What To Do If You Have Been Bitten By a Dog?
A dog bite is a painful and often severe personal injury. Suffering a dog bite in Greenville could take you off guard. It may be your first encounter with an animal attack and you might not know how best to protect yourself and your legal rights. Going up against the pet owner in pursuit of financial compensation might be the best way to receive reimbursement for your medical costs and other damages. If a dog bites you in Greenville, take a few steps to start your injury claim off on the right foot.
Stay Calm and Assess the Situation
Try not to panic if you become the victim of a violent dog attack at someone’s home, in your neighborhood or at a dog park. Sit down somewhere safe and assess your injuries. If they appear serious, go to a hospital right away. Otherwise, remain at the scene and try to gather information before departing.
- The owner’s name and address
- The dog’s name, breed and vaccination history
- A description of the dog
- The location and time of day
- Names of eyewitnesses
- Photographs of injuries and the dog
Collect as much information as possible while still at the scene. This could help you build a case against the pet owner later. Do not yell at the pet owner or antagonize the dog that bit you. Keep your distance from the pet while you collect information or wait for authorities to arrive.
Seek Medical Treatment
When a dog bites, its teeth can pierce or lacerate the skin. Its saliva can infiltrate the wound, leading to a high risk of infection. Infection is one of the most serious concerns regarding a dog bite injury. For this reason, it is often wise to seek medical attention even if your bite does not appear serious. An infection could make a minor bite potentially life-threatening. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates about one in five dog bite injuries require medical attention.
Medical treatment for a dog bite injury may include flushing out the wound, disinfecting it, getting stitches, and covering the wound with clean cloth or bandage to prevent infection. Life-threatening dog bite injuries may require surgical intervention. Some patients receive skin grafts for severely damaged or torn-away skin. Others may need reconstructive surgeries and weeks or months of rehabilitation. Some patients may also need rabies shots to prevent the spread of this disease if the dogs were not up-to-date on their vaccinations.
Call the Authorities
An extremely dangerous or violent dog may require a phone call to your local animal control office. Reporting a dangerous dog could lead to a quarantine of the animal while veterinarians run tests to find out if the dog has rabies or other diseases. Animal control will contact the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) if it can locate the dog and its owner. The DHEC will investigate the case and decide if quarantine is the right choice. Then, the DHEC or the animal control office may take steps to penalize the pet owner and prevent future attacks, such as officially deeming the dog dangerous.
Ask a Lawyer About Your Rights
Once you have sought treatment for your injuries, find a Greenville dog bite injury attorney that offers free consultations. Ask the lawyer about your potential right to file a lawsuit against the dog owner for your injuries. South Carolina’s dog bite law holds dog owners strictly liable, or legally responsible, for bite injuries if the attack occurred while the victim was in a public place or lawfully on private property, and if the injured person did not provoke the pet. If these were the circumstances surrounding your attack, the owner could owe you compensation for your damages.