Dogs may be members of a household, but they can still be dangerous—especially to young children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), roughly 4.5 million dog bites occur every year, while one in five of these injuries requires medical attention. Over half of the time, people are bitten by a dog they know such as a neighbor’s dog, a friend's dog, or their own family pet.
What to Do After Someone You Know Is Bitten by a Dog
Children are more likely to be seriously injured by dog bites than adults, but all people can suffer infections and scarring due to improperly treated bites. To care for a dog bite injury, here’s what you should do following the incident:
- Immediately. If the wound is bleeding, place a clean towel over the injury site, and elevate the wounded limb until the bleeding stops. When you remove the towel, allow cold, clean water to run over the wound, and dab the bite carefully with soap and water. If the wound is not deep, apply a sterile bandage smeared with antibiotic ointment to the wound.
- Within a few hours. If the bite is deep or the injury has become swollen or tender, you should go to the hospital immediately for treatment. Even if you can treat the wound at home, it is vital that you see a doctor in the days following the dog bite incident. The doctor can clean the wound more thoroughly, assess your risk of infection, and tell you which symptoms and complications to look for as you heal.
- In the next week. Find out as much information as you can about the dog, including who the owner is, if the dog was properly restrained, if the dog was provoked, and if the dog is up to date on rabies shots and all necessary vaccinations.
After you have done these things, it is a good idea to speak to an attorney about your injury case. You may be able to get compensation for your time off work, your injuries, and any long-term consequences a dog attack may cause. Call us today, or fill out the form on this page to make an appointment in our Rhode Island personal injury law office.