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What to Do When Bitten by a Dog
Anyone bitten by a dog should be examined by a physician, particularly if the wound is on their face. Bites to the face can result in nerve damage, especially on children’s’ faces. Furthermore, fractures of the bone around the eyes, nose, or jaw can occur. Children should be checked for infections. The nose, mouth, and parotid region are primary target areas for dog bites.
Immediately after a dog attack, the animal’s owner must be identified. If the dog is a stray, then the victim will want to inform the physician, who will determine the treatment course for the possibility of rabies. Lasting injuries can range from scaring, nerve injury from crush wounds, and infections to emotional trauma. Some dog attack victims have been known to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and many report feeling depressed, nervous or fearful.
Any dog is capable of biting if they feel threatened or are incited. However, certain breeds seem to bite more than others. The CDC reports that 50% of all dog bites are committed by Pit Bulls. Among the other aggressive breeds that are prone to biting are German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Mastiffs, Akitas or Chows, Doberman Pinschers, and Bulldogs.
Protect Your Rights in Orange County
Your legal right to recover damages for a dog bite depends on where the attack happened. Dog bite laws in Orange County are very strict, and, depending upon the circumstances, a victim can recover compensation from:
- The owner of the dog through what is called “strict liability.”
- A negligent person who caused the attack
- A person who violated a leash law or a law prohibiting dogs from “running at large”
- A person who kept a dog with the knowledge that the dog had a history of injuring people
It is vital that you discuss your case with an experienced attorney in order to protect your rights to recover damages. You may be able to recover damages for medical expenses, loss of wages, permanent scarring, disability, or wrongful death. We have offices in Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange County, and Los Angeles to better serve your local needs. Call our OC dog bite attorney at Silverthorne Attorneys and get a free case evaluation. There is no cost or obligation, and every conversation is confidential. (949) 234-6034.
Dog Bite Statistics
By compiling U.S. and Canadian press accounts between 1982 and 2011, Merritt Clifton, editor of Animal People, showed that certain breeds have been the most responsible for serious injury and death.
The combination of Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, their close mixes and wolf hybrids are responsible for:
- 77% of attacks that induce bodily harm
- 73% of attacks on children
- 81% of attack on adults
- 68% of attacks that result in fatalities
- 76% that result in maiming
We Are Devoted to Helping You Get the Maximum Compensation
Silverthorne Attorneys is aware of just how difficult it can be to recover from a savage dog attack. Especially if children were involved, there can be a great deal of psychological damage that doesn't easily fade. We will make sure you are given a devoted Orange County dog bite lawyer who wants to be sure that you are fully compensated for every bit of harm that was done to you and your family. We will fight to ensure that every expense you have incurred will be recovered. Additionally, if you have suffered any enduring injuries that may compromise your future earning potential, we will aim to make sure those future losses will be covered as well. We know that the damage done to you and your family is far beyond any easily calculated number, but a truly empathetic dog attack injury attorney should do everything possible to make sure the compensation you receive will be as much as it can be. The money will never completely make up for your suffering, but it will go a long way towards helping you rebuild your life after the crushing expenses and trauma you may have incurred.
Our Dedicated Orange County Dog Attack Lawyer Will Fight for You
After suffering a dog attack, the last thing you probably want to do is wade through the complexities of the legal expense recovery processes. Our main Orange County dog injury lawyer testifies that you do not want to be fighting an experienced, disciplined group of insurance lawyers and analysts without your own dedicated representation. The goal of the opposing team will be to pay you as little as possible. They know that you are likely to have pressing medical bills and a high level of stress. If they can manipulate you into feeling like you have to take the low offer that they give you, then they will celebrate their success. It is crucial that you employ a strong, aggressive dog attack injury lawyer to represent you against this powerful opposing force.
Our OC dog attack attorney will aggressively pursue negotiations to get you the money you need. When first meeting you, he will assess your unique case and work with you to decide the best course of action. He will almost always begin by sending a strong, legal letter that will demand the compensation you need. Depending on how reasonable the opposing party is, he may continue negotiations with them directly or he may pursue an opportunity to bring the negotiations before a judge. While it can take a lot more effort to pursue tough dialogues, our Orange County dog attack injury attorney is determined to always pursue a case as aggressively as required to obtain the result you want.
Our Dog Injury Attorney Manages Everything so You Can Relax
Even in a relatively simple case, it can take a great deal of paperwork to document and prove the events surrounding your attack. Our skilled Orange County dog bite injury attorney is an expert at navigating the legal system. He will handle the stressful and time-consuming aspects of your case, allowing you to focus on your recovery.
A trained dog bite injury attorney like ours will be responsible for verifying and documenting the details of the case, gathering medical and financial documentation, and firmly negotiating a reasonable outcome. Should the case need to go to trial, it will be this same dog injury lawyer who is responsible for presenting your case convincingly to the jury. Our well-spoken, personable OC dog injury lawyer is an excellent choice for a case that results in either a settlement or a trial. He is eager to take the burden of pursuing your case off your shoulders. Please call today for a free opportunity to speak with him.
Who Pays Dog Attack Damages and How Are They Calculated?
Most commonly, it is a homeowner's insurance company that will be involved in negotiations with our Orange County dog attack injury lawyer, and they will be responsible for paying whatever settlement may be reached. This is because dog attacks often occur at or near the dog owner's home. Insurance companies are likely to have an entire team dedicated to reducing the amount of compensation they must pay. They will likely begin to haggle based on the expense numbers derived from medical costs. However, our dog bite injury lawyer knows that there are many other aspects of a case that may deserve compensation.
Besides the costs of medical bills, there may be expenses related to other possessions that were damaged or destroyed during the dog attack. If you fled into your vehicle or home and the dog continued its attack, then the dog may have caused considerable damage to your property. Also, there may be lasting injury, scarring, or trauma that demands consideration when calculating an appropriate payment. In the tragic case of a life lost, it is incredibly difficult but important to determine a sufficient amount of restitution. Our caring Orange County dog bite attorney wants to help you calculate an award amount that takes into consideration all of your losses.
The Steps Our OC Dog Injury Attorney Will Take
The first step our devoted OC dog bite lawyer takes will be to listen carefully to you and your family. He wants to fully understand the events surrounding your attack, so he can put together the best possible case. Silverthorne Attorneys and Ian Silverthorne are highly sympathetic to your traumatic experience. This means that your case will receive the strong, resilient representation it deserves.
After taking the time to fully understand your case, our Orange County dog bite injury lawyer will proceed with the gathering of all necessary evidence documenting the attack and your resulting damages. This will likely include (but may not be limited to) medical bills, income statements, police reports, witness testimonies, and results from any psychological evaluations. Once enough evidence has been gathered to support your case, our OC dog attack injury attorney will draft a firm, substantiated demand letter. This letter will be backed by the gathered documentation and establish the desired amount of compensation.
If the insurance company does not choose to provide a sufficient offer, then your representative may move to have the case seen by a judge. At that point, it takes a strong, dedicated dog bite injury lawyer like ours to give your case the representation it deserves. If a settlement still cannot be reached, a trial may be requested. It is imperative that you choose an attorney who will be able to handle the tough negotiations throughout your case.
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Identifying the Dog's Owner and Showing Negligence
Quite often, the dog's owner will be obvious as the attack is likely to occur at or near their home. However, it can sometimes be difficult to determine who owns the dog that attacked you or your family (stray or unleashed dog involved). Should the dog not be claimed by the owner after the attack, there are several techniques that may be used to help locate the dog's owner.
Our dog bite injury attorney suggests that you call the local animal control immediately after being attacked. They will capture and contain the dangerous animal. Once the immediate danger is resolved, they will be able to check the dog for any identification of ownership. This identification evidence may include a dog ID tag, a personalized collar, personalized clothing, and/or a microchip implant. Additionally, witnesses may be procured who have seen the animal previously, and they may know who owns the dog or the area from which the dog came.
Negligence in dog bite cases is generally very easy to prove. In Orange County, the law dictates “strict liability” towards dog owners. Simply stated, this means that a dog's owner is always responsible for insuring the safety of those around their dog. There is never a time when an owner is allowed to let their dog attack a guest or innocent bystander. If the dog was improperly secured at their home and managed to escape, then the resulting attack is due to their negligence. If the dog escaped from the owner while wearing a leash, then it is still the owner's fault when the dog attacks. Once the owner of the guilty dog has been identified, it is usually very easy to show their negligence in a dog attack case.
What If I or My Loved One Was at the Dog Owner's Home?
It is always the dog owner's responsibility to ensure the safety of those around them and their dog. It doesn't matter if you or your loved one were at the owner's home. Whether in their house, yard, or street, the responsibility for a dog attack falls squarely on the dog's owner. Don't let an acquaintance try to convince you to overlook an attack. Many aggressive dogs continue or even increase their aggressive tendencies after an attack. Please don't risk that the next attack will be even more damaging or result in injury to a child, call us today so we can advise you on the best way to proceed.
Our Dog Bite Lawyer Advises That You Never Confront the Dog's Owner Directly
We realize that the time after an attack is extremely stressful. You or your loved one is going to be injured, panicked, and confused. It is extremely important, however, that you do not confront the dog's owner at this time. Getting angry will only increase the risk of a violent confrontation that may cause charges to be filed against you. Focus on caring for yourself or your wounded loved ones. Call the emergency, police, and/or animal control assistance that you may need. If you know how to safely administer it, provide basic first aid care to your or your family's injuries. Once the immediate threats have been dealt with, it is important to reach out to a qualified dog attack injury lawyer like ours. Contacting us immediately will ensure that we can begin to build your case before any evidence is lost.
Helping Children Recover after a Dog Attack
While anyone can suffer from psychological trauma after a brutal attack, children are particularly prone to experiencing it. After being attacked, your child may experience mood swings, nightmares, antisocial behavior, and other side effects. Friendships and grades may be affected. You should be prepared to give your child the love and support needed during this difficult time. We advise you to seek out any counseling or psychological treatment your child may need to prevent their trauma from developing even further. Be sure to remember and document the details of your child's side effects, as these details may be important for your case.
Diseases a Dog May Carry
Besides the severe trauma injuries, such as deep lacerations, that can be incurred in a dog attack, you should also be aware of the diseases that can be transmitted from dogs to humans. One of the most feared diseases that dogs can carry is rabies, but there are many other diseases that can be contracted from dogs. If possible, try to find out from the attacking dog's owner which vaccinations the dog has had. After your attack, it is important that the doctor who treats you performs any necessary testing and treatment. Make sure that you inform the doctor if you were attacked by a dog that may be a disease carrier. Some of the diseases you should know (so that you can watch for any symptoms) include:
Rabies – generally the dog's own symptoms will provide strong evidence of infection. Animal control can determine if the animal is suffering from excessive saliva production (“foaming at the mouth”), muscle tremors, seizures, disorientation, and other signs of rabies if the dog's vaccination status is unknown. While rabies is a serious disease, it is quite rare for it to be transmitted by dogs in the United States.
Bacterial Infections – the most common complication after an animal bite. Depending on the wound severity and location (those on the face and hands are more prone to infection), your doctor will likely prescribe an antibiotic treatment.
Tetanus – while many will already have had their vaccinations against tetanus, it is important to ensure that the victim of a dog attack receives a booster shot if it has been too long since the last shot was administered. Be sure to review your tetanus vaccination history with your doctor.
Others – include diseases transmitted due to internal parasitic infections, ticks and other pests, and fecal material. Scabies can be caused by mites sometimes found on dogs. Lyme disease can be caught from ticks transferred from a dog. Roundworms can be transmitted from the dog's fecal material (which could potentially be transmitted to you during an attack from the dog's claws, mouth, or fur). Ringworm is a fungal condition that can be passed to humans; symptoms of an infected dog include round hairless patches of fur.
Dog Safety Tips
There are a few suggested practices that will help keep you and your family safe when encountering a dog. First, avoid approaching and interacting with unknown animals. It is better to be safe than sorry, and it isn't worth it to take the risk of aggravating an unknown dog. Next, learn and teach your family how to identify aggressive behaviors in dogs. Early aggressive actions in dogs include standing rigidly still, ear flattening, barking, growling, and teeth exposing. Teach your children and other loved ones to be aware of when a dog begins to exhibit these symptoms. Finally, teach your family to never antagonize or provoke dogs. Even if the dog is your own or a close friend's, provocation from an inexperienced, unaware child or aggressive adult can result in an attack. Be sure your children and relatives know how to properly behave around dogs in order to reduce their odds of being the victims of an attack in the future.
Responsible Pet Ownership
There are many facets to responsible pet ownership. The first and foremost concern of any pet owner should be to keep others safe. This includes providing their pet with an appropriate enclosure, clean surroundings, adequate medical care (such as vaccinations), food, water, and compassionate treatment. Many instances of animal aggression stem from animal abuse, illness, and other avoidable factors. Animals should be treated with respect and care to inhibit aggressive behaviors from forming. When applicable to your pet's species, your new pet should be registered, tagged, microchipped, and/or documented in whatever way possible. This will ensure that they can be properly identified and returned to you if they escape.
Be sure that you can financially support a pet before you take on ownership of an animal. That includes necessary equipment, food, and medical care. Medical care can become very expensive, and it will be your duty to fully provide this care for your new pet. If you are unable to provide the proper fencing or other enclosure to keep your pet from roaming loose, then it is wise to refrain from pet ownership until you are able to do so. Always remember that you are responsible for both the animal and the safety of every other person, animal, and item that your pet may come into contact with. If someone is injured by your pet, it is highly likely that you will be considered a negligent pet owner and held responsible.