What Should I Do if a Dog Bites My Child?

What Should I Do If a Dog Bites My Child

As a parent, there are few things more terrifying than seeing your child get injured – especially due to a dog bite. Those teeth can do serious damage in an instant, leaving physical wounds and emotional trauma that can last long after.

Even a friendly family pet can lash out if startled or threatened. While every dog bite situation is different, there are some general guidelines that can help you through this.

As personal injury lawyers, we’ve helped many parents handle this process. Keep reading to learn what to do if a dog bites your child, including tips to handle the situation responsibly while putting your child’s well being first.

What To Do Immediately After a Dog Bite

If your child has been bit or attacked by a dog, it’s crucial to take immediate steps to reduce the risk of infection and address the injury:

  1. First, wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water to clean it.
  2. Apply an antiseptic solution or hydrogen peroxide to further disinfect the area.
  3. Cover the wound with a clean bandage or cloth and elevate it if possible to minimize swelling.
  4. Seek medical attention promptly, especially if the bite is deep or punctured or if there are signs of infection such as redness, swelling, or pus.

In addition to the immediate steps mentioned, it’s important to consider disease prevention after a dog bite. Confirm the dog’s rabies vaccination status if possible, and if there is any doubt, consult a healthcare professional. Rabies is a potentially fatal disease that can be transmitted through bites.

Tetanus vaccination status should also be considered, and a healthcare provider may recommend a tetanus shot if the wound is deep or if it has been a while since the last vaccination. Regularly monitor the wound for signs of infection and follow any instructions given by healthcare professionals to ensure proper healing and disease prevention.

Should You Report a Bite?

Many people are hesitant to report a bite or scratch. They don’t want an isolated bite incident to result in an animal being euthanized or taken from its home.

The ultimate fallout will depend on the circumstances of your bite. Was it an isolated incident or an attack that represented a pattern of dangerous behavior? Was the animal agitated, or is it always aggressive?

Ultimately, an animal that bites is a major safety issue. Animal care services need to be able to perform a bite investigation to ensure that the incident is not at risk of repeating itself.

How to Report a Dog Bite in Illinois

To report a dog bite, contact your local animal control agency or the police non-emergency line. Be prepared to supply details they can use to thoroughly investigate the situation when you report the bite.

The information they will want could include:

  • Incident Details: Date, time, and location of the dog bite incident.
  • Dog Description: Breed, size, color, and distinctive markings of the dog.
  • Owner Information: Name and contact details of the dog owner (if known).
  • Witness Information: Names and contact details of any witnesses to the incident.
  • Severity of Injury: Brief description of the injuries sustained (if any).
  • Medical Treatment: Details about seeking medical attention, including the medical facility (if applicable).
  • Additional Details: Any other relevant information, such as the dog’s behavior during the incident.

If you have any witness details, share that information as well. It’s important to report dog bites promptly to ensure public safety and proper investigation of the incident.

Are Dog Owners Legally Liable For Dog Bites in Illinois?

In Illinois, dog owners can be held strictly liable for bites or any injuries caused by their dogs, thanks to the state’s Animal Control Act (510 ILCS 5/16). This strict liability applies if:

  • The victim was peaceably conducting themselves
  • They had a lawful right to be in the location where the incident occurred
  • The victim did not provoke the dog

Importantly, Illinois dog bite laws allow victims to recover damages for any type of dog attack – not just bites. So even if you were pushed down, scratched, or otherwise injured short of an actual bite, you may still have a valid personal injury claim.

Liability can fall on either the dog’s owner or whoever was in control of the dog at the time of the attack. For example, if the owner asked a neighbor to dog-sit and an incident occurred, that neighbor could potentially be sued.

Victims generally have two years from the date of a dog bite or attack to file a claim in Illinois. Working with an experienced dog bite attorney is advisable to ensure your rights are fully protected.

Contact Our Dog Bite Lawyers Today

If your child has suffered a dog bite injury, the team at Onward Injury Law is here to help. Our attorneys understand the trauma of dog attacks and will fight tirelessly to ensure your family receives the compensation you deserve.

You don’t have to deal with this alone – contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation. We’ll review the details of your case and advise you on the best path forward to protect your child’s rights.

At Onward Injury Law, we’re committed to securing justice and maximum compensation for dog bite victims in Monticello and throughout Illinois. Call us today to get started.

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