You should always take dog bites seriously. Any person who is bitten by a dog or other animal bite may need medical attention and could potentially have expensive medical bills or miss time from work as a result of the attack. Cases involving a dog that bit a person or pet may be grounds for a dog bite legal case.
Learn more from this overview of dog bites, including how to prevent them, how to treat them, and how to proceed with possible legal action against the dog owner.
Prevent Dog Bites
Naturally, the best way to deal with dog bites or dog attacks is to prevent them from happening in the first place. One common problem is people who try to pet dogs that they do not know. Do not pet a strange dog unless the owner indicates that the dog is friendly. If a strange dog approaches you, stand sideways and remain still.
Never run from an aggressive dog. If you run from this type of dog, you can exacerbate the situation. Do not look the dog in the eye, as the animal might take eye contact as a sign of aggression. Do not yell or scream at the dog. To address aggressive behavior, just repeatedly say no in a firm and controlled way. Wait for the dog to settle down and move away from you, or back away from the dog cautiously.
Of course, you should never disturb a dog while they sleep or eat. This could provoke aggressive behavior.
Treat Dog Bites
When a dog bite wound is minor, you may only need to wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water and apply an antibiotic cream. But treating a minor dog bite at home is only reasonable if you are certain that the dog has been vaccinated for rabies. If the dog has not had a rabies vaccination or you can’t confirm their vaccination status, you need to see a doctor to determine if you require the rabies vaccine. Dogs and cats can carry bacterias and viruses that attack the immune system that can be lethal.
Even if you treat a minor wound at home, watch carefully for any signs of infection, such as swelling and redness. For deeper wounds, see a healthcare provider as soon as possible, regardless of whether the dog has been vaccinated for rabies. Some dog bite victims experience such deep wounds that plastic surgery may be needed to restore quality of life.
Initiate a Dog Bite Legal Case
In cases where the wound is serious or you don’t know the dog’s vaccination history, gather as much information as you can at the scene. If possible, take photos of the dog and your surroundings. If the owner is present, try to get their name and address as well as the dog’s veterinarian information. Ask about the dog’s vaccines.
Once you’ve gotten as much information as possible, report the incident to the police. A detailed police report can help your case if you decide to take legal action against the owner.
Any dog bite can potentially cause you a significant amount of money related to medical bills for treatment and rehabilitation as well as the loss of income due to missed time at your job. To get compensation for your expenses, you will, in most instances, need to start legal proceedings against the owner. You will need to engage the services of a qualified law firm to successfully ligate your case.
A crucial point regarding legal action in this type of case is that Iowa is a strict liability state. The concept of strict liability means that the owner of the offending dog is legally responsible for your injuries as long as you were not involved in an illegal activity that led to the dog bite. Because Iowa follows the strict liability rule, dog bites from non-criminal activity could give you a better chance of winning your personal injury case if you choose to sue.
When you decide to pursue a personal injury lawsuit, such a one that results from a dog bite, Galligan Law can provide you with experienced and dedicated legal counsel. Contact us to learn more.