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  • Ross & Beckman, PLC.

Bitten by a dog? It’s time to head to the emergency room

Although dogs are touted as “man’s best friend,” there are certainly cases where these animals bite and cause serious damage to their owners, friends and children of owners and others.

When a dog bite happens, the person who has been bitten can normally hold the owner responsible for their injuries and any costs accrued because of them. Many times, homeowner’s insurance coverage will cover a bite on a property. For other cases, other kinds of insurance may kick in.

Before worrying about the money, it’s important for the person who has been bitten to go to the emergency room or seek immediate attention from a primary care provider. This is because dog bites can become infected even if they don’t seem very significant.

What are the risks of dog bites?

The initial, and major, risk of a dog bite is damage to the bones, tendons, skin and organs. A bite that punctures the skin may damage muscle or other tissues, cause nerve damage or lead to other problems. A more serious bite, such as one where the dog bites down and then shakes its head from side to side, could result in significant bleeding or life-threatening injuries.

For seemingly minor bites, like puncture wounds, there is a risk that bacteria could get down deep into the bite and start to propagate in the wound. This is more likely to occur if the bite is to the hands, feet or face. Without debridement, antibiotics and (sometimes) rapid vaccinations, there is a higher chance that the wound could become seriously infected and cause other illnesses such as tetanus or rabies.

If you have been bitten by a dog and have not had a tetanus or rabies shot recently or do not know the state of the dog’s vaccination records, it’s very important to go to the hospital and to report that you could have been exposed to tetanus, rabies or other serious illnesses. You may need inoculations to prevent bacteria or viruses from spreading through your body.

After a bite, put your medical care first. Once you receive care, you can focus more on getting the compensation you need to cover your medical costs and any additional financial losses you have.

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