Steps to Take if Injured by a Dog
If you have been injured by a dog, there are important steps to take to address the physical injury. Obviously, the very first thing a dog bite victim must do is escape from the dog to a safe location where the dog cannot attack again. After the person is safe from further attack, he or she can address the wound. Unless the wound is a minor scratch, the injured person will likely need medical attention. The number one concern for most dog bites is infection. Dog saliva commonly carries bacteria such as Klebsiella pneumonia, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Citrobacter freundii, Enterobacter cloacae, Acinetobacter calcoaceticus and various Pasteurella species.
If the wound becomes infected, it is often severe when it is a dog bite. There are several steps you can take immediately after receiving an injury.
- Press on the wound gently. The purpose of pressing on the wound is to cause some of the blood to ooze out. The blood that comes out will hopefully remove some of the bacteria that may have entered the wound from the dog’s mouth.
- Clean the wound. Wash the wound with mild soap and water. You may also use a saline solution made out of salt and water to clean the wound. If you use a strong antiseptic such as rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide or iodine, it may damage tissue.
- Cover the wound. Apply clean gauze or a clean cloth to help stop the bleeding.
- Apply antibiotic cream. After the bleeding has stopped or reduced, use Neosporin or other common antibiotic on the wound. This reduces the chance of infection and helps with healing.
- Apply a sterile bandage or wrap.
- Visit a doctor. See a medical provider to confirm no further treatment is necessary. A doctor may prescribe antibiotics to prevent infection. The doctor will also likely give a tetanus booster shot if your tetanus vaccine is out of date. The doctor will also want to know the dog’s vaccination history to make sure there is no risk of rabies. If a dog bite victim waits longer than eight hours to see a medical provider, the risk of infection increases.
Dog bite wounds vary greatly in severity. The CDC reports that approximately 1 in 5 dog bites require medical attention. The medical treatment can be as minor as cleaning the wound to as serious as life-saving emergency surgery.
The O’Hara Law Firm has represented dog bite victims who have required surgical intervention and even emergency life-saving surgery. The O’Hara Law Firm has helped dog bite victims locate doctors and medical providers to treat their injuries when they required follow up treatment. Several clients needed surgery and did not have health insurance to pay for the medical treatment. Attorney O’Hara convinced doctors to treat the patients and wait for payment until after the dog bite claim settled. Mr. O’Hara also negotiated with the ER physicians and hospital to take less than the full billed amount when the claims settled.
The O’Hara Law Firm also works with experts to estimate the cost of future medical care of severely injured dog bite victims. Clients with permanent injuries may require future surgery, physical therapy and medication. When negotiating claims for clients, the future medical care and future damages are considered in addition to past medical care and pas damages.
If you have been injured by a dog, contact The O’Hara Law Firm for a free consultation. Patrick O’Hara is a dog bite attorney that handles dog bite claims in Houston and surrounding areas. The O’Hara Law Firm represents clients on a contingency fee basis. Call us at 832-956-1138.