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Treating a Dog Bite Injury

How to Treat a Dog Bite Injury and File for Compensation

A dog bite can be emotionally traumatizing and can also cause severe physical injuries. If you or a loved one were bitten by a dog, you must address the injury immediately in order to minimize any risk of an infection. When it comes to minor dog bites, you might be able to treat the injury yourself using basic first aid. More severe bites will require medical treatment in a hospital.


Below, our experienced dog bite attorneys will discuss basic first aid options following a dog bite. These suggestions are not meant to replace medical treatment. If you have suffered a dog bite, West Coast Trial Lawyers is always here to answer any questions you may have about dog bite claims and available damages.

First Aid

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The severity and seriousness of a dog bite will determine what first aid option is best for you. If the bite did not break the skin, you can just wash the affected area with soap and warm water. It is also recommended to use antibacterial lotion on the wound as an additional precaution.

On the other hand, if the bite did break, thoroughly wash the affected area using warm water and soap. Then, very gently apply pressure on the wound, which will release a small amount of blood. This will help to flush out any germs that may cause an infection.

A bite that is already bleeding can be treated by applying a clean piece of cloth to the affected area and using light pressure to stop the bleeding. Again, please apply a generous amount of antibacterial lotion and use a sterile bandage to cover up the wound.

Regardless of whether your bite was minor or severe, you must monitor it regularly to check for any signs of infection until the wound has healed completely. Signs to check for include redness, swelling, and tenderness. You should see a doctor immediately if your wound becomes painful, worsens in any way, or if you develop a fever.

Investigate the Dog’s Vaccination History

It’s crucial to find out whether that dog was inoculated against rabies. You should ask the dog owner for their dog’s vaccination history. Also, make sure to get the owner’s name and phone number.

If you were bitten by a stray or a dog that escaped its owner, check to see if there are any available witnesses who may recognize the dog or who may know where its owner lives

Available Damages

Accidents happen. If you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Below is a brief explanation of damages. Damages are a type of monetary award that is determined by a court of law to help compensate an aggrieved individual for any losses or injuries sustained as a result of someone’s negligence.

Economic Damages
Economic damages are intended to compensate a plaintiff for losses that a dollar amount can readily be attached to. Economic damages are calculated by determining the amount of out-of-pocket losses an aggrieved individual has or will expect to incur as a result of their injuries.
A few examples of economic losses include:

  • Loss of Earning Capacity
  • Medical Bills
  • Lost Wages

Non-Economic Damages
Non-economic damages are essentially intended to cover losses that are thought of as subjective and will not necessarily cover out-of-pocket losses. Non-economic damages may include compensation for:

  • Emotional Distress
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life

Punitive Damages
The third type of damages a California court may award are known as punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended as punishment and are only awarded when a defendant’s behavior is especially harmful. Punitive damages are relatively rare and in fact were only incorporated in 5 percent of all verdicts.

Furthermore, there is no real set standard for calculating and awarding punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded at the court’s discretion and will vary depending on the specific circumstances of a case.

Limitations for Damages in California 
For the most part, there is no real cap on compensatory damages following a personal injury claim. This means that courts are able to award any amount they feel is appropriate and reasonable.

However, the only exception is regarding medical malpractice cases. In these cases, the limit for pain and suffering and other non-economic losses is $250,000.

West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Here to Help 

If you are a dog bite victim and need help getting legal advice, West Coast Trial Lawyers has skilled dog bite attorneys that will help you recover financial compensation for the losses you have suffered, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. We offer a free, no-obligation consultation at our firm. No fees are paid until your case is settled. Reach out to our legal team 24/7 by calling (213) 927-3700 or emailing [email protected].


If you have been injured in an accident, you can count on the legal team at West Coast Trial Lawyers to fight for your rights every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation with a personal injury attorney.
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