Dog bites can range in severity from minor to severe. In all cases of dog bites, however, there is a potential risk for serious complications such as infection or rabies that can lead to unexpected future medical costs. Knowing when to see a doctor for a dog bite is therefore critical.
See a South Carolina dog bite lawyer from Shelley Leeke Law Firm today to learn more.
What to Do Immediately After Being Bitten by a Dog
After being bitten by a dog, there are a number of steps that should be immediately taken to ensure that the victim is in a safe and stable condition. Doing so could potentially save their life:
- Call 9-1-1: Calling an ambulance staffed with professional emergency medical personnel should be the very first step after a dog bite. Paramedics will be able to assess the wound and determine if the victim is in need of hospitalization.
- Wash and place pressure on the wound: In the meantime, it is important to ensure that the injury is cleared of bacteria and dirt with alcohol or water. Afterward, stop the bleeding by applying pressure to the wound.
- Treat and dress: After blood flow is controlled, those attending the victim can apply antibiotic ointment if on hand and dress the wound to keep it clean.
While not all dog bites are potentially life-threatening, it is always a good idea to get a professional medical opinion on the matter. A doctor will be able to determine if the wound is at risk of infection and potentially test you for viruses such as rabies. In addition, seeing a doctor could prove critical to a personal injury case later down the line.
How a Doctor Will Treat a Dog Bite
While doctors vary their methods of treating wounds based on their severity, doctors will typically begin by stopping excessive blood flow and assessing the damage and risk for infection, rabies, and other biological threats.
In addition to these measures, a doctor will be better able to determine the amount of damage done to someone’s tissue. They may recommend stitches or if more serious, reconstructive surgery. Finally, a doctor will be able to provide necessary medications after the fact such as oral prescriptions or tetanus shots.
Potential Risk for Rabies
One of the less-obvious risks of a dog bite is rabies. Although it is difficult to tell just by looking at an animal if it has rabies, a tell-tale sign is that the animal is overly aggressive. Transmission is typically done through saliva, meaning an aggressive dog is an ideal carrier and transmitter of the viral disease.
Rabies is dangerous due to its lethality, as it is virtually 100% fatal. Additionally, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), in up to 99% of cases, domestic dogs are responsible for rabies transmission to humans.
Doctors, therefore, need to catch the disease quickly. They will do so through skin biopsies, saliva tests, and spinal taps, from which point they can begin treatment in the form of injections spread out over the course of a couple of weeks. This can increase medical costs for the victim, eventually leading to an increased need for compensation.
Obtaining Financial Compensation from the Owner
South Carolina is no exception to the number of states that take dog owners seriously. In the eyes of the law, possessing a potentially dangerous animal as a pet carries serious responsibilities. This is especially true when it comes to the potential harm the animal could inflict on other people.
Dog owners can therefore be held responsible for the damage they cause to other people. In fact, medical treatments are far from the only costs that dog owners can be sued for if their pet inflicts harm upon another individual:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Costs of living with a disability
- Loss of income
- Personal care costs
Is it Important to See a Doctor After a Dog Bite?
Dog bite victims should not be scared of seeing a doctor or other type of medical professional after a dog bite, as they should not ultimately be responsible for the costs. With the help of an attorney, victims can recover compensation for dog bite victims for their losses, penalizing the owners.
In fact, seeing a doctor after a dog bite can have a number of additional benefits for a legal case. For example, doctors are able to assess the severity of an injury and give a detailed account of what will be needed for the victim to properly and holistically address their injury. This may even include future visits and check-ups that otherwise would not be included in medical compensation.
A South Carolina dog bite attorney from Shelley Leeke Law Firm will be able to use medical professionals’ testimony and use it to calculate damages in a court of law. This would be presented in a case and give a better foundation for your legal team to establish not only that the injury did in fact, happen, but how much compensation you are entitled to as a result.
Statute of Limitations in South Carolina
Every state in the U.S. has statutes of limitations. These vary based on the type of accident that occurred and where it occurred in the first place. Statutes of limitations are important because they set a deadline on how long victims can wait before filing a claim.
In South Carolina, the statute of limitations on dog bites falls under the “personal injury category,” meaning victims have three years from the date of the injury to file a claim. It is important to work quickly with attorneys in order to meet this deadline, as some cases can take a substantial amount of time to investigate and bring to the court.
How to Pursue Legal Action After a Dog Bite
Seeking the help of a doctor and other medical professionals after a dog bite is just the first step. Reach out to a South Carolina dog bite lawyer from the Shelley Leeke Law Firm to learn more about how much compensation you may be eligible for after a dog bite in South Carolina.