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After a Dog Bite, Take These Steps

May 15, 2018

Dogs are man’s best friend, but not all animals are entirely friendly. Despite man’s bond with canines, dogs do have a history of biting and injuring humans. In some cases, death has even occurred. It is important to understand that you do have legal avenues to pursue compensation if you have been injured by a vicious dog. It’s important to contact an animal attack attorney as soon as possible to learn how to proceed and defend your rights.

Immediately After Your Attack

If you’ve been bitten by a dog, the first and most important step is to seek medical attention. Once you are sure you’re safe, get the information of the dog owner and document your injuries and the circumstances leading up to the bite. There’s a huge difference between dealing with a snip from your best friend’s dog and coping with a huge bite from an aggressive dog belonging to a stranger.

If the bite is minor enough to handle yourself, wash the bite carefully with soap and water, apply a bandage over the wound, use antibiotic ointment every day, and keep the injury elevated until bleeding stops. If you don’t know the dog and can’t guarantee that it has had all vaccinations, you also need to go to the doctor’s to have the rabies vaccine and potentially a tetanus shot.

Understand Legal Implications

Every state has different dog laws. Some states have a “one bite” law that essentially gives a dog one “get out of jail free card” before holding the dog and dog owner responsible for any dog bite injuries. Other states stick with strict liability, which means that if the plaintiff was legally allowed to be present near the dog, and the dog was not provoked, the dog is to blame for the bite.

Missouri in particular is a strict liability state. This means that the owner of a dog that bites without provocation is strictly and fully liable for the damages, “regardless of the former viciousness of the dog” or the “knowledge of such viciousness.” However, if the dog was provoked or if the dog bite occurred when you were on private property without permission, the dog owner is no longer strictly liable.

Talk to an Attorney

It is wise to meet with a dog bite attorney in St. Louis to understand the implications of your dog bite and understand what compensation you can receive. You may be entitled to medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage for your dog bite, depending on the circumstances and severity of bite.

Call (314) 310-8373 to schedule a consultation at Swaney Law Firm in St. Louis, Missouri. Attorney Swaney will evaluate your dog bite situation and help you pursue compensation for your experience.