How Do You Know if a Dog Bite Is Serious?

No one ever really thinks a dog is going to attack them. I mean why would they? Dogs are friendly animals and are a man’s best friend for a reason, right? Not quite. In fact, dog bites can be vicious. It can be difficult to know when to take dog bites seriously, which is why we’re diving right into this topic.

Any time a dog bites you, you should consider the bite serious and seek immediate medical attention. If a dog bite breaks or punctures your skin, you could be at risk for infection from the bacteria in the dog’s mouth. Do not delay seeking first aid and emergency medical care to minimize the potential damage of a dog bite.

Notify your doctor immediately if you do not know the dog that bit you, if you notice any signs of infection, or if the dog that bit you cannot be found, identified, or has not been vaccinated for rabies. Even if you know the dog that bit you, the risk of infection should still send you to a doctor right away.

Signs a Dog Bite Might Be Infected

After a dog bite is treated, you should be careful to avoid having the bite become infected. If you are a dog bite victim, carefully monitor the condition of the wound and ensure it stays clean and dry at all times. If the victim of a dog bite is your child or elderly relative, you might need to monitor the condition of the bite for them. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that you look for the following signs and symptoms of a Capnocytophaga infection:

  • Blisters and swelling
  • Discoloration and pus
  • Pain and fever
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Headache or mental confusion

Any combination of these symptoms could mean the bite has become infected. Contact a doctor right away for diagnosis and treatment. If left untreated, a dog bite infection may lead to serious complications, including heart attack, kidney failure, and gangrene, which can lead to amputations.

These treatments can be physically and financially costly. If you had to receive treatments for a dog bite, you may be entitled to compensation from the owner of the dog that bit you.

Recoverable Expenses After a Dog Bite

A dog bite can lead to serious complications and lengthy medical treatments. The cost of these treatments can add up quickly and should be compensated by the dog’s owner. In an insurance settlement or personal injury lawsuit, the costs you can recover from the dog’s owner include:

  • Emergency room and physician costs
  • Ongoing and future medical care
  • Wound care and corrective surgery
  • Current and future income loss
  • Pain and suffering and inconvenience
  • Permanent scarring and physical disability

Contact a local law firm as soon as possible after you or someone you love sustains a dog bite. If a dog bite is serious and requires costly treatments, a lawyer can help you prepare an insurance claim or lawsuit that could lead to compensation from the owner of the dog.

Holding the Dog’s Owner Financially Responsible

The immediate aftermath of a dog bite can be physically and emotionally frightening. In addition, a dog bite can also be financially overwhelming if the full weight of the medical bills and other expenses are left to fall on your shoulders.

According to § 3.2-6540 of the Code of Virginia, the owner of a dog with a history of biting others is “likely liable” for the financial consequences of their dog’s action if their dog bites another person. If you can identify the dog who bit you and records can prove the dog has a history of biting, a lawyer in your area can help you recover those expenses.

Get Legal Help as Soon as Possible

When you or someone you love is bitten by a dog, physical recovery is likely to be your first concern and priority. A personal injury lawsuit can help you recover the cost of your medical care, lost income, and other injury-related expenses. An important part of filing a compensation claim is filing it on time.

In Virginia, that means filing a claim within two years of the date the dog bite occurred, according to § 8.01-243 of the state’s civil code. Start preparing and filing your lawsuit as soon as your injuries get treated. Doing so helps avoid the risk of running out of time to file your claim for compensation.

Get the Financial Compensation You Deserve

Do not treat any dog bite lightly. A dog bite is a dangerous event that can leave its victim with serious injuries, damaging infections, and permanent scars. Your medical team will help you assess the severity of the dog bite and recommend any necessary treatments.

Your legal team will help you identify the dog that bit you and its owner. Your dog bite lawyer will also help you fight to hold the dog’s owner accountable for the financial expenses and losses related to your injuries. Call the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC, at (571) 229-1800 to discuss your compensation options today.

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