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Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie, Inc.

What should you do if your child has been bitten by a dog?

Dog bites can cause serious injury, including lacerations, puncture wounds and crush injuries. Nearly one thousand American a year visit the emergency room for treatment of dog bite injuries. In the Los Angeles area, dog bites area growing problem. If your child has been bitten by a dog, what should you do?
 
1. Identify the dog. This is easy if you know the dog’s owner. If it a stray or a strange dog, write down the address where the bite occurred and the breed, color and size of the dog as well as any identifying characteristics that you can think of. If you can not identify the dog, the dog bite victim may have to treatment for rabies.
2. If possible get the name, phone number and address of the dog’s owner.
3. Get contact information for any witnesses.
4. Get medical attention right away. Even if the injuries are not severe, your child will need tetanus shots and treatment to prevent infection.
5. If your child has been injured on the face, insist on having a plastic surgeon do the stitching in order to reduce scars.
6. Take pictures of the wounds and any torn clothing.
7. Contact the dog owner to get insurance information.
8. Talk to a lawyer.
9. Report the bite. 
 
In California, the dog owner is liable for dog bite injuries if the dog escapes, is not leashed, is trained to be aggressive or has been repeatedly aggressive, or if the dog is of an aggressive breed. If the dog owner is insured, you may get a call from the insurance company. If you get a call, write don the caller’s name and contact number and the claim number. Do not discuss money or agree to a settlement or injury value before talking to a lawyer.
 
A dog bite victim may be eligible for several types of compensation. Damages and losses may include emergency medical costs, cosmetic surgery, physical pain, emotional damage, and even loss of future income if there is significant scarring or disfigurement.
 
Contacting a lawyer as soon as possible will help make sure that your rights are protected. An attorney will document your injuries and treatment. They can follow up on the dog and dog owner and find out which laws were violated and if the dog had a history of aggressiveness or had previously injured anyone. Victims that hire an attorney receive significantly higher settlements than those that don’t.
 
A lawyer is also helpful if your testimony is needed when local authorities determine the fate of the dog.
 
Each city in California has its own dog bite laws. At the law firm of Allen, Flatt, Ballidis and Leslie, our personal injury lawyers are up-to-date on all local and state dog bite laws.  We have significant experience representing dog bite victims.  Contact one of our dog bite attorneys today at 866-981-5596 to schedule a free consultation.

Click here for tips on preventing dog bites. 

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