Most dog owners are confident when they say their dog doesn’t bite, but you never know what they can do when they get provoked. As a dog owner, you probably know the temperament and personality of your dog after they’ve lived with you long enough. You may not think that your pet could bite somebody because they’ve been well behaved all their life, but there’s always a chance that someone might hurt or provoke them, and they will fight back.
When your dog bites someone, you may have a financial and legal obligation to the victim, depending on the circumstances. But before we talk about what to do if your dog bites somebody, here are the situations where owner liability is likely inapplicable:
You may not be held liable if:
- The victim was trespassing on your property or breaking the law
- The victim was unreasonably careless
- The victim knew the risk of injury and took it anyway
- The victim provoked the dog, resulting in injury
Similar to experienced motorcycle accident lawyers in Salt Lake City and other cities, lawyers who specialize in dog bite injuries need to assess the situation before deciding what legal step to take. If the situation falls in one of the events stated above, you may not be held at fault, but that will still depend on your state laws and amount of evidence.
Restrain the dog
Lead your dog away from the victim and tie them up outside or lock them in a room until they calm down. Be careful where you grab your dog as they may hurt you, too.
But if your dog is attacking a person who means harm to you and your property, call the police as soon as you can. Don’t approach the suspicious person in an attempt to break them up–they may hurt you when you get within arm’s reach.
Treat the victim
However, if the victim is an invited guest, neighbor, or innocent passerby, it’s part of your responsibility as a dog owner to provide first aid, at least.
After you restrain your dog, administer first aid to the victim. Wash the bitten area with soap and warm water if the skin isn’t broken. Otherwise, wash the area and press on the bite wounds to flush some of the blood out. But if the wound is bleeding, wash and then cover the bite with a clean cloth to stop the blood. Apply an antibacterial medicine to the wound and then cover it with sterile gauze.
If your dog is not vaccinated, take the victim to an animal bite center. And if the wound is severe or in critical areas (e.g. neck, face, crotch), go to the hospital immediately.
Contact a lawyer
If the victim sues you, contact a lawyer to help you determine what your options are. There are many ways your case can go, and having a lawyer who specializes in dog bite injuries will increase your chances of winning against the lawsuit.
Dogs can be unpredictable sometimes, and they can bite even if they’ve been non-aggressive all their life. Protect yourself as a dog owner and make sure you take the following precautions:
- Put up warning signs on your property
- Warn visitors about your dog
- Restrain your dog when you have guests over
- Secure your yard so the dog doesn’t escape
- Follow leash laws
- Don’t let people taunt, tease, or play-fight your dog