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A dog bite is a frightening and painful experience. If it ever happens to you, you will need to know what immediate steps to take to protect your health and your legal rights.

Protecting Your Health

Any injury that breaks the skin needs immediate attention. Be sure to:

  • Wash the wound with clean water and apply pressure to slow bleeding.
  • Place a sterile bandage firmly but not too tightly around the wound.
  • Keep the injury elevated to slow bleeding and reduce swelling.

Seek emergency medical care if:

  • The injury is gaping, or if bleeding does not stop within 15 minutes.
  • The injury shows signs of infection like redness, pus, or fever.
  • You do not know the dog’s immunization status.
  • The bite is on your face, hand, or foot.
  • You have not had a tetanus shot within five years.

Protecting Your Rights

  • Get names, addresses, and phone numbers of any potential witnesses.
  • Do not discuss money or legal issues with the dog’s owner.
  • Gather documentation of your injuries, including photographs and hospital records.
  • Contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
  • Do not sign anything until you have spoken with a lawyer.