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What to Do if Your Child Was Bit by a Dog in California

Unfortunately, man’s best friend can make mistakes. According to recent research, dogs bite over 4 million people each year and one out of five of those attacks needs medical attention. Sadly, because of their size and lack of animal experience, children are at the highest risk of suffering from a dog bite. 

When a dog bites a child there are many factors to consider: Did the child provoke the dog? Or maybe aggravated the dog in some way? California law has “strict liability” laws which render a dog owner liable if the dog bites or attacks anyone.

However, with children, the rules may be a bit obscure. Our qualified dog bite attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers practice dog bite laws and can answer any questions about your dog bite case. 

To schedule a free consultation, please contact our 24/7 legal team by calling 213-927-3700 or filling out our quick contact form.

Why a Dog May Bite a Child

Children under 12, particularly toddlers and preschoolers, are subject to the worst bites from dogs. This is usually because the child does not understand how a loving hug or squeeze might become too tight for the dog. Children may also not understand how aggressive their physical touches can be. Under these types of circumstances, a dog could feel like it is in danger or in pain and will try to communicate its disapproval of what the child is doing by showing its teeth. 

This does not necessarily mean that the dog is inherently violent or evil. The dog’s reaction can indicate that it acted out of instinct of self-preservation. Whether the child provoked the dog bite or the owner ignored the dog leash law in California, you may need a dog bite lawyer.

First Aid for Dog Bites and Steps to Take After 

Depending on the degree of the dog bite, you may need to immediately seek medical attention. You must carefully review the wound and determine whether the ambulance needs to be called. Make sure to speak to the dog owner to verify if the dog is up to date with its shots. If not, then you should visit a hospital as soon as possible to check for any serious illnesses the dog could have transmitted into your body through its bite. 

After a dog bite, please consider following these steps to properly take care of your injury. 

Control the bleeding. Like any wound, you need to minimize the blood flow as much as possible. By using a sterile cloth or towel you can gently add pressure to the cut until it stops bleeding. For bloodier wounds, consider elevating the body part.     

Clean the wound. Wash the cut with soap and water. Continue to rinse it under water for a few minutes to wash away the bacteria.

Cover it up. Once the wound is dry, be sure to dab the area, apply some antibiotic ointment, and cover it with a fresh bandage. 

Filing a Lawsuit Against the Dog Owner

If you believe that the dog owner was committing acts of negligence or recklessness for allowing the dog to bite your child, you may sue them to compensate for damages. Here are some tips on what you should do when filing a lawsuit. 

Identify the owner. Make sure you locate the owner of the offending dog and collect their information. Be sure to ask them about the dog’s shots and if they are up to date with it. 

Take photographs. You should take pictures of your child’s injuries, along with where the attack took place. 

Collect witness information. Check to see if there are any witnesses around. If so, you should ask them for their contact information. Witness testimonies will help prove or back up your statements on how the attack occurred. 

Acquire a copy of your child’s medical records. If you make an appointment to get your child’s wound examined by a medical professional, the visit will be saved on file. You may request a copy of your child’s medical records to use as a piece of evidence for your case. 

Contact a dog bite attorney. An experienced dog bite attorney will guide you through the process of filing a lawsuit and will help you get fair compensation for any damages caused by the attack. 

West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Here to Help

If you or a loved one have sustained injuries as a result of a dog bite, our expert dog bite attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers can help you recover compensation for the losses you have suffered, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

Contact us today by calling 213-927-3700 or filling out our contact form to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring, and compassionate legal team.

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