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I Was Bitten by a Dog – What Do I Do Now?

Torem & Associates

Dog attacks are more common than you might think. California is tied with North Carolina for the most dog bite related fatalities in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 4.5 million people are victims of dog attacks and/or dog bites each year. Of the millions of people who are bitten each year, almost 20% of the dog bite victims require medical treatment and roughly 27,000 victims need reconstructive surgery for their injuries.Dog bites are serious injuries that require immediate medical attention. In addition to the physical injuries sustained in a dog bite, the victim of a dog attack often suffers significant emotional trauma from the attack. This is especially true in the case of dog bites involving children. Even though any dog bite victim can suffer permanent facial scarring, infections, disfigurement, punctures, cuts, abrasions, and fractured bones, children under the age of 10 are particularly at risk for serious and even fatal injuries from dog bites. In addition to the extensive medical care that may be required in a dog attack case, dog bite victims often require long-term psychological treatment due to the trauma of a dog attack.

Steps to Take After Being Bitten by a Dog

If you or your child is bitten by a dog, you must act quickly.

  • Seek immediate medical attention. Go to the emergency room as soon as possible. If you have not had a tetanus shot recently, the doctor will likely recommend this regardless of the severity of your injuries.
  • Notify Animal Control. Once you have been treated by a doctor, notify Animal Control of the dog attack. Animal Control will remove and quarantine the dog to examine it for rabies and other diseases.
  • Photograph all injuries before and after treatment, especially pre-surgery and post-surgery, to establish the severity of your injuries. Doctors may photograph injuries but not in all cases; therefore, make sure you document your injuries throughout your recovery. Photographs are a vital piece of evidence in dog bite cases.
  • Seek psychological care if you feel you or your child is suffering emotionally from the attack. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a condition that is often associated with dog attacks.
  • Hire an experienced dog bite attorney as soon as possible. You need a personal injury attorney with experience handling dog attack cases who is familiar with California dog bite laws. Your attorney will investigate the dog attack to determine who is responsible for your injuries. In many cases, the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance or business liability insurance will cover the damages due to a dog bite.

Does the Dog Need to Be Considered Dangerous Before I Can Collect Compensation for My Injuries?

Under California law, a dog does not need to be considered dangerous for the owner to be held liable for damages. While some states require that the dog have a history of violence or that the owner knew or should have known the dog was dangerous, California has a strict liability rule related to dog bites. If a dog bites someone who is legally on the premises and who did not provoke the dog, the owner can be held liable even if this is the first incident. This is important because your medical bills and other damages can be significant in a dog bite case. The dog owner should be held responsible for his or her dog’s actions.

Have You Been Injured in a Dog Attack?

Our dog bite attorneys can help you recover compensation for your damages. Contact a dog bite attorney at Torem & Associates by calling (888) 500-5000. You may also chat with a representative online or use our convenient online contact form to schedule a free consultation.


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