As an Illinois resident, you probably come into contact with dogs on a daily basis even if you do not have a pet of your own. You may interact with dogs in your neighborhood or at parks and other public places. While most domestic dogs are friendly, attacks still happen occasionally. If you experience an attack or a bite, it is important to know what to do to protect your health and your livelihood.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are several essential things to do if a dog attacks you. If possible, try to place an object, such as a jacket or handbag, between yourself and the dog. If the dog knocks you onto the ground, you may protect yourself by curling into a ball and covering your head and neck with your arms.

It is vital to wash your wounds as soon as possible with soap and water. You may also want to use a topical antibiotic and bandages. It is wise to see your health care provider to ensure the wound does not become infected. You may also need a vaccine for tetanus, rabies or another disease. For serious injuries, you may need to go to an emergency room or call 911. If you experience signs of infection, such as swelling, redness or fever, you should contact a medical professional as soon as possible.

In some cases, you may be able to hold the dog’s owner liable for the attack. To do so, you may need to provide evidence that you were not trespassing and that you did not threaten the dog and/or its owner. Depending on the circumstances and your injuries, you may seek damages for emotional distress, medical expenses and lost wages if you need to take time away from work.

This information on dog attacks is provided for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.