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What to Do When a Bicyclist Is Attacked by a Dog

Bike riding is an activity that brings riders feelings of euphoria, releases stress, and is overall good for the body. However, bike riders are faced with many challenges that can inhibit their peace when they are out on the road, including the threat of being bitten by a dog. Below, our expert team of dog bite injury attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers break down the legal implications of getting bit by a dog when riding a bike.

Bike Riding and Attracting Dogs 

Both domesticated and undomesticated dogs have the instinct to chase down a person, animal, or object that they believe will cause harm onto them or to those that they are willing to protect from any potential threats. If a dog notices something they are unfamiliar with, such as a bicycle, they may feel the urge to go after it.

What to Do When a Bicyclist Is Attacked by a Dog

Pedestrian Deaths in Los Angeles

When a bicyclist gets attacked by a dog, it’s important to stay calm, but act quickly to decipher the situation. Here are some helpful steps one should follow if they are involved in a bicyclist accident involving a dog.

  • Get the dog off and away from the bicyclist. Attempting to pull the dog away from the bicyclist can be difficult, especially if the dog is large and powerful. All parties involved should do their part to assist the bicyclist. The bicyclist should try to create a barrier by  using their bike to protect themself and push the dog away. The dog owner should be able to get their dog and control its behavior. It is important not to shout or look directly into the dogs eyes, as this can make them feel more compelled to attack.
  • Call 911 for emergency services and immediate medical assistance, if necessary. Someone at the scene of the accident should call 911 if the bicyclist isn’t physically capable of doing it themself. The police will arrive at the scene of the incident and file an official police report. Paramedics may also be present to provide immediate medical attention, if needed. If the dog bite did minimal damage, police assistance is not required. Instead, the victim should make a visit to the doctor’s office to get their wound checked by a medical professional for any infections.
  • Call animal control to report the dog. Animal control will arrive on-site to help de-escalate the situation and assess the dog’s behavior. If the attack was done by a stray dog, then it will most likely be taken to the pound.
  • Exchange information before leaving the site of the accident. It is important to acquire the dog owner’s information in order to file a lawsuit against them for injuries caused by the dog attack.
  • Gather as much evidence as possible. Take photos and videos of your injuries, damages, and the location of where the incident took place. If you notice a witness nearby, ask them for their consent to offer you their contact information. Witness testimonies will significantly help strengthen your case if you choose to file a personal injury claim.
  • Get an attorney. An experienced personal injury attorney in bike accidents, dog bites, and premises law can assist you in navigating the process of building your case to file for an insurance claim and/or a lawsuit, if necessary.

Dog Owner Liability 

If you experienced a dog attack, you are given the right to file an insurance claim and/or lawsuit against the owner of the dog or the premises of which the dog bite occurred.

Private Property. Homeowners are likely to have homeowner’s insurance, which can cover for accidents that take place on their premises.

Public Property. Either the dog owner or the property owner will be held accountable for a dog attack that occurs on public property. The outcome of who is directly at-fault for the attack will differ depending on the situation. A public property owner will use their premises liability insurance to cover for any damages or injuries. If the dog owner is at-fault for allowing their dog to attack the victim, then they will have to compensate the victim for damages.

Rented Property. A landlord will be held liable for a dog attack if they were aware of the fact that the dog was dangerous and did not have it removed. If the landlord had responsibility and control over the dog during the time of the attack, they could be held liable for that reason, as well.

Tips to Wade Off Dog Attacks While Bike Riding 

Bicyclists want to enjoy their commute, leisure, or sport activity without having to worry about any potential dangers they may face while doing so. While some of these might not be the ideal solution to wading off a dog, neither is getting attacked by one. Take the following tips with you on your next bike ride, because you never know when you might encounter a dog who might attack. When you see a threatening dog heading towards you, you should:

  • Ride as quickly and as safely as you can to get away from the dog.
  • Use a commanding voice to warn the dog to get away.
  • Use an air horn to scare the dog away.
  • Use pepper spray to deflect the dog from attacking you.

Need a Personal Injury Attorney? West Coast Trial Lawyers Can Help

If you or a loved one were a victim of a dog attack while bike riding, our expert team of personal injury attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers can help you get compensation for damages caused by the dog attack, which include medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. There are no financial risks involved when you choose to use our services. No fees will be charged until your case has been settled. Call us today at (213) 927-3700 or email [email protected] to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring, and compassionate legal team.

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