You’ve just been bit by a dog! What do you do now? How do you know you should see a doctor? There are so many questions you may ask yourself after a dog suddenly attacks you. To help, personal injury attorneys discuss when you should see a doctor after a dog bite.
Should I See a Doctor After a Dog Bite?
You should see a doctor after a dog bite in any of the following situations:
- The dog is unfamiliar to you
- Bite wounds are deep
- You cannot stop the bleeding
- For whatever reason, you are unable to thoroughly wash out the wound with water or otherwise dress it appropriately
- The dog isn’t up to date on its shots
- You feel sick
- There’s a possibility that you need stitches
- If the injury becomes infected or worsens
- When symptoms don’t improve
- When it’s crucial to document the extent of the injuries for a legal claim
Seeing a Doctor When Your Dog Bite Is Serious
There are a few different situations where it’s essential to see a doctor after a dog bite. The first situation is where there is any question of how to treat the injury and receive the most appropriate medical attention. When the injury is anything but superficial, it’s a good idea to see a doctor for proper dressing and injury care.
Of course, if you develop an infection or the injury becomes more serious, it’s important to seek medical attention. Also, if you can’t tell whether the injury is serious or not, visiting a doctor ensures that you’re evaluated by a professional who is trained to make that call.
Seeing a Doctor When You Don’t Know the History of the Dog That Bit You
Another situation where it’s critical to see a doctor is when you don’t know the dog’s history. If you’re unsure if the dog has a violent past, infectious diseases or if they’re up to date on their shots, it’s a good idea to get checked out by a professional. The doctor knows what things to look for and what problems may arise after a bite from an animal with an unknown history. They can order the appropriate tests and monitor your health.
Seeing a Doctor To Document the Severity of Your Dog Bite Injury
When you’re injured by a dog bite, you may have the right to claim financial compensation. Documenting the severity of your injury is a critical part of making a claim. When you go to the doctor, they create a record. Your doctor’s report may include the following helpful information:
- The severity of the injury
- Damage to the skin, muscle, nerves, tendons and bones
- Care and treatment needed
- Follow-up care required
- Complications that may arise from wounds
- Documentation of the date and time of the injury
Knowing what treatment you need can give you an approximate idea of the future cost of your medical care. It can also give you a starting point to measure the pain and suffering that accompanies your injuries.
Levels of Severity of Dog Bites
One way to measure the severity of a dog bite is to consider the extent of the injury:
- No contact: The dog’s teeth don’t come in contact with skin. The dog may bite clothing or otherwise come near the victim, but skin contact doesn’t occur.
- Minor: No broken skin, but there is contact between the dog’s teeth and the victim’s skin.
- Significant: Puncture wounds are shallow. There may be one puncture wound or several, but they are all minor.
- Serious: At least one puncture wound significantly penetrates the skin. The wounds result from a single bite.
- Severe: There are multiple bites, and puncture wounds are deep. The victim is severely injured.
Of course, even a minor dog bite can cause significant damage. Even the smallest of dog bites can become infected and amount to a serious injury.
Plus, a dog can even cause a severe injury without coming into contact with its victim at all. A dog that tries to attack a victim may send the victim fleeing. The victim may fall over or run into harm’s way. Measuring the severity of a dog bite can give you a rough indication of the injury, but appearances alone can be misleading. Ultimately, the severity of a dog bite depends on how much damage it causes for the victim and the time it takes to recover.
Signs and Symptoms After a Dog Bite
Knowing the signs and symptoms after a dog bite can help you determine when it’s time to see a doctor. Some common problems after a dog bite may include:
- Redness and swelling
- Torn skin, bleeding
- Pain to the touch, tenderness
- Fever or chills
- Difficulty using the hand or leg that was bitten
- Loss of feeling or tingling
- Mood changes or general fatigue
It’s always best to err on the side of caution and see a doctor. Some signs of serious dangers are subtle. A doctor can help you address any concerns and rule out serious injuries or treat them as quickly as possible.
Why Is It Necessary To Go to the Doctor to Bring a Dog Bite Personal Injury Claim?
It’s necessary to go to the doctor in order to bring a dog bite personal injury claim to document that the injury occurred and what the damages are. The victim bears the burden to prove the extent of their damages. They do that by gathering evidence.
Medical treatment is the basis of any dog bite claim, and receiving treatment creates a record of the injuries. The treating professional is often a critical witness when it comes to identifying the severity of injuries and the value of the dog bite claim.
Work With a Dog Bite Injury Attorney
If you’re injured by a dog, you may deserve financial compensation. Verifying your injuries with medical treatment is an integral part of your claim. Personal injury attorneys can guide you through the claims process and advocate on your behalf when you’re injured by a dog. However, the more evidence and documentation you have of your injuries, the stronger your claim will be.