Dogs may seem friendly and cute, but they are also dangerous. If a dog bites you, this can lead to severe injuries and permanent scars. Do not approach a dog or assume it is friendly. Even if you have interacted with the animal in the past, this does not mean it will not harm you today. Many dog owners will say their dog is friendly when it is not. Assume that every dog you see will cause you harm.
Dog attacks are unexpected. You can be minding your business going for a walk, and suddenly, a dog comes out of nowhere and attacks you. If it is a stray dog, you may have fewer options. However, if the dog has an owner nearby, the pet owner will be liable for your damages. You will need to contact an experienced dog bite injury lawyer to review the accident and possible legal recourse.
You will need to know how to care for your wound, as it will take time to heal. You will need to wash the wound using soap and water for five to 10 minutes. Next, apply antibiotic cream and wrap the wound with a bandage. You will need to check your injury every few days to look for an infection. You will also need to change the bandaging a couple of times a day.
These are the basics of wound care. These steps will not apply to your injury if it is more catastrophic, and this advice does not replace doctors’ orders. Always meet with your doctor and proceed with their instructions. Your doctor will determine the best medical care for your specific injury during a medical examination.
Seek Medical Attention
When you see a doctor, they will want some background information on how the injury occurred. The doctor will ask about the dog and what led to the injury. Next, they will clean the wound even if you have already cleaned it. The doctor will then conduct a thorough examination of the damage to determine the extent of the injury. Your doctor will need to know when you last had a tetanus shot.
You may need a booster shot if it was over ten years ago or you cannot remember. This information is vital as dogs carry various diseases that humans cannot fight off.
Depending on the severity of your wound, your doctor will give you stitches. In most cases, the doctor will leave the wound open to heal. There are other procedures for wounds on the face, which can lead to permanent disfigurement. If the dog bite was especially horrific, surgery is crucial. Injury victims may need to meet with a plastic surgeon to discuss treatment for possible scars.
The goal of your doctors will be to avoid infection and scarring. There are times when this is not possible due to how bad the injury was. While medical attention is essential, you will also need to take pictures of the wound for legal purposes before it heals-the sooner, the better.
Injuries From a Dog Attack
A dog bite can lead to a series of injuries aside from abrasions. Even a minor injury can cause lifelong scars.
Some dog bite injuries you can suffer include:
- Lacerations: Deep cuts and tears are common from dog bites. They go past the epidermis and can reach muscles, bones, and even blood vessels in severe cases.
- Infection: Bacteria from the dog’s mouth can quickly course through your system. This bacteria will lead to disease and can even cause other health concerns.
- Punctures: Dogs have sharp teeth, which can puncture your skin. They can be surface-level or deep cuts.
- Rabies: A type of infection often seen from dog bites is rabies. Dog owners are required to get rabies shots for their dogs. Sadly, many dog owners do not stay updated on these regulations leaving others in danger.
- Avulsion: A dog can rip off your skin and tissue. These are very extreme injuries and always lead to reconstructive surgery. There is also a range of lifelong side effects victims will suffer.
- Scarring: Any dog bite injury can cause you to have a permanent scar. This injury also results in social humiliation and psychological trauma. You may need to undergo skin grafts or laser therapy to reduce scarring.
- Crushing injuries: If the dog was a larger breed, it might cause crushing injuries. Their jaws are also powerful, which results in the ability to break bones and damage your muscles. Children are the most susceptible to dog crushing injuries.
- Nerve damage: In severe cases, the dog can damage the nerves. Severe cases result in permanent paralysis. You can have a temporary loss of function in the area of the body where the dog bit you.
- Death: The worst outcome is death. This outcome is not uncommon, and children are the most at risk of death by dogs.
Seek medical attention immediately and document your injury and other pertinent information. You will need all of these documents when meeting with a local dog bite injury lawyer.
Documenting Your Injury
A dog bite injury case is very complex, and you will need as much evidence as possible for a successful claim. Injury victims will need to document the injury and aftermath as this provides critical evidence to the dog bite injury attorney handling your case. Documentation comes in various forms. Medical records are one form of documentation, and it is often unbiased. Doctors are highly respected, and they do gain anything by picking sides.
Another way to document your injuries is by taking pictures. We mentioned you need to take pictures before your wound heals. Take pictures while at the hospital and every month as a rule of thumb. You must prove that the injury has left a long-lasting or permanent scar.
Physical injuries are not the only ones that dog bite victims suffer. There are also psychological concerns. You will need to begin to write in a journal. As soon as you can after the accident, start detailing the incident, such as where you were, what you were doing, what time and day it was, and anything else you can remember from the accident. This first account of your injury is entry number one in your journal. Continue to add journal entries detailing how restrictive your life has been, your pain levels, and the emotional repercussions.
Filing a dog bite injury claim means there will be a lot of communication between you and others. The insurance company will send you several different documents. You should create a file where you store any documents related to your case. Dog bite injury victims should also keep receipts for any out-of-pocket expenses incurred.
Your file should even include the receipt for a bottle of aspirin. A dog bite injury attorney will compile an accurate expense report with these documents. To be reimbursed fully, you need every single receipt.
The file you compile will determine the total cost of your expenses. However, several other factors go into calculating compensation for a dog bite injury.
The severity of your injuries is critical. If the dog attack is likely to cause disfigurement, you are entitled to substantial compensation. Even if cosmetic options are available, these procedures and surgeries are incredibly costly. Health insurance does not cover cosmetic treatments. You will either have to pay out of pocket or have the dog owner pay for your treatment.
Medical expenses are another major factor in compensation.
Your initial costs will be calculated, including:
- Ambulance transport
- First aid
- Hospital expenses
Compensation calculations must also include other treatments and future treatments in these calculations.
These treatments include:
- Plastic surgery
- Scar revision procedures
- Future medications
- Plastic surgery
These are standard medical costs, and many others can be involved in your specific circumstances.
If you had to take time off work for medical procedures or due to an impairment, you are eligible to recover lost wages. If you are permanently impaired, you can also recover future lost wages. This figure also includes disability and sick time you may not have used otherwise.
Finally, you will include pain and suffering damages in your compensation claim. These damages are significant for dog bite injuries. You may experience chronic pain, which you must account for in the demand package. The psychological toll this accident has caused you must also be considered.
You may now fear dogs and will avoid public places where people bring dogs. You also have to face the emotional distress of living with a permanent scar. While you will seek therapy and other remedies, you will never fully recover.
Who Is Liable for a Dog Bite?
Several parties can be liable for a dog attack aside from the dog owner. Renters should purchase renters insurance for their protection. However, renters are not required to buy an insurance policy. Landlords hold some responsibility for the actions of their tenants.
A landlord should always carry insurance, and you may need to file your claim against their insurance policy. Discuss this option with a dog bite injury attorney.
Other parties that can be held liable for a dog bite include veterinarians, pet hotels, and dog groomers. Suppose anyone in these facilities was aware of a dangerous or aggressive dog on the premises, and they did nothing to remove them. In that case, the facility is liable for accidents. In most other cases, the dog owner is responsible when on public or private property.
The key to winning these cases is finding the right insurance policy. This goal is challenging to achieve without a dog bite injury attorney. Dog owners may not disclose their insurance status or plan without a local dog bite attorney letter of protection. Typically these claims will go through renters insurance or homeowners insurance. If the dog owner has neither, they are still responsible for your injuries. You may not obtain fair compensation without an insurance policy, however.
A Dog Bite Injury Attorney Can Help
Suffering a dog bite injury requires extensive medical treatment. You will likely miss several days or weeks of work while you attempt to recover. You can also become permanently disfigured or impaired and never work in the same capacity you did before.
A local dog bite injury lawyer will look at the evidence related to the case and fight for your rights. Next, an attorney will determine liability and seek compensation for your injury and damages.
You need to focus on recovery from such a horrific event rather than the legal battle ahead. Present all evidence you have to a dog bite injury attorney to recover the necessary compensation.