Around 40% of people who live in California own a dog. While owning a pet is a privilege it is also a responsibility, especially for pet owners who have rescued a dog who may have behavioral issues. Incidents of dog bites and attacks happen every day across the United States, with approximately 1,000 people requiring emergency medical care. So, what should you do after being bitten by a dog? Today, we review the steps you should take to protect yourself.
How to Protect Yourself After Being Bitten by a Dog
Assess and treat the dog bite wound
If for any reason you feel the wound needs to be examined by a medical professional, have someone take you to an emergency room (ER). For deep cuts, apply pressure to the area using a clean, dry cloth and then head to the ER. On the other hand, if your wound appears to be minor, ensure you clean it appropriately with soap and water. You could also apply some antibiotic cream to the area.
Obtain veterinarian records from the dog owner
If you must rush to the ER, see if you can get the dog owner’s contact information beforehand to determine if the dog has had its rabies vaccine. After, you can contact the owner to learn more information about the dog and ensure you are taking the necessary safety precautions in the event the dog has rabies. You will also be able to determine if the dog has a history of violent behavior.
Collect information to file a report
This is the most important step as evidence will be the basis for proving you should be compensated for your injuries and pain and suffering. You will want to gather the owner’s contact information, the dog’s information, (including breed, age, medical history, size, color, and name) any witness testimonials, and photographs of your injuries.
After you have done this, file a report with your local animal control agency. You will be required to do this if you need to file an insurance claim and/or lawsuit against the owner. While the dog’s owner may ask you not to do this, this is actually an important step as it keeps future victims safe.
Understand your rights
California is a strict liability dog state, which means that an owner is liable for all dog bite damages and cannot claim he/she was unaware that their dog would act aggressively. This is true even if the dog has never bitten anyone else before and does not have a history of violent behavior.
According to the law, you must be in a public place or lawfully in a private place to collect damages due to a dog bite. If you were trespassing on private property, you may not be able to seek compensation for your injuries. Additionally, if a dog was working for the military or government at the time of the bite, you may not be able to collect compensation either, depending on the circumstance of the event. .
Consult with an attorney
If you were injured in a dog attack, you deserve compensation. Some dog bites can cause serious harm and long-term damages to nerves and tissue, so it is imperative that you consult with an experienced attorney to determine your options and how to best process a claim.
Consult with our firm online or via (916) 778-3228 to schedule a consultation today.