Around 4.5 million dog bites occur every year, and many of the victims are children between the ages of five and nine. In addition to serious physical injuries, some victims also struggle with long-term emotional distress. Here are a few steps that parents must take immediately after their child has been bitten by a dog.
Seek out Medical Attention
One of the biggest mistakes that you can make after your child has been bitten by a dog is avoiding professional medical attention. This is especially common when the injuries seem relatively minor or the parents believe that their child might have taunted the dog. Even if you are unsure of exactly what happened, you should immediately take your child to the hospital for a comprehensive check-up. Minor treatments and preventative medications could help your child avoid long-term injuries and chronic health problems.
Keep an Eye out for Emotional Distress
An animal attack is very traumatic for a child, and it could result in emotional issues for many years to come. If your child starts acting strangely, then you need to have them speak with a licensed therapist or counselor. Wetting the bed, nightmares, sudden temper tantrums, and skittishness are all signs that your son or daughter might be struggling with difficult emotions. You should ask their teachers and coaches to inform you of any unusual emotional issues as well.
If Necessary, Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
Animals attacks can result in extremely complicated legal battles. Some of the laws regarding dog bites are very vague, and your child might not be at fault even if they were in a neighbor’s yard or at a friend’s house. During your initial consultation, your personal injury attorney can give you more information on state, county, and city laws. They can also tell you if your case needs to go to court or the situation can be handled directly through the insurance provider.
File Appropriate Reports
Depending on where you live, you will most likely need to file a report with the police or the local animal control services. Some cities also require residents to file a report with the health department following a dog bite. If the situation evolves into a legal battle, then those reports will be invaluable to your case. Your attorney can help you file reports with all of the necessary agencies in a timely manner.
Most dog bites don’t result in serious injuries, but you should always err on the side of caution. From the moment that you hear about the bite, you must contact medical and legal specialists to determine what steps you need to take next.