What Are the Most Common Injuries in Dog Bite Cases?
Dogs bring lots of joy to their owners and others who interact with them. They’re playful and comforting and in many cases, they’re members of the family. However, without the appropriate training, care and monitoring, they can become aggressive. Dogs can bite relatives, visitors to the home, and innocent bystanders and they do so more often than you may expect. Given how serious a dog bite can be, you deserve to get compensation if someone else’s dog attacks you. A Maryland dog bite lawyer can explain your legal rights and help you to recover damages. There are almost 4.5 million dog bite cases in the United States every year and about 9,500 result in hospitalization. Dog bites typically result in bruising, pain, stiffness and scarring. With proper treatment, a small bite doesn’t usually lead to more serious problems. However, larger dogs can cause deeper wounds since their teeth can penetrate the muscle. A deep bite wound can even cause damage to the bones. In such a case, the victim usually needs to go to the emergency room. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say one in five dog bite injuries results in an infection. This is the most common complication and infections can take several forms.
Diseases and Infections Caused by Dog BitesRabies is perhaps the most well-known complication that can result from a dog bite. It is a virus that can be transferred via the saliva of an infected dog. It causes inflammation of the brain and in most cases, it is fatal. However, it’s not the most common effect of a dog bite. Pasteurella is the type of bacteria that’s most likely to be found in dog bites. It can cause pain, redness, and swelling at the affected site. Another possible infection is Capnocytophaga spp. This is a type of bacteria that lives in the dog’s mouth. It can be spread through bites, especially if the victim has a weakened immune system. Deep bite wounds can also cause a tetanus infection in people who are not vaccinated. Tetanus can result in paralysis. Some infections cause the tissue at or around the infection site to die. Preventing the infection from spreading to the victim’s vital organs may require amputation.
What’s Covered Under Maryland’s Dog Bite LawIn Maryland, a dog owner is liable for any injuries or property damage the animal causes when running at large. However, they can’t be held responsible if the injured person was:
- Trespassing on their property or attempting to trespass
- Committing another crime on the owner’s property or attempting to do so
- Committing a crime against another person or attempting to do so
- Provoking, teasing, tormenting or abusing the dog
Steps to Take Following a Dog Bite Injury
- As soon as you suffer a dog bite injury, you need to seek medical attention. Bites that go untreated are likely to result in infection. Seeing a doctor also ensures you have proof of your injuries.
- Identify the owner of the dog. This is easy when the dog or the owner is already known to you. However, if the accident occurred in a public place, you may need to ask the owner for their contact information. Asking to see their driver’s license is usually the best way to ensure you get the correct information. If you don’t know who owns the dog, you won’t be able to get compensation.
- Take photos of your injuries and the animal which bit you. This can help support your dog bite cases.
- Get the contact information for any eyewitnesses.
- Report the incident to the local animal control authorities.