How Serious Is a Dog Bite Injury?
Not all dog owners are careful about restraining their dogs when visitors or workers come to their property. Even dogs that people claim are generally friendly are capable of biting people who do not provoke them. If you were recently bitten by a dog, it is important to understand the potential impact of the bite and what to do next. A dog bite injury can be very serious, and this is true whether the dog is small or large.
There is a common misconception that some people have or spread about dog bites not being serious because they believe that a dog’s mouth is clean. However, dogs’ mouths still have bacteria, and bites that break the skin can introduce that bacteria. Also, improper treatment of the bite can leave the site susceptible to more bacteria and an infection. If the infection enters the blood, it can turn into sepsis, which is a life-threatening infection.
Do I Need Medical Care for a Dog Bite?
Anyone who is bitten by a dog should seek immediate medical care. Even if the bite does not hurt a lot or seem too deep, it is still important to seek medical care because of the potential complications and damage. These are some examples of serious problems that can come from dog bites:
- Muscle damage
- Nerve damage
- Bone fractures
A medical professional can evaluate the bite to determine the extent of damage. Doctors can clean the wound and provide instructions for home care to minimize infection risks. The hospital may collect X-ray images to see if there are broken or fractured bones. To be safe, a doctor may also recommend a tetanus booster shot.
If the dog was not vaccinated for rabies, or if the dog’s vaccination history is unknown, a rabies shot may be suggested. Also, if the dog was acting unusual or showed physical signs of rabies, a shot is a good idea and can be a life-saving treatment. Dogs that have rabies are usually more aggressive than usual or show erratic behavior. They may also foam at the mouth.
Do Dog Bites Have Long-Term Effects?
While many dog bites heal with proper care, some can come with complications and lead to permanent and devastating effects. For example, a simple dog bite that breaks the skin and is properly cared for may heal completely within a few weeks. If that same dog bite that does not appear too bad at first is not cared for, and it becomes infected, the infection may spread. If the infection spreads far enough, it can lead to a much more serious infection that is harder to treat. In some instances, dogs can carry MRSA, which is a type of staph bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics. For someone who has a wound with MRSA, an infection can spread enough to warrant an amputation. It may also lead to a long-lasting infection that requires extensive medical care to treat.
Additionally, if a dog bite also breaks a bone, the bone may not heal properly and can lead to mobility issues. If a dog bite severs a finger, it may not be possible to reattach the digit, leading to a permanent and partial disability. Although many dog bites are not that severe, those are a few potential examples of long-term effects. However, for any injury from a dog bite, you may be able to collect compensation if the bite occurred because of another person’s negligence.
Do I Need a Dog Bite Lawyer?
If you were bitten by an unprovoked dog that someone else owns, a dog bite attorney can help you recover damages that you may be entitled to by law. Negligent dog owners are typically liable for injuries their dogs cause to people, and this may apply on or off the dog owner’s property. According to the Illinois Animal Control Act, if a dog or other pet attacks or injures a person without provocation, the owner is liable for all civil damages that the animal causes.
In some cases, people have rare complications even if they receive proper medical care, and those effects can negatively impact multiple areas of life. A dog bite lawyer can evaluate your case and help determine a fair compensation amount to request based on the severity of your injuries and other factors. To learn more about getting compensation for a dog bite injury in Illinois, please contact Prince Law Firm for a free consultation.
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