Aggressive dog shows dangerous teeth

The Importance of Seeking Medical Attention After Your Dog Bite

Ronald S. Weiss, Attorney Dec. 29, 2023

Being bitten by a dog is a frightening experience. It's easy to feel overwhelmed and unsure of what to do next. We're here to tell you that seeking immediate medical attention is crucial. This isn't overreacting—it's prioritizing your health and well-being. 

Dog bites can lead to serious injuries and infections. Dogs have various bacteria in their mouths, including Capnocytophaga, Pasteurella, MRSA, and tetanus. These bacteria can cause severe infections if not treated promptly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), up to 18% of dog bites become infected with bacteria. That's almost one in five. 

But it's not just about infections. Physical injuries from dog bites can range from skin and muscle damage to nerve and bone injuries. Even minor bites can lead to significant damage if not treated correctly. By seeking immediate medical attention, these injuries can be addressed promptly and properly, reducing the risk of complications and promoting faster healing. 

The Risks of Not Seeking Immediate Medical Attention

We often hear from clients who initially dismissed a dog bite as minor, only to suffer serious complications later. It's a common misconception that if a dog bite doesn't look serious at first, it won't cause major problems. Unfortunately, this couldn't be further from the truth. 

One of the most severe potential complications is rabies. Although rare in the U.S., it's a risk that should never be ignored. Rabies is almost always fatal once symptoms appear, but it's preventable with immediate treatment after a bite from a potentially rabid animal. 

Then there are the psychological impacts. Many dog bite victims suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and fear of dogs after the incident. These emotional injuries can be just as debilitating as physical ones, impacting your quality of life and daily functioning. Early intervention, including counseling and support, can greatly assist in managing these psychological effects. 

Medical Evaluation: What to Expect

When you seek medical attention for a dog bite, healthcare professionals will assess the extent of your injury and provide appropriate treatment. This evaluation may include: 

  • Thorough cleaning and disinfection of the wound to reduce the risk of infection. 

  • Assessment of the need for stitches or other wound closure techniques to promote proper healing. 

  • Evaluation of the risk of rabies transmission and administration of a rabies vaccination if necessary. 

  • Prescription of antibiotics to prevent or treat infections. 

  • Recommendations for pain management and wound care at home. 

It is important to follow the healthcare professional's instructions and attend any follow-up appointments to ensure proper healing and prevent complications. 

The Legal Implications and Your Rights

Our personal injury attorneys handle cases throughout Michigan and Ohio, we understand the legal implications of dog bites and how critical medical records are in building a strong case. When you seek immediate medical attention, you're not just taking care of your health, but also creating a medical record that serves as vital evidence in your case. 

Medical records document your injuries, the treatment provided, and your anticipated future medical needs. They provide a timeline that can help establish the link between the bite and your injuries. This is invaluable in demonstrating the impact of the bite on your life and establishing liability. 

Moreover, the cost of medical treatment, including future expenses related to the bite, forms part of your damages claim. By seeking medical attention, you're ensuring those costs are documented and can be factored into any compensation you may receive. 

Seek Trusted Legal Counsel  

While it's understandable to feel overwhelmed in the aftermath of a dog bite, remember this: prioritizing your medical care is not just crucial for your health, but also for any potential legal action you might take. And remember, we're here for you. If you've been bitten by a dog and need legal assistance, reach out to us at Ronald S. Weiss, Attorney