Dog Bite Law: Steps to Take if You’ve Been Bitten

Dog bite incidences occur more often than many people realize. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention estimate that over 4.7 million people in the United States suffer injury by a vicious dog each year, sending many adults; and even more children, to the emergency room with dog bite injuries.

If you have been bitten by a dog, or have been involved in a vicious dog attack, you should take careful steps after the incident to make sure everything is properly documented, in case you decide to pursue a lawsuit. There can be several parties involved in your dog bite case, including dog owners, dog sitters, property owners, and in some rare cases, animal control authorities. This tends to make dog bite cases especially difficult to litigate; even more so if the victim is unaware of the laws in California regarding dog bite injuries in his or her particular county, city, and state.

The first step you should take after a dog bite is to seek medical treatment. If your injuries do not require medical treatment, then there is no reason to file a claim. However, regardless of the severity of the injuries you sustain, you should always report the incident to animal control authorities. The dog’s owner should be held accountable for the dangerous propensities of his or her dog, and the attack needs to be documented.

After getting medical treatment for your injuries, it is extremely important that you identify the dog and its owner. You’ll need to get the relevant contact and insurance information from the owner, in addition to verifying that the dog has been vaccinated for rabies. If the dog has not been vaccinated, you might be required to receive rabies treatment; an often-painful procedure that should be avoided if possible.

Identifying the owner of the dog is paramount, especially if he or she has been negligent concerning leash laws, or other pet ordinances, in your specific city or county within California. If the dog attack occurred while the dog was in the care of another person, you would need to identify that caregiver, as well. This additional step could be crucial to your case in court.

Be sure to write down all contact and insurance information that the dog owner gives you, as well as the registration or tag number of the dog (which should be clearly printed on the dog’s collar). If the owner has insurance, be sure to get the name of his or her insurance company, as well.

Do not, under any circumstances, be satisfied with the owner’s offer (or his or her insurance company’s offer) to take photos. You should take photos of your injuries, as well as the torn or bloody clothing and the scene where the incident took place. I always find it useful to take a picture of the dog snapping, barking, or trying to intimidate. Such photos will be valuable evidence for your case in court.

Bertoldo, Baker & Carter & Smith often try to settle dog bite cases outside of court, for less money than what you deserve for compensation. A dog bite injury can need extensive medical treatment, for short and long-term, as well as time off from work for healing. Often, the victims of dog bites are entitled to compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, foreseeable losses, disfigurement, and pain and suffering.

If you have been the victim of a dog bite injury, consulting an experienced California dog bite attorney could make a significant difference in the compensation and attention you receive in court. Negligent owners; especially those who keep a dangerous pet, should be held legally responsible for their actions, and a qualified dog bite attorney who has experience with dog bite cases in Las Vegas will work diligently with you to make sure that happens.

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