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What to know about dog bites in California

Dogs are man's best friend, and sometimes considered part of the family. That doesn't change the fact that they have teeth, and they sometimes use them. While any dog can bite, certain dog breeds such as Pit Bulls and Rottweiler's can be particularly deadly.

Dog bites send about 1,000 Americans to the emergency room each day, according to the research done by DogBites.org. These injuries are commonly seen in children, although many adults are also treated for injuries or infections resulting from dog bites.

The injuries can be deep wounds with lifelong impact

Sometimes the injuries are only minor, skin deep, and can be treated at home. Others are deep wounds in which children's faces are maimed for life, or an adult's knee can be seriously damaged.

A dog bite requires immediate medical attention

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 4.5 million dog bites occur each year and one out of five dog bites becomes infected. Here are some of the infections caused by dog bites:

1. Rabies. While less common in the United States, it is the most serious disease caused by dog bites. It is a virus that impacts your brain and can be fatal.

2. Tetanus. People often think of checking for tetanus if they step on a rusty nail, but they should check for it if they have a dog bite. Dogs carry this bacteria and it can cause serious damage if your tetanus shots are not up to date.

3. Pasteurella. One of the most common infections from dog bites; it causes a painful red infection accompanied by swelling joints and swollen glands.

4. Staph infection. Dogs carry bacteria called MRSA, which can cause a staph infection.

In California, if you or your child have been bitten by a dog and have sustained an injury or have suffered from an infection, there are a few things to know about liability.

It doesn't matter if the dog never bit anyone before, it is an animal attack.

In California, the dog's owner is often considered liable, although this might not be the case for several reasons. One reason would be that they specifically warned you not to go near the dog, and another is if they took precautions to prevent it.

Have you or your child been bitten by a dog? Depending on the seriousness of the dog bite, you may be entitled to pursing damages for medical expenses or lost wages if you have had to miss work due to the injuries or infection from the bite. Consider contacting a personal injury lawyer to explore your legal options if you have been injured by a dog bite.

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