Dog bites can be traumatic, even for those who love dogs. Even a minor bite can leave victims at risk of infection, suffering from substantial anxiety around dogs, and with an unwelcome pile of medical debt. If you’ve been bitten by a dog, you’re likely wondering if you need an attorney.
Learn more about dog bites in Mississippi and what your next steps should be if you are attacked. To discuss your injury in greater detail, call Reeves & Mestayer at 228-374-5151.
Risks of Dog Bites
Owners of aggressive dogs tend to understate the risks associated with dog bites. When the inevitable happens and their dog bites someone, they often try to discourage the victim from reporting the bite, blame the bite on the victim, or threaten the victim to protect their dog. However, dog bites are more than just inconvenient—they have the potential to cause lifelong damage.
A bite can cause significant nerve damage, muscle damage, and permanent scarring on the skin. Damage to your nerves or muscles could limit your range of motion going forward, affecting your ability to work or otherwise take care of your family.
The greatest risk associated with dog bites is infection. Dogs carry a whole laundry list of harmful bacteria that can lead to serious infections in humans. The myth that a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s is just that—a myth. Just like a human’s mouth, a dog’s mouth is home to hundreds of different species of bacteria. These are largely different from the bacteria that live in a human’s body, so they have the potential to cause widespread infection.
You need to see a doctor as soon as possible after a dog bite. The longer the bacteria have to establish themselves in your body, the harder it is to fight off infection. If necessary, you may receive IV antibiotics to take a proactive approach against infection.
Rabies is another risk with a dog bite. You’ll need to request proof of rabies vaccination from the dog owner. However, as you’ll need to report the bite to Harrison County Animal Control, you may also choose to have them get that information.
Dog Bite Laws in Mississippi
Mississippi gives control of dog bite laws over to the counties, and if you live in Biloxi, you are bound by the laws of Harrison County. Unfortunately, Harrison County is one of the few places that still has a “one bite” law. Under this law, an owner is not liable for damage caused by their dog unless they have prior knowledge that their dog was a danger to other people.
For example, perhaps the dog has previously bitten someone, and the bite was appropriately reported. In this case, you would be able to seek compensation from the owner. If the dog has never bitten anyone or shown any sort of aggressive behavior, you’ll find it considerably more difficult to prove that they were always been a dangerous dog. Similarly, if the dog has bitten someone before but the bite was never reported, you may legally be considered the “first bite” if the owner refuses to admit to it.
Do You Need a Lawyer for a Dog Bite?
Knowing this, you absolutely need an attorney if you are bitten by a dog in Harrison County. You can expect the owner to fight back against reporting the bite or paying any compensation to you. This is especially true if they know their rights and the one bite law in Harrison County. Without a lawyer, you risk walking away with nothing, not being able to report the bite, and being on the hook for thousands of dollars in medical bills.
The sooner you contact an attorney after a dog bite, the sooner they can start investigating your claim and fighting for the compensation you are owed.
Choose Reeves & Mestayer for Your Claim
The team at Reeves & Mestayer is ready to hear more about your accident and the injuries you have suffered. We’ll talk to you more about your claim, explore your legal options, and explain possible outcomes. Let’s set up a time to talk and plan your next steps. Call us at 228-374-5151 or reach out online to get started.