For the most part dogs are man’s best friend. However, occasionally, dogs can be dangerous and threatening to humans. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur in the US every year. In addition to causing pain, injury, or nerve damage, dog bites can become infected, which can lead to illness or even death. 900,000 dog bites in the US become infected each year and nearly 1 in 5 people bitten by a dog requires medical attention. Any dog can bite, regardless of breed. Children are more likely than adults to be bitten by a dog and generally receive more severe injuries when an attack does happen.
Rabies: Although getting rabies from a dog bite is rare, it is one of the most serious risks. Rabies is a virus that affects the brain and is almost always fatal once symptoms appear. If you have been bitten by a dog, you should speak to a healthcare provider immediately to see if the rabies vaccination is needed.
Capnocytophaga Bacteria: This bacterium lives in the mouths of people, dogs, and cats and is only harmful to humans. The bacteria can spread to people through bites, scratches, or close contact from a dog and can cause illness in rare cases.
Pasteurella: This bacterium is very common and is seen in more than half of infected dog bite wounds. Pasteurella causes a painful, red infection at the site of the bite and can lead to a more serious disease, swollen glands, swelling in the joints, and difficulty moving.
Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA): MRSA is a staph infection that is resistant to certain antibiotics, which can make it difficult to treat. The bacteria from the infection can cause skin, lung, and urinary tract infections in people. In rare cases, MRSA can spread to the bloodstream and lungs and cause life-threatening infections.
Tetanus: This toxin causes rigid paralysis in people and can be a problem in deep bite wounds.
If you answer yes to any of the following questions, then you should contact a personal injury lawyer, such as the trained professionals at Facchini and Facchini, right away. In the tragic case that a dog attack has lead to a death, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Get Dog Owner Information: The first thing you should do is record the dog owner’s name and contact information. It is suggested that you also take a photo of the owner and the dog in case you are given false information.
Identify Witnesses: Get the names and contact information of anyone who saw the attack (other than the owner). A witness account could play a huge role in backing up a claim.
Get medical treatment: If you are injured from the attack, make sure to get immediate medical treatment. Be sure to explain the cause of the injury to the healthcare professional to ensure that the proper records are kept concerning the incident.
Document medical expenses: If you plan to file a lawsuit for a dog attack, make sure to keep and document all medical expenses (medical bills, prescription costs, insurance co-pays, etc.) associated with treatment of your injuries.
Report the dog attack to animal control: After an attack, you should promptly report the incident to the local animal control authorities, especially if the dog had no tags or you were unable to locate the owner.
If you or one of your family members have been attacked by another owner’s dog or you feel you are in danger due to minimal restrictions on a dog nearby, don’t hesitate to file a case! The laws are different state-by-state for dog bite cases, but cases for dog nuisances or danger fall under Title 20 section 157 for Massachusetts’ General Laws. The attorneys at Facchini and Facchini are experts in all areas of personal injury law including dog bites!