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Suffering an attack from a dog can be one of the most violent and traumatizing experiences that a person can go through. The effects of a dog attack can lead to many long term injuries including scarring, nerve damage and long term disability not to mention any medical bills you receive for necessary treatment. Victims of such attacks often have to treat with physical therapists and plastic surgeons incurring significant medical costs in the process. If you are bitten by a dog, the dog owner may be responsible for your injuries. In this article attorney Eric E. Castelblanco will explain what you need to do to protect your rights if you are attacked by a dog.

Stabilize your injury: If you are attacked by a dog, the first and most important thing to do is to assess the extent of your injuries and seek immediate medical attention. If you are bleeding, attempt to stem the bleeding and have someone call emergency services.

Identify the dog owner: If you are bitten, it is critical to determine who owned the dog. This can be difficult as seeking medical attention should be your first priority. But once you have stabilized your injury, you or someone with you should attempt to identify the owner of the dog, including the name and address of the owner.

Gather information: If possible take pictures of the dog and if there are witnesses present attempt to get their contact information as well. In addition take down any other relevant information including the time and place where the incident occurred.

Document where the dog bite took place: If at or near a homeowner’s residence many insurance policies will provide coverage for the incident. If the incident happens in an apartment complex and the owner of the dog lives in the building, it is sometimes possible that the owner of the building can be held liable, since he has a responsibility to control what happens on the premises. This may be the case if it can be proven that the property owner knew about the vicious dog but did nothing to have it removed.

Report the attack to Animal Control: All dog bites should be reported to Animal Control, who will investigate the attack and determine if the dog is a danger to the community. They will also work with your medical providers to determine if the dog has rabies.

Since 1995, attorney Eric E. Castelblanco has been dedicated to helping tenants understand and assert their rights. For more information about your rights, call 213-388-6004 or visit their website at: The information presented in this column is for educational purposes only. You should seek the advice of an attorney regarding your individual situation.