Herrling Clark Law Firm Ltd.
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Posted on in Dog Bites

Appleton, WI dog bite injury lawyerYou know the saying that a “dog is man’s best friend?” A dog can absolutely be a wonderful addition to any family. In 2017, there were an estimated 90 million dogs throughout the United States. While the vast majority of dogs are usually harmless, any dog can react in an aggressive manner if provoked and sometimes without provocation. Here in the United States, dog bites are incredibly common. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 4.7 million dog bites occur in the U.S each year. Dog bites can result in severe and debilitating injuries and dangerous infections. If you or a family member are injured in a dog attack, you may be able to pursue compensation for your injuries. 

The Implications of a Dog Bite

Every single year, an average of 800,000 Americans suffer dog bite injuries that result in hospitalization. According to the CDC, approximately 20% of all dog bites require some form of medical treatment. Dog bites can cause long-term nerve damage and infections. It is not uncommon for scars to be left behind from puncture wounds. In Wisconsin, pursuant to section 174.02 of the Wisconsin Statutes, a dog owner (or keeper) is strictly liable for injuries caused by a dog. There can also be situations where a dog owner is liable for “double damages” if the owner’s dog had previously (without provocation) bitten a person with sufficient force to break the skin and cause permanent physical scarring or disfigurement (see Wis. Stat. § 174.02(1)(b)). 

It is also not uncommon to be injured by the dog of a friend or family member. Making a claim against a loved one if you have been injured can be awkward or uncomfortable. However, Wisconsin is a “direct action” state, which means you do not have to bring a claim or lawsuit against your loved one. Rather, you can deal directly with an insurance company (assuming your loved one had insurance coverage). This is another topic that should be discussed with a knowledgeable attorney who understands not only personal injury law but insurance coverage law.  

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Wisconsin dog bite injury attorneysIt is estimated that some 4.5 million people are bitten by a dog in the United States each year. Of those, nearly 885,000 seek medical treatment, 30,000 require reconstructive surgery, and 3 to 18 percent develop an injury-related infection. Startling as these statistics may sound, there is treatment available. The following sections can help you learn more about the potential complications of such injuries, their treatment, and the forms of compensation that may be owed to dog bite victims that have suffered an injury due to the negligence of a pet owner. 

Dog Bite Injuries and Infection 

Of all the potential complications that a dog bite injury may face, infection is the most likely to occur. Most are minor and can be treated with antibiotics, but because healthcare professionals may initially miss the signs of an infection, it is critical that victims return to the hospital if they notice:

  • Excessive swelling near or around the injury site,
  • Extreme or persistent pain near or around the injury,
  • Red streaking around the injury site,
  • Loss of sensation in the injured body part,
  • Fevers,
  • Night sweats,
  • Limited mobility or use of the injured body part,
  • Swollen lymph nodes, and
  • Pus or discharge from the wound. 

It is also important to note that some infections may be deadly, especially if they go untreated. As an example, dog bites may lead to acute osteomyelitis, an infection that can develop in the bones or joints that may spread to other parts of the body. Sepsis is another deadly infection that may occur if a dog bite-related infection goes untreated. 

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Appleton dog bite injury attorneysDogs might be considered man’s best friend, but they are still animals, and they can still cause injury. In some cases, dog bite injuries may be severe, which may increase the victim’s risk of infection. Learn how you can prevent this from happening after a bite injury and discover how an experienced attorney may be able to help you obtain compensation for your losses.

Treating Minor Bite Injuries

Most minor dog bites can be treated at home, first with water and antibacterial soap, then with antibacterial ointment and a sterile bandage. However, you should still visit your doctor if you did not know the dog that bit you. Failure to do so could result in serious health complications – especially if the dog had rabies. Injury victims with minor bites should also be closely monitored for any potential signs of infection (red streaking, heat at the wound site, pus, fever, etc.).

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Wisconsin animal bite injury attorneysMore often than not, people associate dog bites with serious injuries. However, cats are also capable of causing life-threatening and serious injuries to victims. This is because, in many ways, their bites are actually more likely to result in an infection than a minor dog bite. Learn more about the treatment for feline bites, your risk of infection from a cat bite, and your right to pursue fair compensation for your injuries.

Understanding the Danger of a Feline Bite

Initial examination of a feline bite might not seem like a cause for concern, but the very composition of a cat’s teeth are the reason that humans become at risk. Sharp, curved, and long enough to penetrate fairly deep into the skin, a cat’s teeth can transmit bacteria into a bite victim. Yet, the holes are so small, they can quickly scab over and leave the bacteria trapped inside. This can result in an infection in as little as 24 to 48 hours. If left untreated, this infection can spread throughout the body and may even place the life of the victim at risk. As such, feline bite victims should seek medical treatment from a qualified healthcare professional immediately after the bite has occurred.

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Green Bay dog bite injury lawyersWhile, in most cases, dog bite injuries are relatively minor and can be treated at home, others are more severe and require immediate medical attention. Due to the increased risk of infection, this includes any bite that leaves behind a puncture wound, laceration, or tear in the skin. Furthermore, all children should be evaluated after a dog bite, no matter how small or minor the injury may appear to be. Victims should also be aware of the potential risks and complications of dog bites, and know what to do, should they occur occur. The following information can help.

Risk of Infection

Of all the complications that a dog bite victim may face, infection is one of the most likely. It can happen in any level of bite, even those that are only slight abrasions. However, the biggest risk is among those with puncture wounds, skin tears, or deep lacerations. This is because of the exposure to several types of bacteria throughout the injury and healing process - bacteria in the animal’s mouth, the bacteria on their skin at the time of injury, and bacteria in their environment as the wound is healing.

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Herrling Clark Law Firm Ltd. is located in Appleton, Wisconsin, and serves clients in Fox Valley, Outagamie County, Brown County, Door County, Kewaunee County, Manitowoc County, Sheboygan County, Fond du Lac County, Calumet County, Winnebago County, including Appleton, New London, Clintonville, Neenah, Oshkosh, DePere, Fond du Lac, Sheboygan, Manitowoc, Kewaunee, Sturgeon Bay, Marinette, Neenah, Chilton, Menasha, Shawano, Waupaca, Wausau, and Green Bay, Wisconsin.
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