Dog Bite: A canine may be man’s best friend, but he can be your worst enemy if he’s aggressive. 20,000 people are bitten by hounds in Los Angeles County alone each year. One-third of homeowner liability insurance claims deal with dog bites, and one in every five mutt bites requires medical attention.
Unfortunately, you can’t always prevent a dog bite from happening. However, you can learn how to handle the situation to deescalate the situation.
Here are five things you should do after you or someone else is bitten.
1. Stay Calm
First things first: remain calm. It’s not the time to begin yelling and raising your voice at the canine. You don’t want to make it mad again or raise tensions with the owner.
All you need to do is focus on relocating to a safe space away from the animal. Knowing your rights after a dog bite and working out the legal logistics with the owner can all come later.
2. Seek Medical Attention
A hound’s bite can be severe. The front teeth grab and compress the tissue while the smaller ones tear the skin. However, the top concern is not the injury but potential infection.
Medical experts recommend pressing the wound gently. The purpose is to flush out the bacteria as much as possible. You’re also advised to take pictures of the injuries for legal purposes.
The next step is to use warm and soapy water to wash the wound and use a piece of cloth to slow the bleeding. Apply an antibiotic cream before wrapping it with a sterile bandage.
No matter how small the bite is, contact a medical professional. Depending on the severity of the situation, you may need an ambulance.
The doctor may need to clean the wound again and apply antibiotics. He may also prescribe some more medication to ease the pain.
3. Exchange Contact Information
At this point, you may now begin to seek information about the owner or the victim. This step is a necessity in some jurisdictions, so be sure to exchange details, such as:
- Phone number
In addition, gather information from the witnesses while taking photos or videos of the owner’s driver’s license, the surroundings, and even the dog.
4. Locate The Dog’s Medical Records
If you’re able to, gather as much information about the dog as possible. You might have to sign up for rabies treatment if it was a stray hound.
If the hound is insured, the insurance company representative will contact you. When they do, ask for:
- Insurance company’s name
- Phone number
- Claim number
- Insured person’s name
- Payable expense
5. Inform Local Authorities
The next step is to inform the authorities and comply with their orders. There’s always a chance that you may press criminal charges against the owners or even initiate a civil suit. That’s why it is always advisable to make your report to the animal control agency.
According to the California dog bite law section 3342 of the civil code, if a dog caused the damage and the person who’s been bitten was in a public space or lawfully in a private area, owners are liable to damage.
California dog bites are strict liability, which means that the owner is responsible for all the damage caused. The rule requires the victim to be lawfully in a public place or in a private space. The most common defense a dog owner may use is trespassing, and they develop a convincing story, so it’s important to be protected with legal counsel to defend your side.
Now you know what to do when a dog bites you. Remember to keep calm after the attack, take photos and administer first aid before calling for medical assistance. Don’t forget to ask for the owner’s details and record some firsthand witness narrations – these details will come in handy later!