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What every New York resident should know about animal bites

Even in an urban setting like Queens, it is not uncommon for residents to encounter animals. They can be pets like cats and dogs or pests like rats and mice. Whatever the case, it is wise to be cautious around any animal that you are not already familiar with. Animal bites can cause not just immediate pain and injury, but also infection which can get worse if left unattended.

While most animal bites that occur in the U.S. are caused first by dogs and second by cats, other animal bites do occur. Examples of other animals that can bite include rabbits, rodents, ferrets, bats and even pet snakes. Some animals that wander New York carry diseases which can further complicate a bite injury. While rare, rabies should always be a concern after an animal bite. Rabies is a fatal infection most commonly spread by animals such as skunks, bats, foxes and raccoons.

Many bite victims assume that not much can be done to find satisfaction following an animal bite. This is not necessarily the case. When pets attack, victims can often hold the animal owner liable for the injuries they receive. In cases where someone is keeping wild animals and they bite someone, the victim probably has a very strong legal claim for personal injury. Even in situations where an apartment building has been overrun by rodents or other biting pests, victims can find recourse through the legal system.

If you or someone you know have been bitten by an animal, the first thing to do is seek medical treatment to check for infection or disease. Secondly, victims should consider speaking with a personal injury lawyer in case the need arises to seek compensation for medical treatment and other expenses.

Source: American Society for Surgery of the Hand, "Animal Bites," accessed May 13, 2016

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