Dogs are man’s best friend. They protect us, warn us about threats, keep us company, and give us unconditional love.
Unfortunately, however, sometimes, dogs bite us. If you’ve been bitten by a dog, it’s important to take the right steps following a dog bite to avoid infections or other complications.
The first things you should do after being bitten by a dog, according to the National Library of Medicine, are:
- Apply direct pressure to the wound with a dry, clean cloth in order to stop the bleeding.
- Wash the dog bite wound with warm, running water and mild soap. Rinse the wound for three to five minutes.
- Apply antibacterial ointment to the dog bite wound, as this may reduce the risk of infection.
- Bandage the wound with a sterile, dry bandage.
Get Medical Attention As Soon as Possible
After these steps, you should see your healthcare provider. The National Library of Medicine recommends seeing a healthcare professional within 24 hours of any dog bite that breaks the skin. The National Library of Medicine also recommends seeing a provider or visiting the emergency room when:
- A dog bite wound is accompanied by redness, swelling, or pus drainage
- A dog bite is on the feet, hands, neck, face, or head
- A dog bite is large or deep
- Bone or muscle is exposed by the dog bite
- You are unsure if stitches are necessary for the dog bite wound
- The wound does not stop bleeding within a few minutes
- You haven’t received a tetanus shot in the last five years
You should call 911 if a dog bite wound leads to serious bleeding.
Once you have received medical attention, you should change your bandage several times per day and watch for infection signs, such as swelling, redness, fever, or increased pain.
Get Experienced Legal Help
Finally, after receiving medical attention, if you are not the owner of the dog who bit you, you should call experienced, expert dog bite lawyers like Nadrich & Cohen for a free consultation. California law holds dog owners strictly liable for any damages suffered when their dog bites someone, so you may be eligible for financial compensation for your dog bite injuries.
We don’t charge our clients a fee unless we obtain a financial recovery for them, so anyone can afford to be represented by our experienced dog bite attorneys, who have been representing dog bite victims since 1990.
Negligence and Strict Liability in California Dog Bite Cases
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The central theme in most personal injury claims or lawsuits is negligence. Negligence, in terms of personal injury law, is the failure to exercise reasonable care in order to prevent harm from occurring. Negligence is not behaving as a reasonably careful person would behave under the same circumstances.
Acting can be negligent, and failing to act can also be negligent. If you do what a reasonably careful person wouldn’t do in the same situation, that’s negligence. If you don’t do what a reasonably careful person would do in the same situation, that’s negligence.
Negligence generally needs to be proven in a personal injury claim or lawsuit in order for financial compensation to be successfully obtained for the injured party. A common example of negligence in personal injury cases is a car accident that results from speeding. A reasonably careful person would not drive in excess of the speed limit, as this is dangerous.
However, dog bite laws are different than most personal injury laws in California. Dog owners are strictly liable for any damages caused when their dogs bite people in California. This means that dog owners are financially liable for damages caused when their dogs bite people regardless if the dog owners behaved negligently or not.
Exceptions to this strict liability, however, include:
- When dogs bite trespassers
- When military or police dogs bite criminal suspects while assisting government agencies in apprehending or holding the suspects
- When military or police dogs bite people while assisting government agencies in investigating crimes or possible crimes
- When military or police dogs bite people while assisting government agencies in executing warrants
- When military or police dogs bite people while assisting government agencies in defending peace officers or other people
- When military or police dogs are defending themselves from a provoking, harassing, or annoying act
Financial Compensation May Be Available for Dog Bite Victims
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Dog bite victims can sometimes recover financial compensation in a dog bite lawsuit or claim by claiming negligence when one of the above exceptions to strict liability applies. For example, if a trespasser walking through the woods unknowingly walks onto someone else’s property, then gets bitten by a dog who has already bitten someone in the past, the dog bite victim can claim the dog owner was negligent by letting a dog they knew was dangerous roam around where it could bite people.
In this case, it would likely be ruled that the trespasser and the dog owner were both partially at fault for the dog bite, and the trespasser could receive a financial award reduced by their percentage of fault for the dog bite based on California’s comparative negligence law.
Most dog bite cases in California, though, are straightforward: the dog owners are strictly liable for any damages caused by the dog bite. Unfortunately, even though these cases are straightforward, the ultimate source of financial recovery for dog bite victims will almost always be an insurance company. Typically, insurance companies won’t pay dog bite victims what they deserve for their injuries unless the victims are represented by experienced dog bite lawyers like Nadrich & Cohen.
Insurance Companies Won’t Pay You What You Deserve if You Don’t Have a Lawyer
Put yourself in the shoes of an insurance adjuster for a moment: your primary responsibility is preserving your employer’s profit margin, a dog bite victim is requesting that you pay for their injuries, and the dog bite victim isn’t represented by a lawyer.
You know that your employer has millions of dollars to spend on expensive, skilled lawyers. You know that if you offer the dog bite victim a lowball offer, their only two options are to accept the offer or take you to court over it. You know they can’t beat your employer’s lawyers without a lawyer of their own.
Clearly, in this situation, you’re not going to offer the dog bite victim what they actually are entitled to under California law for their injuries. You know you can get away with a lowball offer in order to preserve your employer’s profit margin, so that’s exactly what you’ll do.
However, the game changes once dog bite victims obtain experienced, expert representation like the representation that Nadrich & Cohen provides. We have a long, well-established track record of success in handling dog bite cases. Insurance companies keep files on lawyers, and their files on us tell them that if they go up in court against us, they’ll probably lose. Almost all our cases settle out of court for fair, reasonable amounts because insurance companies know it’s a waste of time and expensive legal fees to take us on in court.
If you’ve been bitten by someone else’s dog and want all the financial compensation for your injuries that you’re entitled to under California law, you need dog bite lawyers who have been successfully handling dog bite cases for over 30 years. You need Nadrich & Cohen.
Frequently Asked Questions
Most dog bites heal in 10 days or less, according to Fairview Health Services. However, particularly severe dog bites may take several months to heal all the way, especially when infections occur.
Signs of an infected dog bite wound include: • Redness and swelling around the dog bite wound • Pain lasting for over 24 hours • It feels warm around the dog bite wound • You have trouble moving the part of the body affected by the dog bite • Drainage coming from the wound Signs that a dog bite wound infection might have spread to other body parts include: • Fever • Night sweats • Shaking
There is a legal requirement in California to report all dog bites to local health officials, even when dogs are defending their owners or attacking trespassers. Each county has its own health department website with instructions for reporting dog bites. For example, Sacramento County‘s dog bites should be reported to the Department of Animal Care and Regulation. Animal control officers will investigate dog bites after they happen. They will attempt to verify that dog bites occurred in the manner they were reported and assess the victim’s risk of contracting rabies. The animal control officer will interview the victim, assessing the dog bite’s severity, and the officer can assist the victim in obtaining the medical treatment they require. The officer will perform an investigation on the dog, too, including if the dog has bitten anyone in the past and the dog’s rabies vaccination history. The officer will determine how much of a rabies risk the dog is based on multiple factors, such as violent behavior, if the dog was provoked before the bite, how many times the dog bit the person, how severe the bites were, how long ago the dog was vaccinated against rabies and if rabies had been recently detected locally. Once dog bites are reported in California, dogs are quarantined until it is obvious they don’t have rabies, and this quarantine can last for up to 10 days. The place the dog will be quarantined depends on if the dog is a high rabies risk dog. Low-risk dogs may be quarantined at the owner’s home. High-risk dogs may be quarantined at a vet’s office, an animal shelter, an animal impound, or a kennel. Dogs quarantined at owners’ homes must be kept away from other animals or people, either in a securely enclosed yard or indoors. Only a single person is allowed to be in contact with the dog. If it is found that quarantined dogs have rabies, the dogs will be euthanized. When quarantined dogs are found to not have rabies, they are released to their owner, and they will be given a rabies vaccine before release if they aren’t up to date on their rabies vaccine.
There is no one answer to this question, as every dog bite case is different. The compensation available in any dog bite claim or lawsuit will depend on multiple factors. You may be eligible for financial compensation for many different types of damages, and the amount of compensation you may be eligible for will depend on the severity of the dog bite and how it affects your everyday life. Damages you can be compensated for in a dog bite lawsuit include: Medical bills: You may be compensated for any medical bills necessitated by your dog bite, and the more severe your dog bite was, the more medical bills you are likely to be facing. Lost wages: Your dog bite may have caused you to miss work, and you can be compensated for any time you missed from work. The more severe your dog bite was, the more time you are likely to have missed from work. Loss of earning capacity: Your dog bite may have caused you to permanently be unable to work or work at your current job. You may be compensated for any permanent loss of earning capacity caused by your dog bite. Pain and suffering: You may be compensated for any subjective pain and suffering caused by your dog bite. The more severe your dog bite was, the more pain and suffering you are likely to have endured. Scarring or disfigurement: You may be compensated for any disfigurement or scarring caused by your dog bite.
Contact the Dog Bite Lawyers at Nadrich & Cohen
Call us today or text us from this page for a free consultation if you or a loved one was bitten by someone else’s dog. We can help you obtain the financial compensation you deserve for your injuries. And we can help you find out more about how much financial compensation you may be eligible for in a dog bite claim or lawsuit.
As a contingency fee law firm, the only fee we charge is a percentage of any financial compensation we obtain for you, and we don’t charge a fee if we don’t obtain a recovery. Contact the dog bite lawyers at Nadrich & Cohen for a free, no-obligation consultation.