More than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year. And while anybody can be the victim of a dog attack, a recent study conducted by a California hospital shows that young children are most at risk—particularly children between the ages of 1 and 5.
Unfortunately, children get bitten more often than adults, and they also tend to sustain more severe and life-threatening injuries when bitten by a dog. According to the same study mentioned above, 61.7% of most dog bites inflicted on children occur on the head and neck.
Not only are dog bites a threat to the physical health of a child, but they can also be incredibly traumatic, which can cause children to develop mental health issues, like PTSD and severe anxiety when around dogs. For this reason, it’s crucial that parents take extra care when their child is around animals.
If your child is bitten by a dog in California, contact one of our experienced San Francisco dog bite attorneys. We’ll help you navigate your claim, ensure the right party is held accountable, and help you win a fair settlement to help pay for your child’s injuries and other potential damages.
California Dog Bite Liability: What Happens When a Dog Bites a Child?
California has a very strict civil code that applies to the liability of dog owners. The law states that:
“The owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.”
However, there are special exceptions to this law when the victim of the dog bite is a child. For example, a child under the age of five cannot be held responsible for negligence on their own behalf.
In other words, because the victim is a child, the defendant (dog owner) cannot use the defense that the victim acted negligently by doing something such as provoking the dog. If an adult provoked the dog and they were bitten, they could be held liable for their negligence, but this is not the case with children.
What Happens to the Dog When it Bites Someone?
If someone’s dog bites your child, the consequences will depend on the individual situation. If it is the first time the dog has shown aggression and done something like this, the owner may be held liable and face fines or charges, but nothing may happen to the dog itself.
However, if the dog causes serious injury or death and the dog is known to be dangerous, the owner may be required by law to euthanize the dog.
Dog Bite Infections
One of the biggest concerns with dog bites, even with minor dog bites, is the risk of infection. Dogs carry bacteria and germs in their mouths which can transfer over to the child. This can lead to staph infections, strep infections, and rabies infections.
This is why it is crucial to have your child’s dog bite injuries checked out by a medical professional as soon as possible. Even if it’s a minor injury that you can tend to at home, there is still a risk of infection that, if left untreated, could be life-threatening.
What to Do if your Child is Bitten By a Dog
To ensure your child’s safety and well-being are protected, there are certain steps you can take after they are bitten by a dog.
- Take your child to the ER or urgent care immediately.
- Report the attack to local authorities.
- Get the contact information for the owner of the dog.
- Take pictures of the dog, the injuries, and anything else that is relevant to provide as evidence.
- Consult with a local dog bite attorney immediately following the incident.
Let Our Dog Bite Attorney Handle Your Claim so You Can Focus on Your Life
When a dog bites a child, the results can be devastating and traumatic. Let our team of dog bite attorneys in San Francisco handle your claim so you can focus on your child’s recovery. We’ll help you navigate the complex legal matters, ensure the dog owner is held accountable, and help you win a high-value settlement to pay for your child’s injuries.
Call us at 877-380-8852 or contact us online today for a free case evaluation.