Dog Bites: What to Do After a Dog Attack
8/25/2020 Personal Injury John Whitfield
It’s true that dogs are man’s best friend, but dogs are still animals that react on instinct. Dog bites are more common than people realize, affecting more than 4.7 million people annually across the country. While common, dog bites can inflict serious injuries that can precipitate severe infection. Because of this, the actions taken following a dog attack are crucial to the health and safety of the dog bite victim. Further, dog bites have the potential to inflict long-term injury to limbs, muscles, and nerves that can require surgeries and physical therapy.
Tennessee Law on Dog Bites
Under Tennessee law, an individual may file a claim following a dog attack under the legal theory of strict liability because of the state’s one-bite rule. Due to the complexities of these laws, they commonly confuse victims, which is further reason to contact an experienced Tennessee personal injury lawyer to review the facts of your accident and determine an appropriate course of action.
The one-bite rule holds that a dog bite victim may bring a claim against a dog owner if the victim can prove the owner knew the dog was aggressive – typically following a dog’s first bite attack. This rule applies to Tennessee dog owners who live on a farm, private residence, or non-commercial property that they rent, lease, or occupy.
Actions to Take After a Dog Attack
As with any personal injury accident, it’s important for every dog bite victim to be properly assessed by a trained medical professional. Depending on the severity of the attack, a victim may require emergency care. The longer a dog bite victim waits to receive medical attention, the greater their chance of contracting an infection or experiencing prolonged health issues. Dog bite victims are at risk of contracting serious diseases – like rabies – if the animal is not properly vaccinated or otherwise sick. The recommended steps to take after being bitten by a dog include:
1) Seek medical attention. It’s a common misconception that only stray dogs carry dangerous diseases. Regardless of whether or not the victim is familiar with the dog, they should treat the attack as possibly causing the contraction of a disease and seek medical attention. This includes minor bites as well. Even if a dog bite can be controlled with at home first aid, it’s important to follow up with a healthcare professional to inspect the wound for potential infection or a hidden injury that requires additional treatment.
2) Follow proper injury aftercare. The effects of a dog attack linger long after it takes place. Dog bite victims need to pay close attention to their wounds and follow proper aftercare steps, including keeping wounds clean and disinfected to avoid infection. Without ensuring proper aftercare, even a minor wound can become severely infected with serious consequences like amputation needed in order to stop the spread.
3) Hire a lawyer. It’s important to hire legal representation after sustaining a personal injury caused by the fault of another to ensure you’re not made a victim twice.
Nashville Dog Attack Lawyers
Dogs can be loving companions that provide friendship and protection to their owners, but when dogs are not properly restrained or are trained to act aggressively, innocent individuals get hurt. While most dog owners consider their pets part of the family, dogs are still animals with the ability to hurt even those with whom they are familiar. If you or a loved one has experienced a dog attack, contact the Nashville dog bite lawyers of Whitfield Bryson LLP today to discuss your case at no cost.