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Steps to take if a friend's dog bites you

You may be over at a friend's house when, out of nowhere, an otherwise friendly dog bites you. Over 4.5 million Americans receive dog bites each year, shares the American Veterinary Medical Foundation. While a decent amount are superficial wounds that do not require any medical attention, plenty of people need to go to the emergency room to address the wound. 

You are put between a rock and a hard place when a friend's dog bites you. You want compensation for your injury, but you also do not want to damage the friendship. During this time, the most important thing is your health, and you should take the following steps after suffering a dog bite. 

Get medical attention

Either drive yourself to the nearest medical facility or contact an ambulance. You should not apply Mercurochrome, hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol to the wound as this can impede healing. Before you reach the doctor's office, you should also take pictures of the wound. This will help for insurance purposes. 

File a lawsuit

Review your legal options. Filing a lawsuit against a friend may seem extreme. However, you should keep in mind that most of the time, you will not actually sue your friend. In actuality, the lawsuit will go against your friend's homeowner's insurance company. This means you receive compensation for your injuries without taking money out of a friend's pocket. 

File a dog bite report

Check with your county to see what forms you need to fill out after a dog bite incident. Many people worry the county will put the dog down. If this is the dog's first incident, then chances are good the owner will simply need to pay a fine and enroll the dog in training courses. Your friend will also likely need to register the dog with the local animal control department as "potentially dangerous." 

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