Many residents in and around San Francisco own dogs, and for those residents, their dogs are a part of their family. Some of those dogs have bitten people though. Serious dog bites can break through a victim’s skin and tear at muscles and nerve, leaving permanent scarring and disability after an attack. As per section 3342 of the California Civil Code, a dog’s owner is strictly liable for any injuries that his or her dog causes in public or in private, even if the bite occurs in the dog owner’s home. Section 41.5.1, et seq. of the San Francisco Municipal Code also addresses dog bites. If you intend on filing a personal injury claim for damages after a dog bite, here’s how you should proceed.
Assess the Damage:
Determine how serious the bite or bites are. In the event of one or more serious bites that break the skin, paramedics should be called. If possible, take pictures of the bite or bites before the paramedics arrive. Paramedics can give preliminary treatment. A visit to an urgent care center or emergency room may be needed.
Obtain Appropriate Information
Witnesses can be an important piece of any personal injury case. That’s why you’ll want to get contact information from anybody who witnessed the attack. If the dog’s owner is a homeowner, it’s likely that he or she was insured, so you’ll want appropriate insurance information. If the owner of the dog isn’t a homeowner, there still might be renters insurance, so inquire about that coverage.
Proper Notification After a Dog Bite
As soon as possible after a serious dog bite, the most important legal step that you can take is to call 415-554-9400 and notify the Vicious and Dangerous Dog Unit (VDDU) of the San Francisco Police Department. Animal control officers are available from 6:00 a.m. until midnight. The VDDU encourages dog bite victims to contact it as soon as possible after any dog bite. It will investigate the attack, make a report and determine what action against the dog and its owner might be best for public safety. In some cases, the dog is impounded until such time as a hearing on the incident is held.
Aside from taking the above steps, it’s important to contact a personal injury attorney with experience in dog bite cases, especially if the possibility of permanent scarring, muscle damage or nerve damage exists. The Law Offices of Matthew J. Quinlan offers free confidential consultations and case reviews on dog bite cases. Even if you were bitten by the dog of a friend or family member, there’s no reason for any type of a confrontation. We can deal directly with his or her insurance company. Contact our San Francisco dog bite lawyer as soon as you can after you or your family member have suffered a serious dog bite.