What should you do after a dog bite?

Our Blog | September 18, 2018

Smart dog owners understand that even the friendliest, gentlest pet is unpredictable. Dogs can provide companionship and protection. However, when they feel afraid, frustrated or cornered, they may react by biting, growling or other aggression. If you have ever suffered a bite from a dog, you know how painful it can be.

In California, dog owners are responsible for the actions of their pets even if they never suspected the animal would attack. To improve the chances that you or your child will recover medically and financially from a dog bite, there are steps you can take.

Getting medical treatment

The first step after any injury is to seek medical help. Dog bites can be dangerous even if they are not deep. While deep bite from a strong dog may cause bleeding, muscle damage and even broken bones, the germs in a dog’s mouth should also cause concern anytime a bite breaks the surface of the skin.

Rabies is a dangerous and deadly virus a dog may spread to you or your child through its saliva. If the dog owner has not kept the animal’s vaccinations up to date, you or your child may suffer through the painful treatment. Even if the dog is properly vaccinated, you may be at risk of infection, so it is important to get medical care as soon as possible after a dog bite.

Other important steps to take

The cost of medical treatment after a dog bite can add up quickly. You may need stitches, antibiotics and pain medication. A severe bite may require reconstructive surgery or result in permanent scarring, disfigurement or nerve or muscle damage.

Whether you plan to seek compensation from an insurance company or through a civil lawsuit, you will need to document the incident. You can do this in the following ways:

  • Obtain information from the dog’s owner including the name of the animal’s vet.
  • Speak to witnesses and write down their contact information.
  • Call animal control and ask them to take your report of the dog bite. Under California law any time a dog bites the animal must be quarantined.
  • Take pictures of the injuries throughout the healing process.
  • Write down your memory of the events as soon as possible to avoid forgetting important details.
  • Keep a log of any expenses and hardships related to the injuries.

You may try to get payment from the dog owner’s insurance company, but how can you be sure they are offering you a fair settlement? A reliable Sacramento dog bite lawyer will know how to calculate the total cost, including time you miss from work and future expenses that may arise.