We think of dogs as lovable, happy animals, so it can be difficult to picture them causing serious injury. However, an estimated 4.7 million Americans are bitten by dogs every year, and approximately half of them are reportedly small children.
In the best-case scenario, a dog bite doesn’t break the skin, and only requires you to wash the injured area, apply antibiotic cream and cover the area with a bandage. However, when a dog bite breaks the skin, there is a possibility that bacteria from the dog’s mouth will enter the person’s body through the wound, causing infection, including capnocytophaga infection, sepsis, rabies or tetanus. Washing the wound immediately may help you avoid getting an infection.
Without treatment, these infections can result in serious complications (e.g. kidney failure, heart attack) and even result in death. Warmth around the wound, redness and swelling, fever, pain lasting longer than 24 hours and uncontrollable bleeding or drainage from the wound may all be signs of infection and require immediate medical attention.
Dog bites and animal attacks can cause serious physical pain and mental anguish, but they can also take a toll on you financially. Out-of-pocket medical expenses combined with lost wages from days off work leave many dog bite victims worried about more than just healing from their injuries.
Filing a lawsuit against the owner of the dog that attacked you may be the best way to recover compensation for your injuries. In Illinois, dog bite victims must prove that the dog attacked or injured them, that they were legally allowed to be in the area when the dog attacked and that they did not provoke the dog. Illinois is a strict liability state when it comes to dog bites, meaning that owners can be liable for injuries caused by their dog even if they were unaware of their dog’s aggressive tendencies. An attorney specializing in dog bite lawsuits in your area can help file your claim.