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What Should I Do After a Dog Bite?

Stray dogs as well as your friend’s dog can inflict a severe bite wound. The first thing to do after a dog bite– assuming the animal has been restrained or is gone– is to assess the wound’s severity.

Unfortunately, California leads the nation in the number of dog bites. In some states, a dog gets “one free bite.” That means the owner is not liable if the dog never bit anyone before, although evaluations are made on a case-by-case basis. California does not have this policy. An owner is liable even if the animal had no history of aggressive behavior.

A dog bite is traumatic. Besides physical injury, children may develop a lifelong fear. A bite can also create extensive medical bills, time lost from work, and pain and suffering. A Los Angeles personal injury lawyer will negotiate with the insurance company and help you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

Moreover, there are situations in which a dog causes other injuries, such as jumping on someone and knocking them down. While California dog bite laws apply only to actual biting, you may still pursue a personal injury lawsuit on the grounds of dog owner negligence.

Seek Medical Attention

If the bite appears deep or bleeds profusely, seek immediate medication attention. Bites on the face can leave scars or cause other disfigurements, so head to the emergency room or an urgent care center. Treatment will depend on the wound severity. Many wounds will require stitches.  Doctors usually prescribe antibiotics for any bite wound to prevent infection.

If the dog did not break the skin or the wound appears minor, wash the area thoroughly with soap and water. Place an antibiotic cream on it and cover it with a bandage. Try to photograph it before treatment for your records. If the area becomes red or hot to the touch, or if there is any evidence of infection, see your doctor. The same holds if you develop a fever.

Report the Dog Bite

Report the dog bite to the local police or animal control officer. Within 24 hours, the ACO should collect information about the incident, including location. Other critical information includes:

  • Owner’s name/address
  • Names and contact information of any witnesses
  • Dog breed or type
  • Circumstances surrounding the incident

Provide as detailed a description as possible. The ACO will investigate whether the animal has a prior bite history. They will speak with the owner or handler of the dog and get their side of the story. They will also verify whether the animal is licensed.

Failing to report a dog bite will harm any subsequent legal case, but it could also cause a public health issue—especially if the dog is rabid.

Proof of Rabies Vaccine

If the dog is known to you, the owner should provide proof of its rabies vaccination status to the animal control officer. If an unknown dog bit you, you may have to undergo preventive rabies treatment.

If the animal is not current on its rabies vaccination, the ACO can put the dog in a 10-day quarantine. Whether that quarantine takes place in the owner’s home, a shelter or veterinarian’s office depends on the ACO’s risk level determination for that particular canine. If the dog shows signs of rabies, it is euthanized.

Contact our team of Los Angeles Dog Bite Lawyers

If you or a loved one were seriously injured by another party’s dog, you need the services of an experienced Los Angeles dog bite lawyer at Salamati Law. Text or call 24/7 to arrange a free, confidential consultation or complete our online form.

After reviewing your claim, we will let you know whether you have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. There is no fee unless you receive compensation.

No Obligation, No Fees Guaranteed, Unless We Win

We are committed to negotiate your case aggressively, strategically and creatively. Personal injury lawsuits are retained on a contingency fee agreement, and plaintiffs will pay no legal fees unless the firm is able to recover damages on your behalf.

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