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The Potentially Deadly Consequences of a Dog Bite

What kind of diseases could you contract from a dog bite?

An 11-year-old boy in Lawrenceville, Georgia was recently bitten by a large dog, later found to be rabid.  The boy was walking his own dog on a leash when two Rottweilers, who had escaped from their home, attacked the dog then bit the child.  One of the Rottweilers was hit by a car shortly afterward and testing revealed the dog had rabies.  Now, the boy is being treated for rabies and several others who came in contact with the dogs will likely need treatment.  The owner of the Rottweilers has been charged with two counts of no restraint and two counts of public nuisance.

Complications from Dog Bites

Any dog bite will have medical consequences.  Dog bites will commonly cause lacerations, puncture wounds, scarring, and pain.  At times, dog bites will lead to more serious medical emergencies.  Rabies is a rare but deadly disease that can be spread by the saliva of an infected dog or other animal.  Rabies is treatable, but you must act fast to start the series of life saving shots.  Prevention shots are costly and require several trips to your medical provider.

Aside from rabies, dog bites always carry a high risk of infection.  Tetanus can be spread by deep puncture wounds, necessitating that most dog bite victims receive a tetanus shot after the bite.  Dogs’ mouths can carry an array of bacteria that may cause infection, such as Pasteurella spp. and Staphylococcus.   As such, all dog bite victims should seek medical attention for their wounds right away.  You may need to receive booster vaccinations, have the wound well cleaned, and potentially sealed with sutures.

Liability for Dog Bites

Under Georgia law, a dog owner can be held liable for injuries inflicted by the dog under some circumstances.  Georgia’s dog bite statute is a complicated one.  The statute holds that dog owners will be strictly liable for a victim’s injuries if the dog owner knew or should have known that the dog had vicious tendencies.  Evidence that the dog had previously bit someone unprovoked will usually suffice to prove the dog had dangerous tendencies.  The victim will also need to show that the owner was negligent in allowing the dog to roam free or carelessly managing the animal.

Given the serious nature of a dog bite, dog bite victims should seek the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.  Your attorney will review the facts surrounding the attack to determine whether you have a viable course of action against the dog’s owner.

Posted in: Personal Injury