Steps to Take After a Dog Bite:
- Identify the dog
The most important first step you can take after a dog bite is to identify the dog. Find out who owns the dog or where the animal lives. If the dog is a stray and you cannot identify it, you may be forced to undergo a series of rabies shots which are expensive and painful.
- Seek medical care
Depending upon the severity of the bite, contact first responders (9-1-1) for medical attention or have someone drive you to emergency care. Always seek medical care after a dog bite. The risk of infection from a dog bite is far too great to ignore.
- File bite report
After you’ve been medically treated — even if the injury was minor — file a bite report with your city or county animal control or Sheriff’s department. This legally documents your case and provides help to the next victim who may be harmed by the same dog. Without a paper trail, authorities cannot enforce effectively.
- Gather information
To protect your future rights as a victim, obtain the name and address of the dog owner, in addition to the dog license information. Find out if the dog has a record as well. Has the dog bitten a person or dog prior to biting you? Has the dog been labeled “potentially dangerous” or “dangerous?”
- Photograph injuries
Take photos of your injury, even if you need to unwrap gauze. Confer with a doctor or nurse as needed. They will tell you a safe manner in which to do so. It is recommended that you photograph all of your wounds, including bruises, as well as torn, bloody clothing and the location of the attack.
- Contact attorney
Contact a dog bite attorney now — not later. The issues surrounding dog bites are complex and difficult to navigate through. Your dog bite lawyer (or personal injury lawyer) is the only person besides the doctor that treats your wounds who will look after your best interest from this point forward.
- Begin journal
Lastly, if you seek medical reimbursement for your injury, start a journal as soon as you can. Spend a little time each day recording your thoughts for the few first weeks after the attack. Dog bite claims can often take several years to complete. Anticipate keeping this journal on a biweekly basis over the course of this time.
Contact our office at 480-246-8050 if you or a loved one has been injured by a dog.