What Should You Do Immediately After a Dog Bite?
Being attacked and bitten by a dog is terrifying. You could have been jogging, relaxing on your own property, or visiting a friend or family member. But whatever the case, it is important to know what to do in the first seconds, minutes, and days after a dog bite in North Carolina.
- Pressure. Apply pressure to the wound if you are bleeding heavily. Get help as soon as possible and keep the pressure on to slow down the bleeding.
- Go to the emergency room or to your doctor for medical attention. Your health is more important than anything. If your bite is very shallow and does not need specialized medical attention, wash it out very well with soap and warm water and disinfect the cut. Although the wound might look 'clean,' the bacteria in a dog's mouth is microscopic and could result in serious infections. Even if you don't think you need medical attention you still need to visit with a doctor. It is imperative that you report your bite to your doctor and retain medical records that document the incident. This can be used as evidence for a dog bite injury claim. Make sure your tetanus shot is current and if it's not (if you haven't had one in the last ten years) seek medical attention immediately and get one as soon as possible. Even if you have had a tetanus shot in the last 10 years, consult with your doctor to make sure that he or she doesn't recommend a booster. Learn more about the medical tests you should get after a dog bite.
- Canine medical records. If you know the owner of the dog, ask them for proof that the animal is vaccinated for rabies. Don't settle for a simple "yes, I think so." Ask to see the documentation that the animal is up-to-date. In a situation where you are bit by a stray and the teeth broke your skin, it is absolutely critical you seek emergency medical attention. Failing to receive proper medical treatment for rabies immediately could result in a fatality. As rabies progresses, it gets to a point where it is not longer curable.
- Police and dog owner. After your wounds have been tended to, report the incident both to the owner of the dog (if known) and to the local authorities. Talk to any witnesses while their memory is fresh, and get their contact information so that you can find them in the future. Take any relevant pictures that relate to the incident. Gathering evidence can help make a claim strong and aids in negotiations for an injury settlement.
- Dog bite lawyers. Contact an attorney with experience representing dog bite victims. Not only are there state laws in North Carolina that regulate dogs, there are other laws on a municipal level that could apply to your case and help you recover what you are legally entitled to. Our Raleigh and Cary dog bite attorneys offer complimentary case evaluations.