Whether it's your neighbor's dog or a dog you run into at a park or on the street, it can come as a surprise if it bites you. Knowing what to do when this occurs is vital, not just to ensure proper wound treatment but also to make sure the owner of the dog is held responsible. The following guide can help you after a dog bite.
Get all owner information
Take down the owner's information, including their name, address, and contact number. If they have a vehicle nearby, you may also want to write down their license plate number in case you are supplied with false information. If possible and if you don't feel threatened, you can record the information from the dog's tag since this is likely to be accurate. Be polite but firm when requesting information. It can be difficult when you have just been bitten, but maintaining your manners makes it easier to exchange information.
Take witness information
If there were any witnesses to the bite, get their contact information as well. Also, make note of any businesses nearby that have outdoor cameras. Often, you can approach the business owners and request copies of their video from the security cameras outside if the bite was caught on film. You will need to do this as soon as possible, since some camera systems only archive video for a few days before recording over it.
Call animal control
Contact animal control and report the bite. This is required as animal control must investigate dog bites to make sure this isn't a problem dog. They can also verify that the dog is up to date on all of its shots so that you don't have to worry about infections such as rabies.
Get medical treatment
Don't try to treat the bite at home. Even if the wound is minor, it is important that you visit an emergency room or urgent care facility as soon as possible. Even small bites can lead to major infections or disfiguring scars. Also, only a doctor can ensure that a rabies shot isn't necessary.
Document the injury
Take pictures of the injury both before and after treatment. Also, keep copies of all paperwork pertaining to the bite, including documentation for any travel expenses for treatment or lost wages due to missed work because of treatment.
Finally, always contact a lawyer after a bite. You may need to sue the owner for damages. Even if they have insurance, it's best to allow an attorney to work with the insurance company to ensure you receive the settlement you deserve so that all of your treatment, lost wages, and pain and suffering is paid for.