No one wants to end up with a dog bite, but the reality is that many people are bitten by these common pets each year. Annually, around 4.7 million bites happen, and 800,000 of those cases end up requiring medical treatment.
Interestingly, it’s more common for smaller dogs to bite, such as Chihuahuas, and poodles have been named as some of the most vicious dogs in the country.
If you are bitten, there are some important steps to take to protect yourself and make sure you’re on the path to healing.
- Get medical attention immediately
When you’re bitten by a dog, the first step should be to seek medical attention. You may be bleeding or have puncture wounds, both of which can be dangerous. If blood loss is a concern, make sure to use a tourniquet and call 911 for help. If you have puncture wounds, seek medical attention even if they’re not bleeding profusely. Puncture wounds can easily become infected, which may be life-threatening in some cases.
While it’s unlikely that a family pet will have rabies or distemper, tetanus or other diseases, you still want to seek medical attention to see if you need vaccinations or other medical treatments.
- Get the animal’s medical records
While you’re in the hospital, the pet’s owner or someone who is with you should try to get the pet’s medical records. This may help the medical team plan your treatment.
- Get in touch with the owner and state that you’ll be making a claim
After you’re medically stable, let the owner know that you would like to make a claim. Most people carry homeowner’s insurance or pet insurance that will cover at least a portion of your medical expenses and other losses. If there is not enough coverage, remember that the individual who owns the dog is at fault automatically in most cases. As a result, they can be held liable for any injuries (and expenses) that happen as a result of their dog’s actions.
As a victim, your priority should be to get medical care. Then, you can pursue a claim to get compensated.