Dogs have a reputation for being “man’s best friend,” and for many children, a good family dog can be a source of joy and companionship. However, when dogs feel scared, angry, or threatened, they may become aggressive, and young children are often the ones who suffer the consequences. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children are not only more likely to be bitten by a dog than adults, but their dog bite injuries also tend to be more serious. As a parent, you can help your children avoid dog bite injuries using a few effective strategies. Regardless, a California pet owner may be held liable for injuries inflicted by his dog depending on the circumstances.
The key to preventing dog bite injuries is often helping your children understand a dog’s behavior and how they should act around a dog. Here are some suggestions that can keep your children safe:
Supervise your children around all dogs: In many cases, children are bitten by familiar dogs and even dogs in their own household, so you should always watch your children when a dog is around. This gives you the opportunity to correct the behavior that could provoke a dog bite. When you encounter an unfamiliar dog in public, you should always ask the owner if it is OK for your children to pet the dog before they approach it.
Teach your children to stay calm: Dogs are often startled by loud noises and sudden movement, and this can be difficult for excited children to understand. Remind your children to be calm and gentle with friendly dogs, and if a dog appears threatening, do your best to help them slowly back away rather than running.
Teach your children when to leave a dog alone: It is always best for you and your children to keep your distance from an unfamiliar, unaccompanied dog. You should also teach your kids to give a dog space when it is eating, sleeping, hiding, taking care of puppies, or when it appears to be scared or sick. Bothering a dog in any of these situations can provoke an aggressive reaction.
If your child does suffer a dog bite, your fast action can prevent complications from the injury. For a deep wound with heavy bleeding, try to apply pressure with a clean cloth and seek medical attention as soon as possible. Even if the wound is minor, you should clean it thoroughly, use an antibiotic cream, and cover it with a bandage to prevent infection. If the dog is unfamiliar, you should also contact animal control and speak with your healthcare provider about screening for rabies.
According to California Civil Code, the owner of any canine is liable for the damages or injuries suffered by an individual who is bitten if he or she is in a public place or lawfully on private property, including the dog owner’s land. In some cases, the owner may not have properly restrained his or her dog or failed to report a history of viciousness. It is important to get the owner’s contact information and the canine’s dog's license number, which will aid in pursuing a claim with your personal injury attorney’s help.
When a dog bite injury requires costly medical treatment or leads to permanent scarring or lasting emotional trauma, it is imperative that you hire an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you seek compensation. Attorney John J. Garvey has more than 40 years of proven success and will work with you to file a lawsuit against the dog’s owner so that you can get the relief you need to aid in your children’s recovery. Contact our diligent Santa Clara County dog bite injury lawyer today at 408-293-7777 to schedule a free consultation.
While this website provides general information, it does not constitute legal advice. The best way to get guidance on your specific legal issue is to contact a lawyer. To schedule a meeting with the attorney, please call at 408-293-7777 or complete the intake form below.