We have all been there…walking down the street to check the mail, go to the corner market, or spend time at a friends house, when suddenly a strange dog appears in the distance. At first you may not think much of it, but as you get closer and you notice it is a breed notorious for “vicious” or unprompted attacks.
You may look for an alternate route, or an obstacle to put between yourself and the dog should it start to run at you; regardless if you are attacked or not, we have all felt that panic at one time or another and usually, nothing happens. But what if something does happen?
Most cities have laws in place to protect you. Moreno Valley requires all residents to license and vaccinate their dogs over four months old in order to keep them within the city limits (Moreno Valley City Ord. § 10.02.020). This way, if a dog does bite someone, there is a minimal risk of rabies transmission. A bite is painful but is usually resolved with little more than a scar, but rabies can cause severe illness and even death.
Last year, there were more than 300 dog bites reported in Moreno Valley. You can protect yourself from becoming a victim by taking certain precautions such as: avoiding contact with strange animals with which you are unfamiliar, avoiding contact with an animal that is eating or sleeping, and, most importantly, asking the owner of an animal for permission before trying to pet or play with a dog as the owner should know its animals demeanor the best.
Preventative action is not always effective, however. If you are bitten, its important that you speak with the owner of the animal to get its license information so its vaccination record can be checked. If you don’t do this, you may be looking at painful rabies vaccinations yourself to protect against infection.
Most pet owners carrier Home Owners or Rental Insurance that covers liability for these types of injuries. The owner of the dog should provide you with their insurance information and, after medical attention has been sought to mitigate the injuries, you should contact an attorney to present your claim to the injurer and protect your rights.
Depending on the state, you have a limited amount of time to try and recover for your damages in the case of a dog bite. If you wait too long, you may not receive reimbursement for your medical expenses, lost time from work, and other costs you may have incurred as a result of the injury. An experienced dog bite attorney is well versed in these areas and will help you navigate the confusing deadlines and procedures of obtaining treatment and recovery for dog bite injuries.