Get Help From Top Rated Dog Bite Lawyers in West Covina
Most dogs are friendly, but even well-trained dogs can react negatively and lash out to defend or attack with little to no notice. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, over 4.5 million people experience dog bites every year in the U.S. Over half are children, and 800,000 are serious enough to require medical attention.
Whether a dog bites you or your child, it’s important to react quickly to protect your family’s health and safety. Find out what to do if a dog bites you and learn when and why you need dog bite attorney for your potential lawsuit.
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Like any accident, a dog bite can cause you to feel shocked or disoriented. You might even feel compelled to leave the scene immediately to get medical help. Before the dog or its owner flees, however, it’s important to get identifying information. Don’t leave the scene without taking down the owner’s name, address, and contact information. You’ll need to use their contact information later when you request proof of the dog’s rabies vaccination.
Next, evaluate the dog bite so you can get the medical care you need. Dog bites can range from minor to critical, and they’re classified as follows:
- Level 1: The dog snaps, but their teeth didn’t touch the skin during the incident.
- Level 2: The dog’s teeth touched the skin but didn’t break or puncture it.
- Level 3: The dog caused up to four shallow puncture wounds.
- Level 4: The dog caused at least one deep puncture wound from one bite.
- Level 5: The dog caused multiple bites, including deep and shallow puncture wounds.
If you have a Level 2 wound, you may be able to treat it at home. If you aren’t bleeding, you can simply use mild soap and water to clean the wound. In the event that you are bleeding, use a clean cloth or gauze to apply gentle pressure to the wound for a few minutes. When the bleeding stops, clean the area with soap and water, dry it, and cover it with a bandage.
Keep a close eye on the wound as it heals. Continue to clean it regularly and change the bandage at least once a day. Look for indications of an infection, such as increased pain or redness. If the wound appears to get worse rather than better, see your doctor.
If you have a Level 3, 4, or 5 dog bite, it’s generally in your best interest to see a doctor. Call for emergency medical help if you or a loved one suffered a deep puncture wound or multiple bites. You should also get help quickly if the bleeding doesn’t stop within 15 minutes of applying gentle pressure.
Depending on the severity of the bite and the information you gathered from the owner, your healthcare provider may suggest one or more courses of action. You may need antibiotics to treat an infection, and you may need a rabies vaccine if the dog was a stray or if it hadn’t been immunized.
In rare cases, you may need to see a cosmetic surgeon after the injuries heal. Cosmetic surgery is most common for patients who experience a serious attack or multiple disfiguring dog bites.
Once you’ve assessed the seriousness of the dog bite and handled any required medical care, it’s time to complete some paperwork. You should always report a dog bite to your city or county, even if the injury isn’t serious. Filing a report creates a paper trail that can give you or the next victim recourse if the same dog attacks someone again.
To file a report, call your local animal control center. Provide all of the facts, including the name of the dog and the owner, where the incident happened, and any other circumstances. Ask for a copy of the report for your records.
Take the time to collect additional evidence even if you don’t think the bite is serious. It’s always better to have more information than you think you might need. Keeping careful records can support a case if you do need to pursue legal action. Take these steps:
- Document your injuries by photographing them and making note of any pain or related issues. Do this daily so you have a record of major changes or turning points.
- Photograph any clothes, shoes, or other items that were punctured or bloodied during the attack.
- Check the dog’s licensing information and confirm that it’s current. Find out if the dog has a history of attacks or other violent behavior. Determine if your local animal control authorities deemed the dog dangerous before the attack.
- Keep copies of medical bills or receipts for medical supplies you have to purchase. Document any days you have to take off work as a result of your injuries.
If you sustain a serious injury or related effects, get legal advice as quickly as possible. Although life can get in the way, it’s in your best interest to take action and find out if you have a strong personal injury case. Statutes of limitations in your local area can limit the amount of time you have to file a claim, and you don’t want to miss your chance to get the justice you deserve.
Most dog bite cases are personal injury cases, and they can result in settlements or other monetary awards. Like most personal injury cases, the amount you receive depends on factors like:
- The cost of your medical bills and related supplies.
- The wages you lost due to taking time off work.
- The amount you spent to travel to a specialized medical facility.
If you or a family member is a dog bite victim, you don’t have to navigate the legal system alone. At Lem Garcia Law, we put our personal injury expertise to work for you. Contact Lem Garcia Law for a free case evaluation and get the help you deserve today.
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Lem Garcia | Law
1720 W. Cameron Ave., Ste. 210
West Covina, CA 91790
17777 Center Court Dr.
Cerritos, CA 90703
(By Appointment Only)