The most recent statistics reveal that in 2014 there were 42 dog bite-related fatalities in the United States. In California, further reports show that the largest number of animal attacks are due to pit bulls. If you happen to find yourself in a situation with a vicious dog, there are certain steps that can be taken to minimizing the potential damages in the event that dog bites do occur.
The following pieces of advice may help you avoid being bitten by a vicious dog. If possible, avoid dogs. If the dog is off leash, act as if the dog views you as a threat even if you are familiar with the dog. If you are approached by a roaming dog, the American Kennel Club recommends that you drape your arms over your chest, stand still, do not make eye contact with the dog, and if possible throw something to distract the dog’s attention. Also, realize that dogs naturally become startled when wakened, so avoid disturbing a sleeping dog and respect the animal’s personal space.
Understand California law. In accordance with California law, anyone who owns a dog is responsible for ensuring that the dog does not bite or cause injury to anyone else. Courts in California do not require plaintiffs to prove that the dog had a previous biting history or that the owner knew about the dog’s propensity to bite. Dog owners, however, do not owe a responsibility to protect trespassers against dog bites. Also, military or police dogs that bite while performing their duties are not subject to liability.
If a dog bite does occur, be sure to take the following steps:
- Identify the Dog and its Owner. If at all possible, obtain the name and address of the individual who owns the dog. If the dog’s owner cannot be identified, you will likely be forced to go through a series of rabies shots to minimize potential risks.
- Obtain Medical Care. Contact medical emergency personnel or have someone drive you to a hospital. Medical treatment is necessary if you are attacked or bitten by a dog.
- File a Dog Bite Report. Once you have receive adequate medical treatment, file a dog bite report with the proper city or county authorities. This document initiates a paper trail for law enforcement.
- Gather Information. If at all possible, identify the dog’s owner. Obtain the dog’s license information and any recorded information about prior attacks made by the dog.
- Photograph Your Injuries. Photograph your injuries. Make sure that photographs are made periodically as the wounds continue to improve.
- Contact an Attorney. Do not hesitate to contact a skilled and experienced attorney who can ensure that your dog bite case is handled in the proper manner and that you receive the compensation that you deserve for your injuries.
If you are bitten, attacked, or otherwise injured by a vicious dog, it is imperative that you follow the above mentioned steps to minimize the potential damages from the accident. It is also important that you do not hesitate to contact a skilled and experienced California personal injury attorney today.