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Dog Bites: Seven Things You Need to Know

Myriad Botanical Gardens Dog Park in Oklahoma City. Photo Credit: Myriad Botanical Gardens

If you partnered with a service dog, one of your concerns likely involves what would happen should you encounter an off-leash or out-of-control dog. Most of the time the other dogs you encounter are generally well-behaved. However, there’s always a risk that another dog could distract your canine partner from doing their job — or worse. But what happens if a dog bites you or your dog? Here are seven things you need to know about dog bites.


1. All dogs need to be socialized

Of course, an extremely important key to reducing incidents is training, specifically exhaustive socialization with your dog. The more situations your dog is exposed to the better and safer they will perform. That being said, accidents do happen.


2. Evaluate the dog bite and the seriousness of the incident

Fortunately, most dog are not serious. However, if blood is drawn it’s important to get appropriate medical attention quickly in order to avoid infection which lead to complications later.

If a dog bites you, take these steps right away:

  1. Wash the wound. Use mild soap, and run warm tap water over it for five to 10 minutes.
  2. Slow the bleeding with a clean cloth.
  3. Apply over-the counter antibiotic cream if you have it.
  4. Wrap the wound in a sterile bandage.
  5. Keep the wound bandaged and see your doctor.
  6. Change the bandage several times a day once your doctor has examined the wound.
  7. Watch for signs of infection, including redness, swelling, increased pain and fever.

Depending on the situation, you may also want to collect the information from owner of the dog who bit and witness information if applicable. Don’t forget to collect the dog owner’s insurance details too. Photos of any injuries and other documentation may prove helpful in the future.


3. You may be entitled to dog bite compensation

Depending on the severity of the incident, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages due to the injuries sustained, and the pain and suffering you underwent. Hire a dog bite lawyer in Oklahoma City or a city near you to help with your compensation case.


4. Understand about liability

Every dog owner is strictly liable for any bites if they knew or ought to have known of the dog’s vicious or dangerous nature as experienced in past occurrences. The burden of proof lies with the victim as it’s their responsibility to prove that the dog owner knew or should have known of the dog’s dangerous behavior. In such a case, the one-bite rule applies. If a dog bites you out of provocation by someone other than the owner, the owner can’t be held liable.


5. The kind of insurance that covers dog bites

In the event of a dog bite, the owner’s insurance covers all the damages thereof. Other types of insurance that may cover dog bite compensation include homeowners, renter’s, business, or landlord insurance. If you or your loved one are a dog bite victim, consult a dog bite lawyer to ensure the insurance company makes you a fair compensation offer. The lawyer can also negotiate on your behalf.


6. Deadlines for filing dog bite cases

If you don’t file your dog bite case on time, you could lose the right to do so. To file your lawsuit on time, know the statute limitations within your state and how they apply in your case. While the laws are the same across most states regarding personal injury lawsuits, the deadlines may range from one to six years, with the average limit being two to three years.


7. What happens if you miss the deadline?

If you file your dog bite lawsuit long after the deadline, the dog owner may request the court to dismiss the case. The court may grant an exception to the rule. Otherwise, you risk missing out on your compensation. In addition, avoid prolonging negotiation talks as this could lead to missed deadlines.







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