A report from State Farm Insurance shows it paid $123 million for 3,280 dog bite injury claims last year, which was a 9 percent decrease compared with dog bite claims in 2017 and a drop of 7 percent in the total amount paid. However, according to Insurance Journal, California has been on the top of State Farm’s list in 2017 and 2018 for the highest number of dog bite injury claims at 409. The total amount paid by State Farm in dog attack cases totaled $18.6 million in 2018.
What to Do If a Dog Bites You
If you have been bitten by a dog, here are some of the crucial steps you would be well-advised to take in order to protect your rights:
- Identify the dog owner. If possible, get names and contact information for the dog’s owner. Ask them if they have proof of rabies vaccination for their pet. It is important to identify the dog’s owner or at least find out who was taking care of the dog when it attacked you. This will help determine who should be held liable for your injuries and losses.
- Get medical attention. If you are bleeding, call 911 to get immediate medical attention. Be sure to seek professional medical treatment if you have been bitten. In addition to damage caused by injuries, you are also at risk for infections.
- File a report. Even if the injuries aren’t severe, make sure you file an official report with the appropriate city or county authorities. These documents will create a record of what occurred and the types of injuries you sustained as a result of the dog attack.
- Secure information about the dog. In addition to dog owner information, it is also important that you find out if the dog was licensed and if it had a history of attacking other pets and people. In some cases, dogs may have been designated as “dangerous,” which means the owner should have muzzled the dog in a public place or kept it restrained at home.
- Gather evidence at the scene. Take photos of the injuries you may have suffered. Preserve any physical evidence from the scene including torn or bloody clothing. Get contact information for anyone who may have witnessed the dog attack.
Protecting Your Rights
Under California law, dog owners are financially responsible for the injuries their pets cause. It is important that you contact an experienced California dog bite lawyer who can help you seek and obtain maximum compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, cost of rehabilitative therapy, cosmetic therapy, psychological counseling, pain and suffering and emotional distress.