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What to do after you’re attacked by a dog

dog attackAny dog can become aggressive, and an attack could leave you or your loved ones with serious injuries or worse. The dog’s owner can typically be held responsible, but there are steps that need to be taken soon after the incident to build a solid case.

Enlist the help of family members, friends and a lawyer to get everything in order while you recover. 

5 things to do after a dog bite

1. Get medical attention ASAP. Minor scratches and bites need to be properly cleaned to prevent infections, and more severe injuries could require stitches, surgery or an extended stay in the hospital. The dog that attacked you must be quickly tracked down to determine if you’ll need treatment for rabies or tetanus.

2. Report the incident. After you’ve been treated for your injuries, contact your local police department, animal control and health department to report the incident. Get copies of any available details about the dog’s history and ask an officer to help you request the owner’s insurance info if you’re worried the situation could become confrontational.

3. Keep track of the documents. Make an organized file of every document related to the incident. This could include medical bills and records, police reports, vet or animal control records, contact or insurance information, photos of your injuries and journal entries detailing your recovery. Be thorough and include as many details about the incident as possible.

4. Follow treatment instructions. Serious injuries can require ongoing treatment in the weeks or months after the incident. Follow any instructions from your doctor carefully, finish medications as directed and attend all follow-up appointments. Document the various stages of your recovery with photos and detailed notes about your pain levels and physical limitations.

5. Keep your thoughts to yourself. Don’t discuss the incident with the dog’s owner or share your side of the story on social media. Avoid speaking to or meeting with representatives from the owner’s insurance company and never sign documents related to the case unless they’ve been reviewed by your lawyer.

Every dog bite case is unique, but following these guidelines can prevent obstacles as you work to recover money for medical bills, lost wages or other damage caused by the attack.

Follow these four tips for avoiding dog bites on your walks, runs and bike rides.