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The 5 steps you need to take following a dog attack

Dog bites and attacks aren't only terrifying and painful, but often unexpected. One minute you may be walking down the sidewalk enjoying your day, and the next, fending off a vicious dog. In some instances, you may simply be doing your job when a dog attacks you out of nowhere.

What is really scary is how often these attacks happen. In fact, the Department of Animal Services investigates more than 2,500 dog bites each year in San Diego County alone, according to a report by NBC7 news.

If you are a dog-bite victim, there are several steps you need to be aware of following your attack. These steps are important for protecting your health and legal rights.

1. Seek medical treatment as soon as possibleBeesonBlog4.jpg

Always see a doctor following a dog bite or attack - after all, even a single bite can lead to an infection if not treated. In some cases, you may even need a rabies shot. If your injuries are more severe, don't hesitate to go to the emergency room or call 911.

It is also a good idea to see a doctor if you think you will need a record of your injuries later, whether for insurance purposes or a possible lawsuit against the dog's owner.

2. Identify the dog and the dog's owner

Once you take care of your medical needs, the most important thing to do is figure out who owns the dog that attacked you. Your doctor will need to know if the dog has had all of its shots, and the owner may be the only person with this information. If you are unable to find this out, you may have to get a rabies shot just in case, which can be very painful.

Finding the dog's owner is also crucial because owners are responsible when their dogs bite someone in California. Simply put, as long as you aren't trespassing on the dog owner's lawn, you may be able to get compensation for your dog bite injuries. This applies to houseguests, salespeople, postal workers, delivery drivers or people merely walking down the street.

3. Take pictures of your injuries and gather additional information

You should take photos of your injuries as soon as possible, including photos of your clothing and related bruising. You may need these photos later when you file your legal claim. In addition, gather the names and addresses of any witnesses who may have seen you being attacked by the dog.

4. Call the police and animal services

You always need to file a report following a dog attack. Not only can a thorough report strengthen your case, but it may also help prevent future dog attacks if Animal Services are able to get a dangerous dog off the streets. Also, in some cases, Animal Services may need to check the dog for rabies.

5. Contact an experienced attorney

After you have been attacked by a dog, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. A lawyer can explain complex laws and help you seek the best recovery possible, including money for medical expenses, lost income and emotional distress. Also, since a dog owner's homeowner's policy often covers dog bites, your attorney can help deal with uncooperative insurance companies.

At David P. Beeson & Associates, we want to help when you have been attacked by a dog. Every dog bite has a different set of facts, so contact us today to learn which steps you need to follow.

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