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What needs to be done after a dog bite?


If a person sustains wounds from an animal, he or she should go to a doctor, talk with witnesses, make records and file a report.

When a resident of Massachusetts is bit or scratched by an animal, there could be potential legal- and health-related ramifications. According to the Boston Public Health Commission, there were 538 reported animal bites and scratches over the course of a single year. Over half of these exposures were reportedly made by dogs. Everyone should know how to handle an animal bite.

Get medical help

Anyone who has been bitten by a dog should receive medical attention as soon as possible. Minor bites can become infected if not treated properly. If the bite is serious, it may be necessary to call first responders to the incident site. Seeking medical attention can also help start a paper trail of the injuries sustained in the attack.

Talk with witnesses

Witnesses can help identify the animal and its potential owner. As a person talks with witnesses, he or she should strive to get particular information, such as the following:

  • The names and addresses of witnesses
  • The name and medical history of the dog
  • The name and address of the owner

These details will make it easier for law enforcement to perform an investigation.

Create documentation

One of the most important things someone should do after being attacked by an animal is to start gathering documentation. This can include taking pictures of the injuries, but that is not where the recordings should end. A person should also write out any information he or she gets about the dog. For example, getting a copy of the pet’s license information and rabies shots can help speed up the reporting process.

Whenever the person talks with someone about his or her case, he or she should write down the details of the conversation as well as the name of the contact. This type of journal can help keep important details fresh in mind.

Make a proper report

Finally, a person who has been bitten or scratched by an animal needs to make the proper report. In some cases, this means filing a dog bite report. Following the correct legal process helps ensure the case will be handled in the best way possible. If these reports are not made as soon as possible, it may become harder to enforce any type of penalty on the owner and his or her dog. A person may be able to find out what type of reports are needed by contacting his or her local city or county offices.

If a Massachusetts resident is attacked by a dog, it may be hard to know what to do next. Working with an attorney who is familiar with this type of personal injury case may make the entire process a little easier.