What You Should Do After a Dog Bite
A silver lining to the coronavirus pandemic is more cats and dogs are getting fostered than ever before. Major metropolitan areas like New York, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas are seeing increases in their pet adoption rates. The president and CEO of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals revealed that more animals are getting adopted and fostered. There was a 70% increase in animals entering foster care in NY and LA compared to last year. The Animal Foundation in Las Vegas received about 400 applications to foster a pet. This means more people are out walking their dogs or leaving their new pets in their front yards. Walks around your neighborhood are one of the few ways people have been able to get exercise during after at home orders. Even though Nevada’s safer at home orders were lifted May 15th, many citizens continue to work from home. A lot of dogs are still adjusting to their new homes. If they get startled or feel threatened, they might bite you. We look at what you should do after a dog bite and who is responsible for the dog bite.
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Why Dogs Bite
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 4.7 million dog bites happen in the United States every year. This means 1 out of every 69 people will get bitten by a dog.
Why do these dogs bite?
- Protection. Dogs are territorial. They want to protect you and your family. This is great in the case of a break-in or some type of intruder. They also want to protect their food, toys, and home. But their territorial nature can also be dangerous to you or unassuming friends and family. Usually herding breeds like German shepherds tend to show this territorial behavior.
- Fear aggression. Dogs can be fearful of unfamiliar people and/or environments. If a dog is used to a calm and quiet home and is transferred to a noisy or chaotic home, they might show aggression.
- Maternal aggression. If a dog recently gave birth, she will feel protective over her litter. Even if you had the most well-trained, amiable dog, she could still show aggression if she feels her puppies are in danger.
- Dominance aggression. Sometimes a dog thinks he is in charge. A dog can feel his status is threatened when moving him off the couch or stepping over him to get by. He might lash out by barking or biting.
- Play. Sometimes the bite is quite innocent. Rough housing with a dog can get them riled up, and they might nip or bite out of excitement.
- Redirected aggression. Two dogs in a fight might bark, nip, and bite each other. When you come in to break up the fight, they might redirect their aggression towards you.
- One or more dogs can act aggressively, if he/they cannot reach the actual aggressor (another dog on the other side of a fence, for example.) The dog(s) may take out aggression on you, should you try to intervene.
- Pain-induced aggression. More sensitive breeds like Chihuahuas may bite when experiencing pain. Depending on their pain threshold, they might bite even if you’re trying to help them by soothing or bandaging a wound.
Now that you know a bit about what motivates dogs to bite (these facts may help you assess a situation so you don’t get involved), we’ll share what to do if you become a dog bite victim. Once you are safe and report the incident, it’s important to get in touch with an experienced dog bite lawyer in Las Vegas. Anthem Injury Lawyers offers extensive dog bite case experience. We have successfully resolved these cases for our clients, gaining them the compensation they deserve. If you’re the victim in a dog bite incident, call us now: (702) 857-6000.
What You Should do After a Dog Bite: Get Help and Gather Information
If you experienced a dog bite, the first thing you need to do is seek medical care. We look at what else you should do after a dog bite.
Gather and Record Information
- Identify dog owners. Make sure you know the owner of the dog that bit you. Get their address, name, phone number and any other contact information. Try to get the dog’s information as well, like its up-to-date vaccinations. If you can’t get a proof of rabies vaccination, you may be required to get rabies shots.
- File a report. Even if the bite was minor, file an official dog bite report with the police or local animal control. Having the official record will help you with your case later on. It’s important to have a paper trail to legitimize your case. Save any documentation that relates to the report and obtain a copy of the report for your records. This also helps prevent future dog bites.
- Take pictures. Photograph your injuries, even if it means removing the bandage for a moment. Photograph any torn or bloody clothing as well.
- Collect information. Talk to any potential witnesses like your neighbors or passersby. Get their phone numbers and ask them if you can record their statement. Write down all the details from the attack that you can remember. Continue recording your thoughts for a few weeks after the attack. Keep all medical records.
- Seek medical attention. In extreme cases a dog bite can cause nerve damage, broken tissue, broken bones or serious disease. At worst, it can be fatal. But even if your wound seems mild, see a doctor as soon as possible if the dog broke skin. Puncture wounds could lead to infections. You might need stitches, special ointment, antibiotics, or bandaging. You might also get symptoms later on like vomiting, headache, or diarrhea as a result of a bacterial infection. Those with weakened immune systems can be more susceptible to illness or infection. Possible infections as a result of a dog bite injury can include tetanus and rabies. Although rare, another possible infection is Toxocariasis, which can infect your liver, lungs, or central nervous system. This is treated with an antiparasitic drug.
- Contact an attorney. Legal claims like dog bite injuries can be complex. A professional dog bite lawyer will know how to navigate the complicated legal process so that you receive proper compensation for your injuries.
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Local Dog Bite Laws
Every state has their own dog bite laws. In Nevada, the dog’s owner is responsible for the actions of their animals. If you were bitten by a dog, you can sue the dog owner for a personal injury. Sometimes, a dog’s previous record of aggression can determine liability if their owner ignored it. If the dog has a record of previous bites or attacks, they could be held liable for your dog bite injury. A dog bite lawyer can help you navigate the circumstances around your dog bite lawsuit. They can conduct a case evaluation and figure out liability and what an insurance company is responsible for.
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How to Avoid Dog Bites
Now that more of us are fostering animals, especially dogs, you might have more dog encounters. Man’s best friend is usually a welcome companion, but not always. Spending most of our time in our own neighborhoods, it’s a good time to review how to prevent a dog bite injury. With our medical system currently overwhelmed, it’s best we try to stay out of hospitals if we can.
Sometimes dogs are unpredictable, and they might attack even if you didn’t do anything to provoke them. But most of the time, there are a few things that we can do to minimize the risk of getting attacked by a dog.
- Never approach an unfamiliar animal. Keep your distance if you are walking by a dog you don’t know. Since we are supposed to keep at least 6 feet of social distance anyway, this shouldn’t be too difficult.
- Don’t scare a dog by panicking or making loud noises. Avoid direct eye contact and don’t run away from them. Running could actually trigger an attack.
- Never disrupt a dog while they are sleeping, eating, or caring for their puppies.
- Allow a dog to get used to you before you try to pet it. Let them sniff you first and then you can try to scratch them under their chin.
- If you see stray dogs or dogs acting strange, report them to animal control.
- If you are a pet owner, don’t aggressively play with your dog.
Experienced Las Vegas Dog Bite Attorneys
If you were a victim of an animal attack, the experienced personal injury attorneys of Anthem Injury Lawyers are ready to help. First make sure you or your loved one sees a doctor who can tend to your wounds. Then contact our law offices so that we can properly review your bite injury case. We are up to date on current legal challenges, including the latest events surrounding COVID-19. We will work aggressively to protect your rights and help you receive maximum compensation for your dog bite injury.
Contact us today at (702) 857-6000 for a free consultation. Our law office is located in Henderson, but we work with clients all over the Las Vegas Valley. Should you need us to, we can come to you to provide a free case analysis of your dog bite incident.