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During the crisp autumn months, you may love to leave home for an evening walk or a morning jog. While you must contend with traffic and other pedestrians, you may not worry much about your personal safety. Of course, if you encounter an untrained dog, you may sustain a serious injury from a bite.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, nearly 40% of U.S. households have at least one dog. As you may suspect, not every furry friend is all that friendly. If you receive a dog bite, you may be able to pursue compensation for your injuries and property damage from the dog’s owner. What you do after the bite, though, makes a difference.

1. Seek medical attention

Even under ideal circumstances, a dog is capable of causing serious bodily damage. If the one that bites you has a disease, such as rabies, though, you may be in for weeks or months of recovery. Either way, you should ask a medical professional to examine and treat you following any dog bite.

2. Document the incident

You must begin to create an accurate account of the dog bite. Therefore, try to take as many photographs as possible of your wounds, your location and the dog. Also, gather the names and contact details for all witnesses. Finally, obtain the identity, telephone number and physical address of both the dog’s owner and the person in control of the animal at the time of the bite.

3. Call the police

Police officers know how to investigate incidents and write reports. They also know how to deal with people. By calling the police, you create a formal record of the dog bite. Officers may also contact animal control to have the dog quarantined.

You may never experience a dog bite. If you do, though, you may struggle with your emotions. But clear thinking is important. How you behave after the accident may affect your ability to hold the dog’s owner responsible.