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What are your options after a vicious dog attack?

It only takes a second for a seemingly-friendly encounter with a dog to turn violent. An animal running loose in the park could knock you or your child to the ground and cause severe injuries. Your friend's pet may suddenly become defensive, biting and maiming you or a loved one when you visit. It's even possible for a dog to jump over a fence or out of a vehicle and attack you without warning.

The aftermath of a dog bite attack can last for months. Depending on the location and severity of the injuries and the age and overall health of the victim, hospitalization, surgery, physical therapy and psychological counseling may be necessary for a full recovery. The cost of that treatment can overwhelm many individuals and families, especially if the injuries prevent a household wage-earner from working.

Dogs bites leave scars and cause financial woes

Many of the areas where people suffer injuries in a dog bite attack are delicate. People are often bitten on their hands while playing with a dog or in an attempt to shield themselves from the attack. There are many delicate bones in the hands, as well as muscles and tendons that all work together. A bite to the hand or wrist can require surgery and physical therapy.

Bites to the legs and arms can also require surgery to ensure full function after recovery. Bites to the face or neck are particularly dangerous and costly to treat. They can pose the threat of severe blood loss. There will also often be expenses associated with reconstructive surgeries to mitigate scars from the attack. Children may require surgeries every year or two to prevent permanent disfigurement as they grow.

California holds dog owners responsible for attacks

Thankfully, dog owners in California are typically liable for any injuries caused by their animals. Whether you were in a public place or the home of the dog's owner during the attack, as long as you weren't trespassing, the owner is usually legally responsible for the damages caused by the dog.

Many homeowners have riders in their insurance policies that provide coverage for dog bite attacks. Payment for lost wages and medical expenses could be an option if you or the homeowner file a claim against the policy.

Other times, you may have to seek compensation through civil court. California law allows you to file a personal injury lawsuit for any damages related to a dog bite attack. The courts may award you financial compensation for any current and future medical bills, which can go a long way to helping you and your family move on after a dog attacks.

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