Dog bites can have serious, long-term consequences, particularly if left untreated. If you or your child is suffering from dog bite injuries, it is important that you seek treatment as soon as possible. If you wait to seek treatment, you may experience severe medical complications. Additionally, it will be more difficult to prove the severity of your injuries to your insurer or in court later on if you plan to file a liability claim against the dog's owner.
What Are My Treatment Options for Dog Bite Injuries?
When a dog bites someone, the victim often makes the mistake of ignoring their injuries in hopes that they will go away on their own. The truth is that dog bites often require immediate treatment and professional medical care to prevent infection and avoid further physical and emotional damage.
If a dog bit you or your child, it is important to act quickly to clean and dress the wound. Here are some steps you should take as soon as the injury occurs:
- Press a cloth to the injury to slow the bleeding
- Wash the bite with mild soap and water
- Apply antibiotic cream
- Wrap the wound in a sterile bandage
After you administer initial home care, you should go to the emergency room for further treatment. The depth and location of the bite will determine the severity of your injury. The doctor may treat you using one or more of the following methods:
- Stitches – Many severe dog bite injuries break the skin and cause damage to underlying muscle tissue, nerves, and bone. Doctors may recommend stitches to prevent visible scarring. However, sutures can increase the risk for infection, so your doctor may only recommend them for wounds in certain areas, such as the face.
- Vaccines and antibiotics – Some dog bites become infected with bacteria such as streptococcus, staphylococcus, and Pasteurella. Dogs that do not have their immunizations may also carry rabies. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics and make sure you are up to date on your tetanus shot.
- Cosmetic surgery – If you suffered deep wounds, you might require surgery to repair the damage caused by the bite, particularly if it is a severe facial injury or disfigurement.
- Psychological treatment – Dog bites are not just physically painful, but also emotionally devastating. The memory of a dog attack can be traumatic, especially for small children. Doctors may recommend psychological treatment to address your mental and emotional health following the injury.
Should I Go to the Doctor for Treatment if My Injuries Are Minor?
No matter how minor your dog bite injuries appear to be, you should still go to the doctor for two main reasons. One reason is that even minor injuries can become infected, result in scarring, or cause other serious conditions in the future. A physician can provide you with treatment to make sure your injuries heal as fast as possible.
The second reason to go to the doctor is to have documentation of your injuries. By seeking medical treatment, you will have official medical records detailing your doctor visits, injuries, and treatments. If you file a claim against the owner of the dog that bit you, this information will be critical to proving your case. It may also be in your best interest to photograph the injuries when they first happen.
From the emergency room visit to the costs of stitches, treating dog bite injuries can be expensive. Fortunately, there is a way for families to pay for the treatment they need. Dog bite victims can recover compensation to pay for their current and future medical bills, as well as other damages related to their injury. We can help you file a claim against the owner of the dog that bit you. For more information, call the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz P.C. at 404-474-0804 to talk to an attorney about your claim.