Most children are naturally adventurous and friendly. That means that they will approach not just the humans they encounter, but also the animals. Whether you are playing at a beach, visiting a park or spending time with friends, your child is almost certain to make the acquaintance of nearby animals.
Most dogs that live as pets or companion animals behave appropriately around children. They may even enjoy the energy of children, leading them to romp and act more playful than usual. Some dogs, however, become aggressive around small children.
Their high-pitched voices and unpredictable movements can make certain dogs, especially those with a history of violence or abuse by humans, very nervous or aggressive. When a dog attacks and bites your child, your family could end up incurring substantial expenses for many years to come.
Physical and emotional scars take a long time to heal
Dog bites, especially to visible places like the face, neck and hands, can be disfiguring. The healed wound can also cause persistent pain without corrective surgery.
For young children who require cosmetic surgery after a dog bite attack, it may be necessary to have additional surgeries every few years as the body continues to grow. In cases where the dog broke or injured a bone, particularly if the growth plate got damaged, intensive treatment and physical therapy may be necessary for a full recovery.
Even after physical injuries heal, children may still require expensive care for many years. A dog bite attack can leave children with everything from phobias to post-traumatic stress. Counseling or professional therapy may be the only solution for helping your child conquer their demons after a vicious dog attack.
California law expects dog owners to be responsible
Some states have laws that protect the owner and the dog from consequences if the dog only attacks once. Thankfully, California does not have one of these so-called one-bite rules. Instead, California is a strict liability state.
Anyone who owns a dog in California should properly train the dog. They should also invest in enclosures for their yard and restraints for when they take the dog to public places, such as the beach or a park. Those who fail to properly enclose, train or restrain their animal could face civil lawsuits over the damages caused by their dog.
If your child suffered injuries after a vicious and unprovoked dog bite attack, you may have grounds for either a personal injury lawsuit or an insurance claim. Speaking with an attorney who understands California's liability laws as they apply to dog owners can help you determine what to do next.