Dog Bites Are Serious

Houston has won another dubious honor. During Dog Bite Prevention Week, the United States Postal Service announced that more postal employees were attacked by dogs in Houston than in any other U.S. city in 2018. This may sound like the start to a bad joke, but it is a serious problem.

Texas leads the nation in dog bite fatalities and has a staggering number of bites per capita reported each year. This is a big deal because 1 in 5 people bitten by a dog require medical attention, and up to 18% of all dog bites become infected.

Be Prepared

If you are bitten by a dog, the federal Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends you take the following steps:

Protect Yourself

  • Put your purse, bag, or jacket between you and the dog.
  • If you are knocked down, curl into a ball with your head tucked in and your hands over your ears and neck.

Wash Wounds with Soap and Water

When you get to a safe place, immediately wash wounds with soap and water. Seek medical attention, especially:

  • For minor wounds:
    • Wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water.
    • Apply an antibiotic cream.
    • Cover the wound with a clean bandage.
    • See a healthcare provider if the wound becomes red, painful, warm, or swollen; if you develop a fever; or if the dog that bit you was acting strangely.
  • For deep wounds:
    • Apply pressure with a clean, dry cloth to stop the bleeding.
    • If you cannot stop the bleeding or you feel faint or weak, call 911 or your local emergency medical services immediately.
    • See a healthcare provider as soon as possible.
  • See a healthcare provider:
    • If the wound is serious (uncontrolled bleeding, loss of function, extreme pain, muscle or bone exposure, etc.).
    • If the wound becomes red, painful, warm, or swollen, or if you develop a fever.
    • If you don’t know if the dog has been vaccinated against rabies.
    • If it has been more than 5 years since your last tetanus shot and the bite is deep.

Report the Bite

  • Because anyone who is bitten by a dog is at risk of getting rabies, consider contacting your local animal control agency or police department to report the incident, especially:
    • If you don’t know if the dog has been vaccinated against rabies.
    • If the dog appears sick or is acting strangely.
  • If possible, contact the owner and ensure the animal has a current rabies vaccination. You will need the rabies vaccine license number, name of the veterinarian who administered the vaccine, and the owner’s name, address, and phone number.

An Additional Step

We would add one additional step to this list — contact an attorney.

It’s Only A Bite, Why Involve An Attorney?

When a dog bite leads to a serious injury, it is perfectly acceptable to contact an attorney to help you make an insurance claim or file a lawsuit against the dog’s owner. Our firm has handled many dog bite cases, so we know what evidence will be needed to make a good case, and can help you estimate what sort of compensation you will need in order to recover from or live with your injuries.

Working with an experienced personal injury attorney can also ease the tension if the person who owns the dog that bit you is a family member, friend, or neighbor. We can advocate on your behalf so you can blame us if the other party gets upset with you.