According to officials at Rady Children’s Hospital and the San Diego Humane Society, the incidence of children being bitten by dogs is on the rise in San Diego County. An emergency room nurse at Rady says there were 457 reported dog bite cases at the hospital last year, and that in most cases, the victim was bitten by a familiar dog. (County Animal Services receives reports of about 2,500 dog bites each year, so it is clearly not a rare phenomenon.)

The hospital and the humane society offered a few tips for parents. First, teach your kids about dogs’ body language. Second, don’t let your child approach a dog without the owner’s permission. Third, if you feel at all uncomfortable or simply don’t want to risk it, stay away.

The Damage Dog Bites Do

Dog bites, particularly to small children, can have serious lifelong effects. Dog’s jaws are powerful enough to crush a child’s small bones, resulting in the need for multiple corrective surgeries and possibly irreversible damage. Scarring and disfigurement can also be caused by dog bites, leaving the child scarred for life and requiring painful plastic surgeries. You also have to consider the emotional trauma a dog bite can inflict on small children. They could develop a debilitating phobia of dogs that would make living a normal life very difficult.

California practices strict liability when it comes to dog bites. This means that a dog’s owner or caregiver is directly responsible for that dog’s actions. In many cases, the dog may be covered by the owner’s homeowners insurance policy, enabling you to get compensation for your child’s injuries. If the dog isn’t covered under the owner’s policy, you can still file a civil claim for compensation against the owner’s estate. If your child has been injured by a dog bite, you’ll need the representation of an experienced personal injury attorney. The legal team at San Diego’s Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers has been handling dog bite cases for nearly two decades and they will put their experience behind your claim. Call them for a free consultation at (888) 233-5020.

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