Let’s say you are walking down the street in your neighborhood and notice a dog approaching you on the sidewalk. Perhaps at first the dog seems friendly, but as it draws near you see it’s growling, snarling, and lunging forward faster. Your heart may start racing as you wonder how to protect yourself from harm. You will probably put up your arms to try and deflect the bite. Your arms, hands, legs, and thighs are most likely to get bitten in the event of a dog attack.

Canine teeth can cause severe damage and pain, resulting in financial loss due to medical bills. It isn’t uncommon for dog bite victims to seek legal counsel for insight on how to hold the owner accountable for not keeping control of their dog. In the meantime, if you or someone you know has been bitten, please consider following the information provided to ensure that the wound heals without complications: 

How can I prevent an infection?
There are steps that need to be taken right away in order to treat the wound and decrease the chance of infection. It is strongly recommended that anyone with a dog bite that punctured the skin gets it looked at by their doctor. A dog’s canine teeth will grab onto and then compress the tissue, with the smaller teeth tearing the skin as it pulled away. This often results in a jagged and open wound with pronounced bleeding.

If the wound becomes infected due to lack of proper cleaning, a potentially life-threatening issue may develop, such as pasteurella, streptococcus, staphylococcus, or capnocytophaga. If you are bitten by a dog, take these steps with a sense of urgency:

  • Press on the wound firmly to help stop the bleeding.
  • Wash the dog bite wound with a mild soap, then rinse with water. 
  • If you have it, put a thin layer of over-the-counter antibiotic medicine on the wound itself and the surrounding skin.
  • Use a sterile bandage to wrap the wound, then go see your doctor.
  • After being evaluated by your doctor, abide by his or her recommendations for care. 
  • Keep an eye out for signs of an infection, such as swelling, more pain around the site than usual, fever, and redness. 

What happens if I have medical bills to pay for because of the dog bite?
If you were able to locate the owner of the dog, then you may decide to pursue compensation through a civil personal injury lawsuit. A reputable dog bite lawyer, like a dog bite lawyer in Woodland Hills, CA, can guide you through the process of seeking financial restitution for losses such as medical bills, prescription medication, stitches, surgery, rehabilitation, wage loss, and more. Talk with your lawyer about whether you have a strong case for suing the owner of the dog for the bite incident.

Keep copies of medical records, paycheck stubs, photographs of injuries and the dog, the police report, witness statements, and anything else that can help your lawyer understand exactly what happened.

Thanks to Barry P. Goldberg, A Professional Law Corporation for their insight into how to take care of a dog bite wound.