Dogs bite, and often their owners have to pay the price, but so does the person who was bitten in terms of scarring, risk of infection, and pain and suffering. In California, owners are responsible following a dog bite, unless you attack or provoke the dog. And dog bites happen more often than we think – about 4.5 million times a year, reports the Center for Disease Control. Overall, a dog bites one out of every 72 people. The most frequent victims are children, men, the elderly, home service providers like mail carriers, and dog owners and their families.

Reasons why dogs bite are almost as numerous as the steps you should take if you end up on the wrong end of a dog’s teeth. The canine might be reacting to stress, scared or being protective of its puppies, the owner or property. Maybe it is sick or just being playful. To lessen the risks – while this may seem too basic to repeat – let sleeping dogs lie. Do not approach one that is playing with a toy, chewing on food or fighting with another dog. Hitting or hugging the animal may also prompt a bad reaction. If a menacing dog approaches, remain motionless – don’t scream or try to escape. If – and when – it retreats, back away. If the dog attacks, cover your ears, curl up and remain as still as you can.

If you are bitten by a dog, follow these 10 steps:

1. Find out who owns the dog.
2. Find out if the dog has had recent rabies shots – get a copy of the vaccination report if you can. (Fortunately, rabies in dogs is almost eliminated in the U.S.)
3. Find out who is dog’s veterinarian.
4. Make a report/complaint to animal control.
5. Get a copy of the report from animal control.
6. Get medical attention (waiting increases the chance of infection) and give a clear history of how you were attacked. //health.clevelandclinic.org/if-a-dog-bites-you-do-these-7-things-now/
7. Find out if the dog owner has homeowner’s insurance, and if so, who their insurance company is.
8. Don’t talk to anybody from the homeowner’s insurance company until after you’ve spoken to a lawyer.
9. Take pictures of your injuries and the dog if possible, including anything that shows its aggressiveness, e.g. “Beware of Dog” sign.
10. Find out if there are any witnesses and get their contact information

Results can be costly – in terms of physical and emotional effects as well as liability on the owner’s part. If you need an attorney to help you after a dog bite, contact CaseyGerry. Our team has the experience, resources and knowledge to help you work through the scars. //caseygerry.com/areas-of-practice/dog-bites/

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