• Cedar Rapids Dog Bite Injury Attorneys
  • Phone: 641-792-3595
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When a dog causes injury, Cedar Rapids dog bite injury lawyers step in as dedicated allies for the victims. Specializing in the intricate legal aspects of animal-related incidents, these legal advocates navigate the complexities of liability and compensation to ensure those harmed receive the justice and support they deserve.

What to Do After a Dog Bite: Treatment and Legal Steps

Being attacked by a dog can be a terrifying and dangerous experience. Unfortunately, children are the most frequent victims of serious dog bites. If you or a loved one is bitten by a dog, it is crucial to know the steps to take immediately following the incident, the medical treatment required, and the legal actions you can pursue.

Immediate Actions

1. Call 911: The first step is to call emergency services. This ensures that police and medical personnel are dispatched to the scene. The police will also begin investigating to identify the dog and its owner, which is crucial if the dog's rabies vaccination status is unknown. If the dog is not found, you may need to undergo rabies shots.

2. Identify the Dog and Owner: If the dog and its owner can be identified, the police will check for proof of rabies vaccination. If the dog is not vaccinated, it may be quarantined to monitor for rabies symptoms, determining whether you need rabies shots.

3. Medical Attention: Seek immediate medical attention for the bite. Dog bites can cause severe injuries, and prompt treatment is essential.

Medical Treatment and Care

Dog bites can lead to significant injuries, requiring various treatments, including:

- Antibiotics: To prevent or treat infections.
- Stitches: For deep wounds.
- Rabies Shots: If the dog's rabies status is unknown.
- Mental Health Counseling: To address trauma, especially if there are flashbacks, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, or fear of dogs.

After initial treatment, follow-up care is crucial:

- Avoid Sun Exposure: To help scars heal properly, use sunscreen if you must be in the sun.
- Scar Revision: If scars remain visible after 6 to 12 months and are bothersome, consult a plastic surgeon. Various procedures can reduce the appearance of scars.

Legal Steps

Iowa has strict liability laws for dog bite injuries, meaning the dog owner is typically liable for damages. Here's what you should do:

1. Identify the Dog Owner: This is essential for seeking compensation. If the owner has insurance (homeowner's or renter's), file a claim with their insurance company.

2. Insurance Adjuster: The insurance company will assign an adjuster to your case. Be cautious when speaking to them, especially about providing a recorded statement. It may be wise to consult an attorney before doing so.

3. Hire an Attorney: If the injuries are severe, hiring a qualified dog bite attorney can help you navigate the legal process. An attorney will protect your rights and ensure you receive fair compensation.

Children's Vulnerability and Psychological Effects

Children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of dog bites, both physically and emotionally. Common injuries include:

- Ripped scalp
- Torn ears
- Injuries to the mouth and eyes
- Scarring and disfigurement

The emotional and psychological impacts can be long-lasting, including:

- Separation anxiety
- Excessive crying
- Sleep problems
- Nightmares
- Depression
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Addressing these issues with professional counseling is vital for the child's recovery.

Dog Bite Prevention Tips

If you sense a dog might attack:

- Give the Dog Space: Move away calmly if you notice signs of aggression (e.g., tensing, raised hackles, whale eye).
- Remain Motionless: If the dog is close, stand still and avoid eye contact.
- Avoid Eye Contact: This can be seen as aggressive by the dog.
- Resist Impulses: Do not scream, run, or hit the dog. Stay quiet, still, and cover your face if attacked.

Know Your Rights

Under Iowa's strict liability law, dog owners are responsible for damages caused by their dogs. If you are attacked, consult an attorney to understand your rights and seek compensation for:

- Medical expenses (emergency room, surgeries)
- Psychological counseling
- Long-term care

For the complete list of things you should do if bitten by a dog you can request our FREE book, "Iowa Consumer's Guide to Dog Bites- Secrets to Not Get Bitten by Your Case" which is available to you with no risk or obligation by clicking here or by calling 641-792-3595

Why offer a Free Dog Bite Book?  Since 1997, I have been representing injured Iowans, including many dog bite victims from central Iowa and throughout the state.  I have heard too many horror stories about people making costly mistakes, causing them to lose thousands of dollars.  Before you talk to the insurance company you should know your rights and perhaps more importantly your responsibilities.   

If you need immediate assistance, contact us online or call us at (641) 792-3595. If you are not local to us, we will come to you.