with dog bites, and they are often much more serious than they initially look. If you or a loved one has been bitten or attacked by a dog, you should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Medical bills for multiple reconstructive surgeries can be incredibly expensive. An attorney can look after your rights, while you recover from your injuries.

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