According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 4.7 million dog bites occur each year. The vast majority of dogs never bite or injure humans. When a dog bite occurs, it often happens unexpectedly and, although bites are usually quick, they can cause serious injury. You may be startled, in pain, and bleeding. But during this crucial time, you must take the appropriate steps to protect your health and legal rights.
Identify the Dog
Try to track down who the dog belongs to. Write down as many physical characteristics as you can remember, or any details seen on a tag, and let your neighbors know. A stray dog is more likely to run away than one residing nearby.
Seek Medical Attention
Regardless of the severity of the bite, have a medical professional look at it. An infection is possible any time a dog bite breaks the skin. Immediate treatment can prevent infections and complications, while any damage to the skin and underlying tissues can leave behind permanent damage. Your injuries can even get worse by avoiding medical care.
Tend to the Wound Right Away
If you are at home, wash the bite area immediately with soap and water. A dog’s mouth contains many types of bacteria, some of which can cause severe infections. Washing the bite wound thoroughly will get rid of dog saliva and harmful bacteria.
Photographs of your injuries can be used as evidence. They provide documentation of the nature and extent of the damage. Also document the incident word for word. The more information you have, the more evidence your attorney has.
Report the Dog Bite
Whether the dog owner is ultimately at fault or not, contact the police. They will take a statement from you and any witnesses to generate a report, which can be used by an attorney to prove your personal injury case. Also report the bite to the local health department and animal control office.
Collect the Dog Owner’s Information
Important details include the dog owner’s name and address, information from the dog license, and any history of bites the dog has. There are many advantages to identifying the owner. One is they can test the dog for rabies; if the results are negative, painful, or expensive, rabies shots aren’t necessary. Dog bite law also entitles you to compensation that is easier to obtain if you know who the owner is.
Be Careful with Your Insurance Company
In general, it’s best to talk to a lawyer first. Otherwise, you risk providing information that can be used against you, or that can be interpreted as you having caused the dog to bite. Insurance companies often sway conversations in this direction because their primary concern is their bottom line.
Consult a California Dog Bite Attorney
Under California law, you can be entitled to compensation for lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering as part of your dog bite lawsuit settlement, as the owner has absolute responsibility for a dog that bites in just about any circumstance. You may even be compensated for emotional distress. However, dog bite law is rather complex. An experienced attorney understands all the complexities and can file a lawsuit to get you compensated for your injuries.
Contact The Law Offices of Jacob Emrani in Los Angeles for more information and to get your dog bite personal injury case started. We can be reached at 888-952-2952 and are following the latest safety guidelines in our COVID-19 response.