Did a dog attack you in California? Knowing what to do after a dog bite is crucial. You have legal rights, and understanding the steps to take after a dog bite can help ensure your health and safety. These steps can also protect your legal rights when presenting a claim for damages. Read on to learn more about what to expect after a dog bite in California.
Step 1: Call 911
The first step after a dog attack is to call 911 so the police and/or the animal control department can get control of the dog.
In addition to controlling the dog, emergency personnel will take down a report, which is critical for any claim. Therefore, you want to describe the incident to the authorities.
An animal control report will state what took place and where it where the incident took place. It will have information on the type of dog and on the owner of the dog if they can find that information immediately. It will also have information about the injuries you sustained. Finally, the report may state what will happen to the dog.
Step 2: Obtain Evidence at the Accident Scene
Did anyone stop or witness the dog attack you? Was the owner present when the dog bit you? What to do after a dog attack at the scene? Obtaining as much evidence at the time of the attack is crucial. If your injuries aren’t too severe, try to get photos of your injuries and the dog. Take note of the scene and anything else that might be important for your claim later on.
If anyone stopped as a witness, get their contact information. If someone else had custody of the dog when it bit you, get their information. Ask about insurance information as well.
Do not discuss anything else related to a claim at the scene. The dog owner might offer some money to pay for treatment at the scene. Do not accept any money. Explain you will see a doctor first and pursue a claim through their insurance company rather than discuss anything claim-related at the scene.
Step 3: Assess your injuries
A person can suffer serious injuries from a dog attack. Puncture wounds to the skin are the most common type of injuries. Puncture wounds of the skin may cause significant bleeding.
You need to assess any wounds, cuts, and bleeding from the dog attack to determine if you need immediate medical attention or can you wait to see a doctor.
Step 4: Go See a Medical Provider for Treatment and Evaluation
The fourth step is to go seek a medical provider for evaluation and treatment of your injuries.
If you did not get photos of your wounds at the scene, ask the medical personnel to take photos with your phone or ones that will go into your records before they start treatment.
It’s important to seek medical treatment right away if you don’t require emergency transport at the scene. There’s a risk of infection with dog bites. You don’t want to delay treatment, or you increase the risk of complications. You might even need a preventative rabies shot.
Be sure to follow all your doctor’s orders and take any prescribed antibiotics to minimize the risk of developing any complications. Scarring and disfigurement are not uncommon with bites, especially ones involving deep or large wounds. You might need future scar treatment or even surgery to minimize the disfigurement. That is one of the reasons why you should never discuss money or settlement at the scene of the dog attack.
Step 5: Identify the Owner Of The Dog
The next step is to find out the owner of the dog if you did not get information at the scene. This is a critical step because the dog’s owner is responsible for any injuries sustained in the attack. If the dog was alone at the time, it may be harder to track down the owner. You may need to hire an investigator to help track down who owns the dog if it doesn’t have a collar tag or tracking chip.
You’ll need to confirm there’s a report on file with the local animal control department. Someone there might also suggest you file an additional report with a local government agency. Ask about the current status of the dog. Is there any information on whether this dog had any other reports of aggression, is it currently licensed, has it been declared dangerous, etc?
Step 6: Speak to a Lawyer
Hiring a reputable and experienced California dog bite lawyer is one of the most important steps. If you have questions on what to do after a dog bite, attorney Michael Beliz is here to help. With nearly two decades of experience assisting injured victims in Southern California, Beliz Law Firm can answer all your questions and help you pursue a claim for damages. You have only a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit, which is why it’s best to hire an attorney from the start.
Dog bite claims can be complicated, especially if you don’t know who owns the dog. If necessary, we can hire an investigator to gather more information and try to track down the owner. We will discuss your potential avenues of recovery and how best to proceed. You should concentrate on your recovery, not worry about how you will pay for your treatment.
Please contact Beliz Law Firm today to schedule an initial consultation. Let us review your claim and help you determine the best course of action after a dog attack in California.