Child Injuries from Dog Bites Can Be Serious
Children can be more susceptible to dog attacks and dog bites for a variety of reasons. A child may not understand that a dog could become aggressive if the child approaches the dog’s food or puppies. Also, children can be more energetic and louder, which can startle a dog or cause a dog to become over-stimulated. Small children often tug on a dog’s ears or tail.
Children are typically not aware of the signals that a dog’s behavior indicates it is ready to attack. In some cases, a dog may bite a child for no apparent reason, even a dog that has not shown any previous aggressive behavior. Sadly, dog bites often result in traumatic injuries, severe pain, and mental anguish for a child.
If a dog owned by your neighbor or someone else bites your child, there are several steps that you should take to protect your child’s health and legal rights. Our Kansas City child injury attorney can guide you through the process of filing a dog bite claim and helps you protect your child’s rights and best interests after a dog attack or dog bite.
Steps to Take after a Dog Bites Your Child
1. Seek Medical Treatment for Dog Bite Injuries
If a neighbor’s dog bites your child, contact your physician immediately. For severe injuries, take your child to the emergency room for treatment. A neighbor’s dog may be vaccinated for rabies, but a dog bite can still cause infections and severe injuries that might require extensive medical treatment.
Common dog bite injuries include:
- Puncture wounds and lacerations
- Infections and diseases, including rabies, MRSA, Pasteurella, Tetanus, and Capnocytophaga bacteria
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Nerve damage
- Broken bones
- Facial injuries, including injury to the eyes, ears, nose, and mouth
- Soft tissue injuries
- Emotional and mental distress
Be prepared to provide the doctor with as much information about the dog as possible, including the owner’s name, the dog vaccination record, and the location of the dog attack. Also, your child’s medical history and immunization records can be helpful.
2. Report the Dog Bite
As soon as your child is stable, report the dog bite to the dog’s owner. You should also file a report with your local animal control or law enforcement agency.
3. Document the Dog Bite Incident and Injury
Take photographs and make videos of the dog bite injury. If there were eyewitnesses to the dog attack, note their names and contact information, if known.
Keep copies of all documents related to the dog bite or dog attack, including medical records, initial reports, medical expenses, and loss of income. Not the days your child misses from school and other activities and events because of the dog bite.
4. Contact a Kansas City Dog Bite Lawyer
Dog bite claims can be complicated. The laws governing dog bite claims vary by state. It is important to work with an experienced dog bite attorney in Kansas City who understands the laws governing your claim to determine who is at fault for the dog bite and your right to recover compensation.
Dog Bite Laws in Missouri and Kansas
If you live in Missouri, a dog bite claim is typically subject to strict liability. The dog’s owner can be held liable for damages caused by a dog bite even though the dog has never bitten another person or has never displayed aggressive or dangerous behavior. To recover damages for a dog bite in Missouri, all you need to prove is that a dog bit your child, the dog bite occurred on public property or when your child was legally on private property, and your child did not provoke the dog.
General negligence laws govern most dog bite claims in Kansas. General negligence laws require you to prove that the dog owner had a duty of care, breached the duty of care, the breach caused your child to be bitten, and the dog bite caused injuries and damages to receive compensation for a dog bite injury.
In addition, Kansas dog bite claims are typically subject to the one-bite rule. A dog owner is not liable unless the dog has bitten someone previously or the owner knew or should have known the dog was predisposed to bite people. In other words, a dog gets a “pass” for the first bite if there is no evidence to prove the owner knew or should have known the dog was violent.
Dog Bite Claims Involving Children
When the victim of a dog bite is a child, other factors might impact liability. Children are often not held to the same standard as an adult. Therefore, a child who wanders into a neighbor’s yard and is bitten by a dog might still have a claim if the neighbor was negligent in failing to secure the dog or prevent a child from wandering in an area where the dog might attack the child.
An experienced dog bite attorney can evaluate the facts related to your case to determine your child’s rights regarding a dog bite injury claim.
Call Our Kansas City Child Injury Lawyer for a Free Case Review
If your child sustains a dog bite, get answers to your legal questions from a trusted legal advocate for children. We work with you to protect your child’s best interest. Call 816-203-0143 for a free consultation with our Kansas City child injury attorney.