What Should I Do If My Child Was Attacked By a Dog?
Although dogs are considered as man’s best friend, sometimes our canine companions have a propensity to attack.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, dogs bite an estimated 4.5 million people. One out of five of those individuals ends up in the emergency room. Additionally, half of the people who have been the victim of dog attacks are children between the ages of five and nine.
It can be a frightening experience when a dog attacks your child. Perhaps you are unsure how to protect your child after he/she has already been hurt. However, there are many things you can do to protect your child’s future, even after a dog has already attacked.
The following are several steps you can take to help your child after a dog bite:
- Seek immediate medical attention – No matter the seriousness of the injury your child sustained, it is important for them to either see a doctor or go to the emergency room after a dog attack. Not only is it important for their health and wellbeing, a doctor can provide you with the evidence necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit. While seeking medical attention, document as much as possible (e.g. take pictures of your child’s injuries, write down the medications and treatments required, and save receipts from any expenses related to medical care).
- Obtain the dog owner’s contact information – Whether you personally know the person or not, it is important to get the dog owner’s phone number and address. If an unfamiliar dog was responsible for the attack, it may be challenging to collect names and contact information of the responsible party. Yet, the dog’s license or collar tag, as well as eyewitnesses, may provide you with the necessary information to locate the owner.
- Contact law enforcement – As soon as your child’s wounds have been tended to and he/she is no longer in any imminent danger, call the police to file a report. An official record of the attack filed with the police department can be beneficial to your personal injury claim. Furthermore, police can verify ownership, if the dog has tags.
- Call a lawyer – Filing a personal injury claim for a dog bite can be a complex process. However, an experienced attorney can evaluate your case, determine all of your available legal options, guide you through the intricacies of the legal system, and help you recover the compensation you and your child deserves.
When it comes to dog bites, California is considered to be a “strict liability” state. This means that an owner cannot evade liability for a dog bite by claiming he or she had no idea the dog had the propensity to bite, attack, or otherwise act aggressively. The dog owner is responsible for all the damages resulting from the attack, even if this is the first time the dog has ever bitten anyone.