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Are dogs really that dangerous?

On Behalf of | Jul 3, 2023 | Personal Injury |

Dogs are popular pets in California and throughout the United States, with about 40% of households owning one or more of them. However, dogs can also pose a serious risk of injury. They can bite people without warning or provocation.

In fact, California leads all states with 2,396 dog bite claims filed in 2019, totaling $139.4 million in value.

Seek medical attention

Dog bites can cause serious injuries, such as puncture wounds, lacerations, infections, nerve damage, scarring and even rabies.

You should get medical attention as soon as possible after a dog bite, even if the wound seems minor. Follow the doctor’s instructions on how to care for your injury and prevent infection.

Identify the dog and its owner

If possible, you should try to identify the dog that bit you and its owner. You may need this information to file a claim or a lawsuit against the owner. You should also ask the owner for proof of the dog’s vaccination history, especially for rabies.

If the owner is not present or refuses to cooperate, you can contact animal control or the police for help.

Report the incident

You should report the attack to your local animal control agency and the police as soon as possible. This will help them investigate the case and prevent future attacks by the same dog.

You should also obtain a copy of the report for your records and document as much evidence as possible about the dog bite incident.

This includes the location and time of the attack, circumstances leading up to the attack, breed and appearance of the dog, the name and contact information of the owner and any witnesses and photos of your injuries and the scene of the attack.

California law

If you are bitten by a dog in California, you have the right to sue the owner for damages. California has a strict liability law that holds dog owners responsible for all bites that occur in public places or on private property where the victim is lawfully present. You do not have to prove that the owner was negligent or that the dog was vicious before the incident in which you were injured.

However, there are some exceptions and defenses that may limit or bar your recovery. Some bars include if you provoked the dog, or you were trespassing on private property. And, dogs performing official duties also have some limitations on their owner’s liability.