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Important steps to take if a dog bites you

Dogs have long been known as man's best friend. Unfortunately, not all dogs are friendly, and some are downright aggressive. This can result in all types of trouble, with the most serious being when a dog bites or attacks an innocent person.

If a dog appears aggressive or distressed, it's best to keep your distance. The same holds true if you don't know the dog. Attempting to get too close increases the risk of an attack.

Even if you're doing your best to avoid trouble, an aggressive dog could still attack. If this happens, there are five key steps to take:

  • Seek medical attention: Even if you think you have a minor injury, it's better to be safe than sorry with your health. Immediately visit a local emergency room for a professional diagnosis and treatment. You may come to find that there's more to your injury than what you see on the surface.
  • Administer first aid: While you're waiting on an ambulance or heading to the hospital, place gentle pressure on the wound to stop the bleeding. If possible, wash the wound with warm water and mild soap.
  • Gather information: As time allows, collect evidence from the scene, as well as contact information for any witnesses. This isn't easy to do if you're injured, but try your best.
  • Obtain the dog's vet records: This gives you a clear idea of any vaccinations it has received, as well as a disease history. For example, if the dog isn't up to date on its rabies shots, you may need to get the rabies vaccine.
  • Don't negotiate with the dog's owner: After you're on the path to recovery, you'll turn your attention to the cause of the attack, your legal rights and any steps you can take to obtain compensation. It's a mistake to negotiate privately with the dog's owner, as this could result in missing out on money that's owed to you.

By remaining calm, you'll find it easier to take the necessary steps after a dog bite. While your health is top priority, don't lose sight of your legal rights. There is compensation to be had, so don't stop until you have considered all your options.

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