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How to handle dog bite incidents

According to the CDC, 4.5 million dog bite injuries happen every year in the United States alone, some of them severe and long-lasting injuries. However, that doesn't mean 4.5 million dog bite injury cases are brought forward every year. Many people may not realize that dog bites are considered personal injury and that you can receive compensation for the damages caused, even if the injury is minor.

Whether you own a dog or not, there are measures you can take to avoid dog bites when you come into contact with others' dogs. Learn ways to lower the risk of dog bites and how to proceed if a dog bite does occur.

How to lower your chance of being bitten

Dogs have reasons for biting. Regardless of how much training they have, any dog could bite or attack if it feels threatened or if its owner is in danger. When interacting or coming in contact with a dog, it is important to know what behaviors could provoke a bite. You should:

• Always ask permission from the owner before approaching or petting their dog

• Let a dog sniff you before attempting to pet it

• Never bother a dog while it is eating or sleeping

• Never bother a dog that is caring for its puppies

• Do not engage in rough, excessive play with a dog

• Do not make loud noises around a dog

In some dog bite cases, victims receive less compensation if they had provoked the dog to bite in the first place. If you are mindful of your behavior around dogs, you are very unlikely to share fault if a dog bite occurs.

What to do if you get bitten

If you are bitten, even if the injury seems minor, you may still be entitled to compensation for damages. After a dog bite happens, you should:

• Get contact and insurance information from the dog owner

• Get contact information from any witnesses

• Seek medical help to prevent infection and treat the injury

• Contact an attorney about what happened and whether you can recover damages

Dog bite cases are not to be taken lightly. Many dog bite injuries occur every day that are never reported, but it is important to know your rights and seek a lawyer's help regarding your options if you are bitten.

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