(US law and generally0 Dogs have always been referred to as “man’s best friend”, and this saying usually holds true. Unfortunately, they are still animals and at times may attack a person. A dog bite can be a very serious injury, and sadly, the majority of these attacks happen to children. Any parent whose child is attacked by a dog needs to take action immediately. Most dog attacks are not fatal, but it is still imperative to handle the situation correctly. Once a parent knows their child is safe, they should take steps to make sure the dog’s owner is held liable for the damage their dog caused.
Take Care of the Child
The utmost important thing for a parent to do after a dog attacks their child is get immediate medical help. Even if the dog bite doesn’t seem that serious, there is a great chance of infection and possibly even rabies. The dog should also be reported to law enforcement and animal control services. In South Carolina, a dog that bites a person is required to be quarantined for ten days at a veterinary clinic. During these days, the dog will be monitored for rabies. This will give everyone an idea of whether or not a child needs to be given a rabies vaccination.
Any time a child is bitten by a dog the parent should do their best to gather as much information as possible. The first thing to find out is where the dog lives and who its owner is. It is strongly recommend that pictures be taken of the injury as well as any torn clothing. This will be very important if the necessity arises to get reimbursement for medical bills from the owner. A dog owner can sometimes even be held criminally liable if serious injury occurs, so these pictures may also help law enforcement. A parent should also get the names and contact information of anyone who witnessed the incident.
Contact a Lawyer
Contacting a lawyer is very important, even if a child’s injuries are not life-threatening. South Carolina attorneys Howell & Christmas point out that the state has a strict liability stance on owners whose dogs bite other people. This means that if a person is in a public area or lawfully on private property and is attacked by a dog, the dog’s owner is liable for the injuries, even if it occurred in their own yard. This does not apply if someone is bitten due to breaking the law or provoking a dog. It is also important to remember that a child can suffer future serious psychological issues related to dogs due to this attack. If a parent waits until these issues become apparent, they may not be able to sue for any counseling bills their child may require. This is because the statute of limitations on these cases is only three years. Contacting a professional attorney quickly will ensure a parent can cover their child’s medical bills, any lost income due to having to care for their child’s injuries, and any future medical bills that may arise from the attack.
Any owner whose dog attacks a person is liable for that attack in most states. Even if a child’s injuries are minimal, a parent should still contact an attorney. No parent should have to pay a doctor bill that was caused by another person’s negligence. Taking action against a careless dog owner is also usually the only way that the owner will start taking their dog owner responsibility more seriously. In the end, having a competent attorney will ensure that a person doesn’t have to pay for injuries caused by another person’s disregard, and handling the issue correctly may ensure that other children don’t become victims of that particular dog.
Katie Hewatt is a legal researcher and contributing author for the legal team of Howell & Christmas. This group of personal injury lawyers also specialize in dog bite cases. They take each case seriously, no matter how severe the injury is, and will help you receive the compensation you deserve for pain, medical bills, emotional stress, and scarring.