What should I do after I have been bitten by a dog?

Contact the Police of Animal Control and make a report.

 

Seek prompt medical attention.

The first thing you should do is worry about yourself and seek appropriate medical attention. Clean the wound with soap and lots of water to lessen the chance of infection. Apply antibiotic ointment to any wound caused by the dog's teeth. Use gauze or a clean towel to stop any bleeding. Watch the site of the dog bite for signs of infection, such as redness or swelling. If there are signs of infection, you should immediately seek medical attention.

The CDC found that 45 percent of all dog-related injuries were to the arm or hand region, with most of those to the hand and lower arm. They also found that 26 percent of dog attacks resulted in injuries to the leg or foot region, with the bulk of those injuries to the lower leg. Finally, the study showed that 23 percent of attacks were to the head or neck region.

 

Make a police report.

This may be the furthest thing from your mind after being bitten, but making a police report is very important. First, you need to have some proof that you were bitten by the particular dog. Without a police report, the owner may deny their dog bit you. You may find out that who you thought was the owner was not actually the owner. The police will make sure all this information is properly documented. If you are going to make a claim for your injuries, a police report will also be important.

 

Recovery after a dog bite.

Recovery time from a dog bite injury can vary depending on the severity of the injury. The CDC reports that 40 percent of dog bites resulted in puncture wounds while 25 percent were lacerations. The remaining dog bites resulted in abrasions, infections, or hematoma. Remember to keep the wound clean and watch for signs of infection. If you received stitches, be sure to follow up to have the stitches removed when told to do so by the doctor. Taking them out yourself or waiting too long to remove the stitches can result in worse scarring.

 

How to lessen the effect of scarring.

Scarring is a potential long term consequence following a dog bite. Whether the dog bite results in tearing, or you receive stitches, or even with puncture wounds, scarring is a life long reminder of being bitten by the dog. Over the counter scar creams can help minimize scarring. The action of rubbing the wound with cream helps keep the skin moist which also helps the healing process. When we represent dog bite victims with scarring, we often send them to a plastic surgeon who can advise whether there are any cosmetic procedures which may lessen the visibility of the scar.

 

What are your legal rights against the owner of the dog?

Under Illinois law, if you have been bitten by a dog, you have the legal right to recover from the owner of the dog. What's more, the law is broader than allowing recovery from just the owner of the dog. Under the Animal Control Act, anyone who harbors a dog is responsible when a dog bites someone. There are, however, a few defenses to a dog bite case.

 

Seek the advice of a personal injury lawyer.

There are many potential pitfalls in making a recovery for a dog bite. Perhaps you don't want to make a claim against the owner of the dog or perhaps the neighbor's dog bit your child and you do not want to sue your neighbor. If you have any questions about what happens to a dog when it bites someone, you should consult with a lawyer who is familiar with dog bite cases. If you have questions, please contact McCready, Garcia & Leet for a free, no obligation, consultation by calling us at 773-779-9885 or contact us by e-mail. For more information, consult the topics below.