Dog bites are a difficult situation, especially when injuries don’t appear serious or the victim knows the animal in question. Even though there are potential consequences for dogs and their owners following violent incidents, victims should take a few basic steps to protect themselves. Avoiding the most common mistakes many people make following a bite is easy with a little bit of diligence and caution.
Delaying Medical Care
When in doubt, victims of a dog bite should always seek medical care as soon as possible. Serious bleeding or any kind of deep wound usually deserves an immediate visit to an emergency care center. Any kind of bite from an undocumented or unfamiliar animal also warrants a rabies shot as a precaution. Victims should forego these shots only if the dog’s owner has documentation proving the animal has a current vaccination against the disease.
Failing to Collect Evidence
Another common mistake people make after a violent incident with a dog is failing to collect as much evidence as they can. It’s important to talk to any potential witnesses as soon as possible to collect accurate first-hand testimony. Even if you don’t have any intention of filing a lawsuit at first, it’s a good idea to collect evidence to support your claims just in case.
Not Getting Legal Advice
The best time to start building a claim for any personal injury is in the days or weeks following the incident. Failing to contact a personal injury attorney is an easy mistake to make, especially when victims are unsure if they want to press for compensation. However, there is little risk or effort required for a consultation and a professional lawyer can help you understand the legal options or limitations that may impact your decision.
Neglecting to Report the Incident
Some victims avoid reporting dog attacks when they know the owner or the animal, but this can also put others at risk. Victims should always consider reporting bites from stray dogs or those that repeatedly display violent behavior. Alerting the authorities allows them to contact the owner or try to contain the situation to avoid further injuries.
Dog bites can be a life-threatening and traumatizing experience or seem like nothing more than a minor mishap. While context and severity are relevant when taking follow up measures, victims should always take at least a few basic precautions to protect their physical and financial health.
Author information: Anica Oaks is a professional content and copywriter who graduated from the University of San Francisco. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.