Dog bites are a serious public health problem. Each year, millions of people are bitten by dogs, and thousands of those bites require medical attention. In some cases, dog bites can be fatal.
There are many factors that can contribute to a dog bite, including:
• A Dog’s Breed: Some breeds of dogs are more likely to bite than others. For example, pit bulls, Rottweilers, and German shepherds are all considered to be “high-risk” breeds.
• A Dog’s Training (or Lack Thereof): Dogs that are not properly trained or socialized are more likely to bite.
The Dangers of Dog Bites
Dog bites can cause a variety of injuries, including:
• Lacerations: Lacerations are cuts that can be deep and require stitches.
• Fractures: Dog bites can break bones, such as the bones in the face or the arm.
• Internal injuries: Dog bites can cause internal injuries, such as organ damage or bleeding.
• Infections: Dog bites can become infected, which can lead to serious complications, such as sepsis.
• Rabies: Rabies is a deadly virus that can be transmitted through dog bites.
In addition to the actual bite, a dog bite can have additional consequences. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 18 percent of dog bites develop a bacterial infection. While a dog’s mouth has over 60 types of bacteria, only a few affect humans. Diseases that dog bites may cause include:
• Tetanus, which causes rigid paralysis.
• Rabies, which is rare from a dog bite but still a risk. Rabies affects the brain and is usually fatal once you start seeing symptoms, and it spreads through the saliva of an infected animal.
• Pasteurella, bacteria seen in more than 50 percent of infected dog bite wounds, causes a red infection at the bite. It may be more serious in people with compromised immune systems. Symptoms include joint swelling, swollen glands, and difficulty with movement.
• Capnocytophaga bacteria is a bacteria that lives in the mouths of cats, dogs, and people. While this bacteria does not affect cats and dogs, it could spread to people through scratches, bites, or even close contact with an animal.
• MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is a staph infection that is resistant to a specific group of antibiotics. Humans and dogs can carry MRSA without showing any symptoms. However, the bacteria may cause urinary tract infections, lung infections, and skin infections in people. If MRSA spreads to the bloodstream or lungs, it can become life-threatening.
What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Dog
If you are bitten by a dog, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. The doctor will clean and disinfect the wound and may prescribe antibiotics to prevent infection. If the dog is not your own, the doctor will also try to identify the dog and its owner.
It is also important to report the dog bite to your local animal control organization.
Dog bites are a serious problem, but they can be prevented. By being aware of the dangers of dog bites and taking steps to prevent them, you can help to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
Contact a Dog Bite Attorney
If a bite is bad enough, you may see scarring of the bite area, or you may even lose your vision if the bite is near your face and eyes. If bitten by a dog, you should always get medical attention immediately and contact an Indianapolis dog bite attorney. While many dog bites are accidents, some are the result of negligence. Regardless, if you were not provoking the dog or trespassing on the dog owner’s property, a court may award you compensation for your injuries.
Who Is Responsible for a Dog Bite?
< As with most cities and counties, Indianapolis has leash laws. If a dog is purposely off-leash, the owner of the dog is liable for the bite, and a court may even determine that the owner acted negligently by not preventing the bite. A dog bite lawyer will investigate the case to learn the circumstances of the incident, including whether the owner has been cited for loose dogs or in other dog bite cases, which would also help to establish negligence. Indiana law states that if a dog bites you and you did not provoke the dog—and you had the right to be on the property where the bite occurred—the owner is liable for the dog bite. However, if the owner has knowledge that the dog has bitten someone before, the dog owner may be charged with a criminal offense, especially if the owner fails to restrain the dog and the dog attacks without provocation. However, if you are found to have been trespassing or provoked the dog, you may share in the liability for your bite.
Damages You Might Recover After a Dog Bite
Depending on the specific circumstances of your accident, a court may award you certain damages following a dog bite incident, including:
• Medical bills
• Lost pay from not being able to work
• Pain and suffering
In extreme cases where a dog owner is negligent and knows his or her dog has a bite history or is aggressive toward people, you’re likely also eligible to recover damages. If your loved one dies from a dog attack, you may also recover financial compensation for loss of companionship, funeral and burial expenses, and medical expenses incurred by the deceased.
Contact an Indianapolis Dog Bite Lawyer
If you’ve suffered a dog bite, contact the Law Office of Hurst Limontes LLC, an Indianapolis dog bite lawyer, by visiting our website or by calling (317) 636-0808 to schedule your free consultation and discuss your case.