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Grupo MedLegal® > Blog > Personal Injury > What should I do if I’ve been bitten by a dog?

What should I do if I’ve been bitten by a dog?

Dog bites

Dogs are the animals we’re most likely to find living with humans. They’re the species that best adapts to living with a family, and have been called man’s best friend. Their evolution through the millennia has run parallel to humanity’s. We could call the taming of the dog a “human accomplishment” almost as significant as the use of fire or the invention of prehistoric tools.

According to archeologists, dogs were domesticated and living with humans as far back as 31,700 years ago.

However, we recognize that just like every animal, a dog has instincts of self-preservation and survival which can often lead to incidents such as dog bites.

Why do dogs bite?

Regardless of their size or breed, dogs can bite at any time. Two factors influence whether or not a dog is likely to exhibit this behavior: training and socialization of the animal. A dog can bite repeatedly, especially when it comes in contact with strangers.

When a dog bites, it doesn’t mean it’s a bad animal. It may bite because

  • It feels threatened or cornered.
  • It has been physically attacked.
  • It has not been adequately trained.
  • It gets involved in a fight with another dog.
  • It wants to show dominance and control its “possessions.”
  • It is afraid.
  • It has been a victim of sparring.
  • It has been used in dogfighting.
  • It is playing in an inappropriate way, as with another dog.

No matter what the dog’s motive is, if a dog bites us, it’s clearly not our fault as long as we’ve treated the dog with respect and caution, especially if the dog is unfamiliar with us.

First of all, it is the responsibility of the pet’s owner to keep it on a leash when it is out. In the second place, it is our responsibility to keep our distance and be cautious around an animal that isn’t on a leash.

What should I do if a dog tries to bite me?

First, remain calm and quiet. If the dog looks like it wants to bite, don’t shout or aggravate it; this will scare and excite the animal more.

The main thing is to try to remove yourself from the situation that is provoking the dog. If there’s no way out, you can try to distract the dog’s attention, maybe by dragging something along the ground or tossing food to the dog, if you have any.

I’ve been bitten by a dog. What should I do?

If, in spite of taking the above precautions, you’ve been bitten by a dog, you should take the following steps:

  1. Wash the wound out thoroughly with soap and water if it’s superficial or not deep in order to eliminate any dirt or germs that may be in the wound. If the wound is large or serious looking, cover it with a sterile bandage after washing to prevent loss of blood.
  2. Get medical help. Dogs have a lot of bacteria in their mouths which can cause infection and your doctor will likely prescribe antibiotics.
  3. Your doctor should also administer a rabies vaccine, especially if the dog was a stray or its state of health is unknown.

Effects of a dog bite.

A dog bite can have different results depending on the situation and the person who’s been bitten.

If you’ve been bitten in a public space, you have the right to sue for compensation. You should talk to a lawyer who is an expert in dog bites. Remember that you must act responsibly and be straightforward; if the dog was properly leashed or muzzled and you risked approaching it, you cannot demand compensation.

If you were bitten by a stray dog without an owner, you should call your local animal control agency or other agency like the humane society or a shelter, or the police. Don’t put others, as well as the animal, at risk by not reporting the incident.

Be cautious. A study done by DogBites.org showed that there are 4.5 million dog bites in the United States every year. In 2015 a third of the victims were visiting the owner of the dog when the bite occurred. And 89% of victims were under the age of 9.

It’s important to stay informed and alert.

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This Blog is made available by Grupo MedLegal for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or medical advice. The information provided on the Blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal or medical advice from a licensed professional.

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Grupo MedLegal©️ connects consumers with participating lawyers and/or doctors and, in no case, provides legal or medical advice, nor does it intend to be a law firm, lawyer referral service, or medical provider. Specifically, in California, we connect clients with participating chiropractors who connect clients to lawyers for free to help with your case.