DOG BITE LAWYER
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.
If you were the victim of a dog attack and sustained injuries, speaking with a dog bite lawyer, even if you’re not sure you need an attorney, can help you determine whether you need legal representation. While in some instances, you can handle this type of insurance claim on your own, a personal injury lawyer at Lem Garcia Law can educate you on animal attack laws during a free consultation, so you’ll know what your legal rights and options are.
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What to Do Following a Dog attack
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 a dog bite attorney for your potential lawsuit.
Collect Essential Information
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.
Treat Your Dog bite at Home
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 animal bite 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 and any lacerations from the dog’s nails. 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.
Consider Seeing a Doctor After an Animal bite
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 animal 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, for severe personal injuries, 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. These types of injuries can result in emotional, physical, and financial damages.
File an Incident report
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 an incident report creates a paper trail that can give you or the next victim recourse if the same dog attacks someone again.
To file an incident report, call the 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 dog 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 animal bites and other 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. This will be especially helpful if your injuries worsen over time.
Photograph any clothes, shoes, or other items that were punctured or bloodied during the attack. Also photograph the area or place where the dog attack occurred. If the animal escaped their yard, take photos of the fence, or anything else relevant.
Check the dog’s licensing information and confirm that it’s current. Find out if the dog has a history of animal attacks or other violent behavior. Determine if the 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.
Document any personal property that was damaged, such as your cell phone, clothing, watch, etc.
Contact a Dog bite Lawyer Today
After an animal attack, if you sustain a serious injury or related effects, get legal advice from an experienced personal injury lawyer 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.
CALL (626) 777-2424 OR TEXT (626) 252-2168.
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Lem Garcia | Law
For Accidents and Injuries
1720 W. Cameron Ave., Ste. 210
West Covina, CA 91790
17777 Center Court Dr.
Cerritos, CA 90703
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