Dog owners have a duty to keep their pets under control. Unfortunately, people don’t always supervise their animals properly and dog attacks can occur.
Dog bites are often serious injuries that can lead to long-term complications. Victims may suffer permanent facial scarring, nerve damage that limits function in the arms and hands, and risk of infection. In very isolated cases, dog bites can be fatal.
The Washington dog bite lawyers at Fuller & Fuller, Attorneys PLLC, have helped the wrongfully injured in Olympia, Tacoma, and other areas since 1972. We know the physical, financial, and emotional strains a dog attack can place on victims and their families. We are committed to helping our clients recover the full and fair compensation to which they may be entitled under the law.
Five Steps to Take After a Dog Bite Injury
After a dog attack, the first priority is to get away from the animal. Once you or your loved one is safe, take the following steps to either perform first aid or seek immediate medical attention.
1. Control the Bleeding
Depending on the extent of damage caused by the dog bite, you may experience severe bleeding.
Using a cloth or towel, apply pressure to the wound. If you are unable to control the bleeding, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room immediately.
2. Clean the Wound
Left untreated, the bacteria in a dog’s mouth can cause the bite wound to become infected. Run warm tap water over the wound for five to 10 minutes. Use mild soap to thoroughly clean and disinfect the injury and the area around it.
If the wound is ragged, large, or deep within the skin, seek medical attention promptly. Severe bite injuries are more difficult to treat and require the knowledge and skill of a medical professional.
3. Dress the Wound
If you are able to control the bleeding caused by the canine attack and the wound has been thoroughly cleaned and sterilized with an antibiotic ointment, dress the wound with a gauze or bandage. Keep in mind that severe injuries may require stitches and treatment from a medical professional.
4. See a Doctor
Even if you treated your dog bite injury at home, it is a good idea to seek medical attention. Your injuries could be more serious than just bite marks. It is especially important to seek medical attention if you have not had a tetanus shot at least five years prior to the bite. Dogs have several different types of bacteria in their mouths that can make you sick when passed from their mouths into your bloodstream, including tetanus, staph and strep infections, and in rare instances, rabies.
5. Protect Your Legal Rights
In addition to making sure you are safe from infection and further bodily harm, you need to ensure that your legal rights are protected. When it is safe to do so, you should:
- Speak to the dog’s owner if you feel safe doing so: Obtain the name and contact information of the dog’s owner, the policy number and name of their homeowner’s or renter’s insurance company, as well as any information about the dog’s vaccination history.
- Talk to witnesses: Testimony from witnesses can strengthen your dog bite case. If anyone saw the attack, obtain their names and contact information.
- Photograph your injuries: Whether you photograph the wounds yourself or have someone take pictures for you, it is important to capture photographic evidence of the harm you suffered from the canine attack.
- Inform Animal Services: Report the dog bite. Not only will this establish a record of your attack, but it can also help to keep your neighborhood and community safer. Most counties and municipalities have animal service offices. In some rural areas, the county sheriff handles dog bite investigations.
- Discuss your case with a Washington dog bite lawyer: An attorney can investigate the facts in your case, gather evidence, negotiate with the insurance company, and take your case to court if a fair settlement cannot be reached. It costs you nothing to discuss your case with a dog bite attorney at Fuller & Fuller, Attorneys PLLC. During your free initial consultation, we will listen to your side of the story, assess the merits of your case, and explain your rights and legal options. If we do ultimately move forward with your case, you won’t owe any attorney’s fees unless we win.
Call a Washington Dog Bite Lawyer Today for Free
If you were bitten or attacked by someone’s pet, the Washington dog bite lawyers at Fuller & Fuller, Attorneys PLLC may be able to help. We have a proven history of success in helping injury victims obtain the justice and compensation they deserve.
To discuss your case for FREE, contact our office today online or at (800) 570-4878. We proudly serve Olympia, Tacoma, Shelton, Centralia, Aberdeen, and other areas of the state.