How Much Do Dog Bites Cost?
Dogs are, undeniably, man’s best friend. The amount of love, affection, and happiness they can bring to you and your family is boundless. But what happens if they abuse that friendship and bite you or another person? With almost 90 million dogs owned as pets in the US alone, the unfortunate truth is that dog bites are very common – especially in children aged five to nine. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that roughly 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs annually and that California is the top state for dog bite injuries in the US, almost double the number when compared to every other state.
Medical bills for treating dog bites average at over $30,000 in California and insurance settlements for dog bites total at over $530 million per year in the USA. If you or a loved one are bitten by a dog, you may be eligible for compensation for all related medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages associated with a dog bite injury. A Los Angeles dog bite attorney can review your case and can pursue compensatory damages to help ease the financial burdens of the injury.
What Do I Do if I’ve Been Bitten by a Dog?
If you or a loved one were bitten by a dog, there are several steps to take:
- Do whatever it takes to get out of harm’s way. If the dog owner is nearby, ensure that they take control of the dog.
- Get any medical aid needed.
- Assuming the dog owner is present, get their personal information: name, address, phone number, insurance information, and full details on the dog.
- Call the police and report the incident. A full police report will be invaluable in an insurance claim.
- If the injury is anything more than a minor scratch, go to the emergency room or an urgent care facility at the very least. Dog bites have a very high likelihood of infection, and severe complications can develop from untreated dog bites that pierced the skin.
- If the bite is minor or didn’t break the skin, you should schedule an appointment with your primary care physician within the next 24 hours to get it checked out.
- Once you’ve completed all immediate medical care, call animal control to report the bite. Animal Control will open a file on the dog.
Reporting the bite to your local animal control is a legal requirement in the state of California, as any bite carries the risk of spreading rabies. Even if the bite was inflicted by your dog, you still need to follow the necessary steps (as they apply) to protect your health and comply with the law.
Will the Dog be Quarantined?
California law requires that dogs be quarantined for ten days after biting a person to determine whether the animal has rabies. If it is determined that the dog has a low risk of having contracted rabies, it may be quarantined at home. Otherwise, the dog will be quarantined at a shelter. If, after ten days, the dog has rabies, it will be euthanized.
When Should You Reach Out to a Lawyer?
California has strict laws regarding dogs that make dog owners 100% responsible for dog bites under the following conditions:
- The dog bit a person
- That person was in a public place or legally on private property
If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog and sustained a severe injury, you should reach out to a lawyer as soon as possible. The ability to document fresh evidence speeds up the settlement process and strengthens your case in a trial if the case is not settled out of court.