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What should I do after a dog bite?

Experiencing an animal attack can be physically and emotionally scarring. If you have been the victim of a dog bite in California, it is important to take several measures to ensure your safety as well as seek damages from the animal’s owner.

According to reputed dog trainer Cesar Millan, you should first take into account the severity of the injury. When in doubt, you should seek medical assistance. Medical professionals can ensure the wound has been properly cleaned.

If you were bitten by a dog you know, you should try to obtain the animal’s medical and vaccination history to determine whether or not you will need to be treated for rabies. If you do not know the animal, you should not try to catch it or stop it and instead call an animal control agency and seek medical treatment.

Depending on the extent of your injuries, you may want to file a claim against the animal’s owner. Under California law, you have two years from the date of the injury to file a dog bite lawsuit. Such a claim could help you recover damages including compensation for the following: 

  •        Medical treatment and rehabilitation
  •        Missed wages
  •        Emotional distress
  •        Pain and suffering

In many cases, the animal owner’s homeowners’ insurance provider will handle any such claims. However, these providers typically do not compensate for emotional damages and could try to shortchange you on the money to which you are entitled.

While this information may be useful, it should not be taken as legal advice.

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