There are a lot of great dogs all over West Virginia; the majority of canines are wonderful, affectionate pets, and many people adore dogs. Sadly, loving dogs won’t protect you from an attack. The sad fact is that some people do not make good pet owners, and not only do their dogs suffer the consequences, but so may you when an improperly trained or unrestrained, aggressive animal attacks.

In the unfortunate event that a dog does bite you, you may feel angry, frightened, panicked or any combination thereof. In such an upsetting situation, it can be difficult to know what to do next. It’s important to keep in mind that even a seemingly minor bite can cause serious problems if not treated correctly.

What to do if you’re bit by a dog

Once you’re out of immediate danger, if the owner is present, you’ll want to get his or her contact information. After that, there are several main steps you’ll want to address:

  • Attend to your wounds
  • Call the authorities
  • See a doctor

Additionally, you may consider contacting a legal professional if your wounds are severe, as the laws surrounding dog bites are often complex and difficult to navigate.

Attending to your wounds

It’s important to care for your injuries promptly, as even small bites can lead to infection. For basic dog-bite first aid procedures, consider the following:

  • Apply gentle pressure with sterile gauze or cloth to stop minor bleeding.
  • Gently but thoroughly wash the wound.
  • Dress the injury with sterile bandages.

It makes good sense to have a doctor examine your wounds regardless of how severe you may think they are, but if the wound is serious enough that bleeding does not stop after several minutes, it’s best to seek immediate professional medical attention. Additionally, you’ll want to closely monitor for signs of infection and see a doctor right away if you notice symptoms.

Calling the authorities

While you may be hesitant to call the police, it’s important to alert the proper authorities for a variety of reasons. Consider that:

  • The dog who attacked you may have a history of aggression, it could have attacked others in the past or may be a threat to someone else in the future.
  • The dog could be carrying diseases and will need to be tested for your safety.
  • If the dog who bit you was a stray, others are at risk as well, and authorities will want to remove him from the area before he can harm anyone else.

Getting prompt medical attention

A general rule for dog attacks is that it’s wise to have a doctor examine any significant wounds. Additionally, experts stress the importance of seeing a medical professional immediately for preventative rabies treatment if:

  • The dog who bit you was unknown or a stray.
  • After catching the animal, authorities later determine that the dog is rabid.
  • The dog appeared to be foaming at the mouth when it attacked you.

Rabies is a deadly but treatable disease if you seek medical attention early. Additionally, you may need a tetanus shot.

Professional help

Even when you’re lucky enough to avoid rabies, dog bites can cause serious tissue and deep muscle injuries and may result in infection. These medical treatments can be ongoing and costly. If you or a loved one suffered a serious dog attack, there are professional resources available in West Virginia who can offer advice on pursuing compensation. The dog bite lawyers at Manchin Injury Law Group are one of them. Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation.

Attorney Timothy Manchin established the Manchin Injury Law Group in 2011 after his law partner of more than 25 years became a West Virginia circuit court judge. His focus is on helping individual clients and entire families victimized by negligent acts.

  • Taylor Downs was easy to talk to (I do not speak the legal language well!) and was very upfront and honest about the entire process of my case. He kept me updated as the case progressed, and answered my relentless questions. The end result was a favorable settlement that I’m not sure could have been any better with anyone else. In short, go see Taylor if you have a case. Don’t be intimidated to go seek his help, he won’t blow your brains out with “legal speak”.


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  • Taylor and Tim helped make a difficult moment in life, a little more bearable. Easy to communicate with and informative. I will absolutely recommend them to everyone.


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