When residents of Massachusetts are bitten by a dog, they’ll want to take certain steps to prevent any bacterial infection. Assessing the bite comes first; victims should ask the dog’s owner about the dog’s vaccination history. If the dog is alone, they should ask the witnesses to the attack if they recognize the dog.

Victims may be able to apply first aid to themselves. If the skin was not broken, then there is little risk for infection, but victims may want to apply antibacterial lotion just in case. This comes after washing the section with warm water and soap.

When the skin is broken, one should press down slightly to let blood out and cleanse the area. If the wound is already bleeding, one should press a clean cloth to it to stanch the flow. After applying the antibacterial lotion, the wound is ready for a sterile bandage. One must then periodically check the wound for signs of reddening, swelling and other signs of infection.

Medical treatment may be necessary if the bleeding does not stop, there’s intense pain, there’s pus leaking out, the bone is revealed or the dog was acting erratically before the attack. Fever and disorientation are other warning signs. Besides infection, dog bites can lead to nerve damage, scars, tetanus and rabies.

Unfortunately, many people suffer dog bites on another’s property. In such cases, several things must be cleared up before the victim can think about filing a premises liability claim. The plaintiff must show that they were lawful entrants using the property in a reasonably safe way — for example, not provoking the dog. Furthermore, the property owner must be guilty of some failure to uphold the duty of care to entrants. For assistance with a claim, a victim may hire a lawyer.