Each year, 800,000 Americans seek medical attention for dog bites, half of which are children. Of those injured, 386,000 require emergency treatment and about a dozen die from their wounds. Dog-bite related injuries are highest among children ages 5 to 9; the rate decreases as children get older.
Some basic safety rules for children when they encounter dogs:
- Do not approach or play with an unfamiliar dog, unless supervised by an adult.
- Before you pet a dog, allow it to see and sniff you first.
- Stand still if approached by a strange dog. ("Be still like a tree.") Don't run away screaming.
- If knocked over by a dog, roll into a ball and lie still ("Be still like a log.")
- Report strays or dogs displaying unusual behavior to an adult.
- Avoid direct eye contact with a dog.
- Do not disturb a dog while it is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.
Under California state law, a dog's owner is liable for any damages suffered by a victim in an attack that happens in a public area or lawfully in a private place. If the injury takes place in a dog owner's home, the homeowner's liability insurance will compensate for the damages.
At Berglund & Johnson, we have represented many dog-bite victims over the past 32 years. We have established relationships with highly skilled medical providers who are experts in treating bite wounds and plastic surgery for scar revision, when necessary.