Dogs can be lovely companions for some people. Dogs are considered loyal, smart, and sweet to their owners. However, there are some circumstances where dogs may act on their primal instinct and bite innocent people they come across. No matter how well-trained a dog is, there is still a risk that it might start acting violently. Some dogs do this most of the time as a defense mechanism.
Dog bites are often painful and can be lethal if left untreated. They can also cost hundreds to thousands of dollars in medical bills. Regardless of why you’re bitten, it’s important to know that you can hold a dog owner liable for your dog bite injury.
California Dog Owner Liability Laws
California law holds a dog owner liable in a civil case if the following is proven:
- The victim was truly injured because of the dog bite.
- The victim was either in a public place or was lawfully in a private place at the time of the accident.
California is a “strict liability” state. This means that regardless of whether the dog had a history of aggressive behaviour or not, the owner must be held liable for your dog bite injury.
If you have been injured due to a dog bite, you must consider contacting an experienced California dog bite lawyer to assist you with your claim.
Dealing with a dog bite injury can be quite stressful and overwhelming. The most important thing you must do is to remain calm and evaluate your injuries.
Here are six things lawyers advise you to do after a dog bite accident:
1. Seek medical attention immediately
Leaving a dog bite wound untreated can cause serious health risks that can affect your body in the long run. Even if you think that the wound is too small or if you think it’s just a minor injury that will heal on its own, you must still seek the care of a trained medical professional to ensure that your wound is properly disinfected. Medical professionals can also diagnose you if you have any complications caused by the dog bite wound.
Aside from rabies, dog wounds can also potentially cause serious infections such as staphylococcus bacteria (MRSA). Early treatment is the best way to avoid serious complications.
2. Document the Scene
After the dog bite incident, make sure that you’re able to document everything essential such as where you were bitten and the severity of your injuries. Take a picture of the dog that bit you and your fresh wound, as this can help you prove your claim in the future.
If there are any witnesses during the incident, make sure that you get their full names and contact details.
3. Report the Incident to Either Ani,e Control or To Your Municipal Government
Writing a report can help you in creating a proper paper trail for your claim. This can make the incident official, and you can also use this as evidence when you file for a claim.
If you decide to report the incident to animal control, they will investigate and check on whether the dog in question is up to date on its rabies vaccinations and is properly trained and domesticated. You must request your copy of the report for future references with your claim.
4. Regularly Clean Your Wound and Follow Your Doctor’s Instructions After the Initial Treatment
It’s essential that you regularly clean your wound, as leaving your bandages unchanged for a long time can also cause infections. If you can’t clean your wound on your own, it’s best to ask a relative or a close friend to help you clean your dog bite wound.
You should also regularly take the antibiotics your doctor prescribed you and monitor your healing progress.
5. Collect All the Important Documents
Be sure that you keep all the necessary documents with you, such as medical records, incident reports, and the expenses you’ve accrued from the dog bite incident. You can also create a journal documenting the impact of the incident in your life, such as the emotional trauma and the stress the incident has brought you.
6. Talk to an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Specializing in Dog Bite Cases
Although you can technically file a claim on your own, doing this can put you at risk of losing thousands of dollars in compensation and rewards. Insurance companies may try to take advantage of your naivety of the law and lowball the value of your claim. To avoid this, you must have an experienced attorney specializing in dog bite cases on your side.
A California dog bite lawyer will vigorously fight for your rights while ensuring that you get the maximum compensation possible for your claim. You don’t have to worry about the attorney fees as most law offices work on a “contingency-fee-basis,” which means you won’t need to pay a cent until your lawyer wins your claim for you.