If you or your loved one suffered an animal bite, you may feel tempted to avoid the doctor. Several factors may lead to this decision. You may believe the bite is minor or you may not have health insurance. However, medical attention is important.
Not seeking medical attention after the incident may come back to haunt you. The bite may worsen and not seeking medical attention may harm your case. The court may hold you partially responsible for the worsened condition or only hold the negligent party responsible for the initial bite.
When to see a doctor
WebMD recommends seeking medical attention if any of these factors apply to your situation:
- You do not know the animal or the owner of the animal.
- The owner cannot provide proof that the animal has current rabies shots.
- The wound is more serious than a mere scratch or nip.
- The animal appeared wild or aggressive, even if it did not cause severe injury.
Why you should follow-up
After the initial session with a doctor, you may wonder whether following up is important. Infections can do damage quietly for some time before resurfacing. Should the case end up in court, you want to prove that you did everything you could to tend to the wound.
Follow-ups become especially necessary in the following situations:
- The doctor has not ruled out the potential for rabies.
- The wound becomes infected.
- You received stitches.
- You need a tetanus shot or a booster.
- Your wound becomes painful.
- The bite aggravates underlying health conditions.
Animal bites can be a traumatizing experience, especially for children. Rule out the possibility of further trauma from wound complications by going to a doctor as soon as possible.