Dog bites can happen in an instant but leave lasting injuries, medical bills, and even a post-traumatic fear of dogs. What you do immediately after a dog bite can help minimize the dangerous long-term effects. If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, it is crucial to take care of the wound, obtain vital information about the dog, and always put safety first.
Reduce risk after a dog bite
According to doctors at the Cleveland Clinic, infection is the biggest threat that follows a dog bite. A dog bite infection could require hospitalization and intravenous antibiotics, so put safety first – follow these steps to reduce the chances of infection.
- Wash the bite carefully and thoroughly. Use soap and water but avoid alcohol because it can slow healing. Apply an over-the-counter antibiotic; about half of all dog bites introduce bacteria into the wound so the threat of infection is great.
- Unless the wound is large enough to cause serious blood loss, do not try to stop the bleeding – it can help flush bacteria out. Do wrap a sterile bandage to keep the area clean though, and change it often.
- If you do not know the dog, pay attention to anything that can identify it but do not try to hold it or stop it from leaving. Fighting a violent dog puts you at risk for further injury. Instead, call animal control to look for the animal and also call 911 because you many need to start rabies vaccinations.
- If you do know the dog’s owner, try to obtain proof of the rabies vaccination. Follow up with the dog’s veterinarian to confirm that the shots are up to date.
- When dog bites do get infected, the infection tends to be severe. See your doctor within eight hours of the bite, when the chances of preventing an infection are greatest. Be extra careful not to delay if you have diabetes or a compromised immune system.
Dog bite liability in Los Angeles
Anyone whose dog bites a person in or around Los Angeles is subject to the dog bite laws written in the California Civil Code. The old adage “every dog gets the first bite free” does not apply in California – according to the Code, the owner of a dog that bites someone is liable for damages even if the dog did not have a history of viciousness or the owner did not know of its prior viciousness.
Under the Code, once a dog has bitten someone, its owner must take reasonable steps to protect others from the same danger. After two bites by the same dog on separate occasions, any person can bring an action to have a court determine the steps needed to prevent further injury to humans.
Dog bite lawyer in Los Angeles
If you or someone you love has been the victim of a dog attack, choose a personal injury lawyer who is ready to fight for your rights. For a free consultation with Los Angeles dog bite lawyer Sean Salamati, call today!
Additional Dog Bite Resources:
- Cleveland Clinic, If a Dog Bites You, Do These 7 Things Now, https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2016/10/if-a-dog-bites-you-do-these-7-things-now/
- County of Los Angeles Public Health, California Civil Code, http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/vet/procs/civildog.htm