Do I Need a Lawyer After My Child Is Bitten by a Dog?

Being bitten by a dog is something no one in San Francisco wants to go through, but this takes on an added level of seriousness when the bite happens to your child. Still, there are legal protections in place for this exact situation. To learn more about your options, contact the Law Offices of Matthew J. Quinlan today for a free consultation.

What Can You Do If Your Child is Bitten by a Dog?

You obviously don’t want your child to be bitten by a dog, and yet, children are among those that are most vulnerable to these incidents. Whether it be because they simply don’t understand the situation or don’t know how to react or read the dog’s warning signals, a dog bite is something that unfortunately happens.

And even though you don’t want it to happen, you have to take certain steps when it does:

  • Get medical help right away to make sure your child is okay. Take them away from the dog to a safe place and call for help.
  • Find out who owns the dog and get their contact info and insurance details. This will help if you decide to take legal action. You can also ask the police or animal control for help.
  • Report the bite to the police or animal control after your child has been treated. They will investigate what happened.
  • Gather evidence like pictures of the bite, where it happened, and statements from anyone who saw it. This will support your child’s case.
  • Keep track of all the medical bills and treatment your child needs because of the bite. This will help figure out what compensation you might need.

Stay calm and focus on helping your child first. Once they’re taken care of, you can start thinking about what to do next.

Do You Need a Lawyer?

Dealing with any situation where your child is hurt is incredibly frightening, but a dog bite can be especially tough. All of the injuries and other harm that can come from a dog bite are just as serious–and sometimes even more so–when they happen to your child. So, if your child has been bitten, you might be wondering if you should get a lawyer involved. This depends on how serious your child’s injuries are.

Even still, the decision to take legal action on behalf of your child is yours to make. If you’re considering it, you can speak with our team at no cost. Your child has the same rights as any other injury victim. While you’re not required to have a lawyer, our team can assist you by:

  • Investigating what happened
  • Explaining your child’s options and the necessary steps
  • Gathering and presenting evidence
  • Communicating with insurance companies and the other party’s legal representatives

The main reason to take legal action is to get the financial support for your child’s injuries that’s available under California law. But like anything else, this also depends on the circumstances.

What Can You Get For Your Child’s Dog Bite Claim?

According to California law, dog owners are fully responsible for any harm their dog causes, including injuries to children. This is a legal concept known as “strict liability.”  As their parent or guardian, your (and by extension, your child’s) legal options are similar to any other dog bite claim:

  • File an insurance claim.
  • File a personal injury lawsuit.

However, when a child is injured, there are specific considerations. A dog bite can result in significant and long-lasting effects on their growth and development. The claims process considers these factors when determining damages for the child, which may include:

  • Medical expenses – These are for any current and future medical costs, such as hospital visits, surgeries, therapy, and ongoing treatment.
  • Lost earnings – These cover any income you lose by taking time off work to care for your child, as well as your child’s potential future earnings if permanently injured.
  • Pain and suffering – Providing support for the physical and emotional trauma experienced by both your child and the family.
  • Permanent injuries/disfigurement – These address any lasting physical damage or scarring caused by the dog bite.
  • Loss of quality of life – These damages refer to your child’s inability to enjoy activities they once did due to their injuries.
  • Wrongful death expenses – In the event of a fatal injury or bite, these cover funeral and burial costs, as well as loss of companionship.

It’s important to note that there is usually a two-year time limit for filing a claim after an accident. However, if a child is injured, the clock doesn’t start ticking until they reach 18 years old. Still, that doesn’t mean you should wait.

Remember, your child is at greater risk of serious injuries from dog bites, ranging from bite wounds to rabies. These injuries can significantly impact your child’s development and well-being, so recovering these damages can be vital to their physical, emotional, and mental recovery.

Contact MJQ Law If Your Child is Bitten By a Dog in San Francisco

No parent wants their child to be hurt, especially in a dog bite situation. It’s tough for the whole family. At MJQ Law, our skilled team of San Francisco dog bite lawyers can help. We’ll fight for your child’s rights and help them recover. Contact us today for a free consultation if your child has been bitten by a dog in San Francisco.