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Personal Injury

What to Do After a Dog Bite

Dog Bite Attorney in Virginia Beach

Approximately 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs in the United States each year with up to 800,000 of these incidents requiring medical assistance, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. Most victims are children, while many others are postal workers. Because of the possibility of being bitten by a dog at some point in your life, it is important to know what to do in the immediate steps after an attack.

During the Attack

During the attack, it is important that you try to minimize injury as much as possible. If the dog has not bit you, use the following tips to avoid a bite:

  • Avoid eye contact or smiling
  • Avoid making any sudden moves or screaming
  • Turn to the side
  • Say “no” or “go home” to the dog
  • Place another item between you and the dog, such as a purse or backpack

If the dog attacks you, try to curl up into a ball and tuck your head in your hands to protect yourself.

After the Attack

If you suffered a minor injury, wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water. For deeper wounds, apply pressure to the site of the bite to stop the bleeding. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you seek medical attention if any of the following apply:

  • The wound is deep or serious
  • The wound becomes painful
  • You observe signs of infection
  • You don’t know whether the dog has received its rabies vaccination
  • You have not received a tetanus shot within the last five years

Treatment may involve taking antibiotics, surgery, reconstructive surgery, observation or other medical options, depending on the severity and site of the bite.

Report the Attack

The CDC also recommends that you report the bite to the local animal control agency or police department so that an official record can be made and because you can be at risk of getting rabies. Making a report may help you determine who the dog’s owner is and whether the dog is up-to-date with its rabies vaccination.

Contact an Experienced Dog Bite Injury Lawyer

While many states hold dog owners “strictly liable” if the dog attacked someone who was legally on the property and did not provoke the dog, Virginia does not take this approach. Instead, Virginia uses what is commonly referred to as the “one-bite” rule in which there is not liability for a bite if the owner had no reason to know that the dog would bite someone. After the first bite, the dog owner is basically put on notice that his or her dog can attack a person and may then be held liable for the resulting injuries.

However, while it is more difficult to receive compensation for the first bite, it is still possible with the help of an experienced dog bite injury lawyer who can show that the owner had sufficient information to know about the danger his pet represented or if the dog owner was negligent. The Jeff Brooke Team obtained a $300,000 settlement in a dog bite injury case and will fight just as hard to get you the compensation you deserve after being injured by a dog bite. At The Jeff Brooke Team, we dedicate our practice to helping injured victims and their families. Contact us by phone at (757) 552-6055 or by using our online contact form.

Jeff Brooke is a personal injury attorney devoted to helping individuals who have suffered serious and catastrophic injuries or lost a loved one because of someone else’s negligent and careless actions. The Jeff Brooke Team serves all of southeastern Virginia. The firm helps clients in the Greater Tidewater and Greater Hampton Roads areas, including in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, and Chesterfield. The Jeff Brooke Team also handles cases in northeastern North Carolina, including the Outer Banks.


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