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What should I do if my child is bitten by a dog in the park? 

On Behalf of | Jun 7, 2024 | Animal Bite Law

With summer in full swing, it’s the perfect time to hit the park and the outdoors with your kids. But what happens if a playful day takes a turn, and your child gets bitten by a dog? Here are some quick steps in navigating this stressful situation. 

Prioritize medical attention 

The most crucial step is ensuring your child’s well-being. Assess the bite’s severity. For minor scratches, clean the wound with soap and water for 5 minutes. For serious bites, especially on the face or neck, call 911 immediately. Seek medical attention regardless of severity. The doctor will clean the wound, check for infection and administer necessary medications like rabies shots or a tetanus booster. 

Gather information 

While attending to your child, try to gather details about the incident. Get the dog owner’s name, contact information and address if possible. Note the dog’s breed and any visible tags. Ask witnesses for their names and contact details. This information will be crucial for reporting and potential legal actions. 

Report the bite 

California law mandates reporting dog bites. Contact your local animal control department. They will investigate the incident, determine if the dog is up to date on vaccinations and potentially quarantine the animal. Reporting also helps track aggressive dogs and prevent future incidents. 

Document everything 

If possible, take pictures of the bite wound before treatment. Also, if it is safe to do so, take photos of the surrounding area and the dog. Keep copies of medical bills, police reports and any communication with the dog owner.  

Consider legal options 

Dog bite victims in California have a compelling case, especially if the bite was unprovoked. Dog owners are strictly liable for injuries caused by their pets. Consulting a personal injury professional can help you understand your legal rights and navigate the process of seeking compensation for medical bills, emotional distress and other damages. 

While it can understandably be a nerve-wracking situation, staying calm and taking these steps can help you later if you decide to seek legal action.