A dog may be man’s best friend, known for providing love, comfort, companionship, and play. It’s important to remember, however, that a dog is still an animal capable of causing major harm. If you’ve been injured by a dog bite in San Bernardino, you may already be aware of the risks of the situation. Dog bites can easily become infected, and some dog maulings are so severe they can become fatal.
Dog Bite Statistics
Did you know more than 4.7 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year? According to the CDC, 20 percent of those bites will cause injuries severe enough to need medical attention. Children between the ages of 5 and 9 are most susceptible to dog bites, and are also more likely to be injured by a bite than their adult counterparts. While many bites are committed by strange dogs, including strays, most bite victims are bitten by dogs they know, such as those belonging to neighbors or friends.
In 2013, the United States saw 32 dog bite fatalities, committed largely by pit bull terriers, Rottweilers, German shepherds, and bullmastiffs. Further, pit bulls and Rottweilers, despite being heavily regulated across many states, accounted for 81 percent of total dog bite deaths. Our home state of California was the major leader in dog bite fatalities in 2013 – with 5 deaths total, all caused by pit bull bites. 60 percent of these cases resulted in criminal charges, and criminals are far more likely to own vicious dogs than noncriminal individuals.
For more information, view our article about the World’s Most Dangerous Dog Breeds.
What to Do
If you or a loved one has been injured by a dog bite, the first step is to pursue immediate medical attention. While it’s possible to perform first aid on-scene, it’s very important to see a doctor. This is especially the case if you were bitten by a strange dog, can’t stop the bleeding, or if the bite is deep. If the bite is red and swollen, oozing pus, or inflamed, those are signs of infection and need to be treated with antibiotics.
When speaking with a doctor, he or she will ask if you know the dog’s owner, if the dog is up to date on vaccinations, and whether or not the dog was provoked. If the victim already has a chronic condition such as liver disease or diabetes, his or her immune system will be compromised, posing a greater risk for infection.
Be sure to document any visible injuries, as well as the scene of the incident, by taking pictures and writing down the names of witnesses. Never admit fault, even if you believe the dog was provoked.
Finding a San Bernardino Dog Bite Lawyer
According to California Civil Code, “the owner of a dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog.” These liabilities are true for the victim whether he or she was lawfully in a private space or in a public space, which makes him or her eligible for compensation directly from the dog’s owner.
As such, after pursuing necessary medical care, the second step is to contact a skilled, experienced attorney who can help you navigate the complex bureaucracy of dog bite law, allowing you to pursue the compensation you deserve. Be sure to contact the police and animal control as well.
If your injury has resulted in emotional trauma, severe injury, lost time from work, and other financial hardships, a lawyer can help you create a claim for these costs. A lawyer will also enable the insurance company to more accurately estimate the amount of compensation a victim should receive. You don’t have to suffer mentally, physically, or financially from a devastating dog mauling incident; an attorney can provide the necessary guidance and support for victims.
Need help? More information? Contact us at Estey & Bomberger today to learn more about San Bernardino dog bite attorneys.