Dealing with the aftermath of a dog bite

If you own a dog, you are among nearly 40 percent of the population of the country. Dogs are a favorite pet in many households, providing companionship, comfort and protection. However, dogs can also be unpredictable. Even the gentlest dog has its breaking point, and it is unfortunate when someone suffers injuries as a result.

Dog bite injuries can be very serious. Twenty percent of dog bites need medical care, and nearly as many result in serious infections. While you may do your best to keep your dog confined and even-tempered, not everyone takes these precautions. If you or your child has suffered injuries from an unprovoked dog bite, you have every right to seek redress for those injuries.

Common dog bite injuries

South Carolina laws do not name specific breeds as dangerous although some municipalities have bans on disreputable breeds like pit bulls. As in many states, dogs receive the label of dangerous by their actions. Nevertheless, seemingly without warning, a dog can lunge and attack, causing these types of injuries and others:

  • Cuts, gashes and bruising
  • Puncture wounds
  • Uncontrollable bleeding
  • Broken and crushed bones
  • Muscle and nerve damage
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Infection, including rabies, MRSA, tetanus and others

Understanding a dog's signals may help you avoid danger. It is important for children to understand that some behaviors can frighten a dog or make it defensive, such as disturbing the animal when it is sleeping or approaching it when it is not familiar with you.

What to do after a dog attack

If a dog bites or attacks you or your child, your first priority is obtaining medical help. If the bite is not deep, clean it quickly with warm, soapy water and cover it with a bandage. See your doctor for infection prevention measures. For more serious wounds, it is imperative to stop the bleeding by applying pressure. Then call 911. After receiving medical care, your next step is to notify authorities. This means contacting the police and animal control.

You will want to gather as much information about the dog and its owner so authorities can determine if the animal is current on its rabies vaccinations. As soon as you are able, you will benefit from consulting an attorney for assistance in obtaining compensation for the medical bills, pain and suffering, and emotional distress that often result from a dog bite.

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