Serious dog bite incidents occur more commonly than you may realize. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, dogs bite 4.5 million people in the United States each year. Dog bites can become infected or cause severe scarring or even disfigurement. For these reasons, it is important to know what to do after a dog bite.
Taking the right action after a dog bite is key in making a full recovery — physically, emotionally, and financially — from your injuries. If a dog bite occurs, follow these steps:
The first thing you need to do after a dog bite is ensure your safety and the safety of others around you. Make sure the owner has confined the dog; if you cannot find the owner, put as much distance between you and the dog as possible. Once you have done so, call 911 for law enforcement and medical help especially if you sustained injury to the face, neck, or head.
If you do not receive medical help at the scene, have a doctor inspect and clean the wound as soon as possible. The bite could become infected or the dog may even have rabies.
Note: Receive medical treatment even if you think your injuries are minor.
It is paramount to identify the dog and dog owner, as well as who was in control of the dog when the attack occurred. If your injuries prevent you from getting information from the dog owner, ask someone else at the scene to write the information down for you.
This information is key in ensuring the dog is up-to-date on rabies and other vaccinations, as well as in filing a claim with the owner’s insurance to cover the costs of your injuries.
Taking photos of the your wounds — before a doctor treats them — is important in proving your case if the dog owner’s insurance company denies your claim. Remember to take photographs of the scene of the attack, if possible.
In some cases, the hospital or clinic must submit a report of any dog bite incident. However, it is still a good idea to file your own report. You can report the attack to the Suffolk County Department of Health Services or the Nassau County Environmental Health Department, or call your local police department, who can notify the proper agency. From there, the animal control officers can investigate the incident, ensure the dog had the proper vaccinations, and record the attack in case of future incidents.
If you suffered serious injuries from a Long Island dog bite, you may be eligible to file an insurance claim or personal injury suit to recover the economic and noneconomic costs of your dog bite. Contact Goldstein & Bashner today at 516-874-0466 to schedule a free case review.