Dog bites inflict serious injuries and pose a risk of deadly infections for Las Vegas residents. Clark County Animal Control, alone, responds to more than one hundred dog bite calls every month, and the Southern Nevada Health District reports that dog bites constitute a leading cause of non-fatal injuries for children.
In this blog post, we delve into the dangers of dog bites. We explore the types of injuries and illnesses they can inflict, and the steps you should take if a dog bites you or your child.
To learn more about your legal rights and options after suffering a harmful dog bite in Las Vegas, contact Pacific West Injury Law for a free case review.
The Severity of Dog Bites
Dog bites represent a danger to humans, and children in particular, because of their potential severity. Many dogs have powerful jaws, sharp teeth, and mouths that teem with dangerous pathogens. When a dog bites, those characteristics combine to put victims at risk of significant physical and disease-related health complications.
Lacerations, abrasions, and puncture wounds lead the list of potential physical injuries that can result from a dog biting a human. These injuries can, in turn, trigger dangerous bleeding and swelling. When a dog’s teeth sink deep enough into the skin, they can sever nerves, damage soft tissue, and even break bones. With proper treatment, these wounds may heal, but they can also leave behind disfiguring scars and disabilities.
The physical injuries inflicted by a dog bite can take an especially severe and traumatic toll on children. Youngsters, in particular, may not know the warning signs of an agitated dog, such as when a dog flattens its ears, tenses low to the ground, fixes its stare, and growls. An upset dog may direct its attack at an unwary child’s face, causing severe, potentially-disfiguring wounds and lasting emotional trauma.
Pacific West Injury Law represents Nevadans who have suffered these sorts of physical and emotional injuries in dog attacks. Our aim is to secure full and fair compensation for our clients’ physical, emotional, and financial trauma.
A dog bite also inevitably carries the potential to infect a victim with illness-causing viruses or bacteria. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the risk of contracting rabies constitutes the most immediate and serious infection concern, although other pathogens that commonly live in a dog’s mouths can also sicken humans the dog bites. Rabies is a viral disease most commonly transmitted to humans through animal bites, and dog bites in particular. If left untreated, rabies is nearly 100% fatal in humans.
Las Vegas ordinances require vaccination of all domestic dogs against rabies, but owners do not always comply. Stray dogs without owners also present a rabies risk because some of them have never received a vaccine. Even vaccinated dogs can get infected with rabies in rare instances because the vaccine does not confer 100% immunity.
Dog bite victims exposed to a potential rabies infection must seek immediate medical care that will likely include a course of shots to protect them against the disease. The treatments are highly effective if received quickly, but the emotional trauma of rabies exposure can linger, especially in children. At Pacific West Injury Law, we fight to make sure our clients receive compensation after dangerous rabies exposures.
What to Do if You Were Bitten by a Dog
No one plans to get bitten by a dog. It happens suddenly and unexpectedly. In the aftermath of a bite, victims may struggle with shock, panic, or confusion that makes it difficult to know what steps to take to protect themselves and their loved ones.
Here are some tips for how to confront and overcome that traumatic situation.
Get Medical Treatment
Your first priority after a dog bite is to get appropriate medical attention. Depending upon the severity of the bite, the CDC recommends immediate first aid measures that may include washing and bandaging the wound, applying antibiotic cream, or applying pressure with a clean cloth to staunch bleeding.
Then, go to the doctor. Call 9-1-1 or drive to the nearest emergency room if necessary, or schedule a same-day sick visit at your regular doctor or a walk-in clinic. The CDC emphasizes the particular importance of seeking medical care if the wound:
- Is deep or bleeds uncontrollably;
- Becomes red, swollen, or painful, especially if accompanied by fever;
- If you don’t know whether the dog was vaccinated against rabies; or
- If it has been more than 5 years since you received a tetanus booster and the wound is deep.
Tell the doctor you were bitten by a dog so that the doctor can decide on any rabies-related treatment you may need. Also, be sure to report the bite to your local animal control center.
Call a Dog Bite Injury Lawyer
If the dog that bit you belonged to someone else, then contact an experienced dog bite injury attorney as soon as you can. You may have substantial rights under Nevada law to receive compensation for your injuries and losses, including payment for:
- Medical and other out-of-pocket expenses;
- Lost wages and income;
- Pain, suffering, and emotional trauma; and
- In some cases, punitive damages.
An attorney can take quick action to preserve and enforce those rights, including by collecting evidence, speaking with witnesses, and preparing insurance claims and legal filings demanding the compensation you deserve.
Do I Really Need a Dog Bite Injury Lawyer?
Yes, you do. While you focus on recovering your physical and emotional health, an experienced attorney can take the necessary steps to secure you the money you need to pay for your care and to compensate you for the trauma you have suffered.
Contact the experienced dog bite injury team at Pacific West Injury Law today for a free case review to learn about your legal rights and options after a dog bites you or your child in Las Vegas.