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Who Let the Dogs Out! How to Legally Handle Your Child Getting Bit

Most dogs are friendly, but dog bites cause over 1 million doctor visits a year. The majority of bite victims see family doctors, but over 350,000 require emergency room care. If a dog bites your child, you should first seek medical care. Dog bites can have serious medical, legal, emotional, and financial impacts. What other things should you do if a dog bites your child?

Medical Care Is the First Priority

The American Academy of Family Physicians offers first aid tips for animal bites. If a dog bite breaks the skin, infection is possible. Any bite that breaks the skin requires medical attention. Your child could be exposed to a serious illness such as rabies. Bite injuries may also require additional treatment to heal properly. If you can take pictures of the bite and animal, do so.

Report the Incident

Even if you don’t think the bite is serious, report it to Animal Control or law enforcement. Laws about animal restraint vary from state to state, but you should not attempt to restrain the animal yourself. Animal control, the sheriff, or the police will restrain the animal if possible. Animal quarantine is important to test for disease risk. Reporting the bite will also establish a record for any potential legal case. Try to get contact information for the dog’s owner. Responsible owners will readily trade information about their animal.

Seek Counseling If Needed

A dog bite is a serious and frightening incident. Your child may suffer nightmares or other signs of stress and child therapy can help. If your child shows any signs of being disturbed or needing counseling after the incident, consult a local child counseling service or your family doctor. Talk therapy and play therapy have been proven to help children reduce trauma following bite injuries.

Get Legal Assistance

Attorneys are familiar with dog bite injuries and how to work with settlements and claims from insurers and individuals. Statistics from the Journal of Injury Prevention showed that children needed medical care after a dog bite 3.2 times more than adults. Seeking out legal assistance, like that from Kidwell & Gallagher LTD, may result in getting access to funds for medical care, recovery needs, and other types of compensation.

Attorneys have experience working with insurance claims, settlements and lawsuits arising from dog bite injuries. An attorney will review what happened when the dog bit your child and any evidence you have collected. They will help you through their experience in using evidence to obtain a fair settlement for your child and you after the traumatic incident of a dog bite.

Tim Esterdahl

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