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Service Dog Bite Personal Injury Laws

What to Do When a Service Dog Bites You

For centuries, man’s best friend has been trained to assist humans in a myriad of different ways ranging from protecting property to collecting livestock. However, in more recent times, the concept of a service dog has blended into mainstream society and become a familiar staple in many American homes. In fact, according to a government study, there are approximately 500,000 registered service dogs helping people with disabilities in the United States.  

In California, a person with a disability is allowed to possess and carry a trained service or psychiatric dog into most public areas. However, just because the dog is trained to perform a duty, does not mean that it can’t misinterpret a command or act inappropriately all together. If you are bitten by a service dog, be sure to contact our dog bite attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers to get started on the process of filing a personal injury claim.

To schedule a free consultation, please contact our 24/7 legal team by calling (213) 927-3700 or filling out our quick contact form.

What Is a Service Dog? 

It is a well-known fact that dogs have been useful in treating both physical and mental disabilities in humans. For years, dogs have been assigned duties, such as guiding the blind and even soothing symptoms of depression. The Americans with Disability Act differentiates between the types of jobs given to a dog and separates them into several categories. 

Service Dogs. Psychiatric service dogs are responsible for aiding the physically disabled. Service dogs are specifically trained to perform tasks that are atypical to the tasks normally performed by pets. These tasks include activities, such as leading the blind, bringing attention to noises, assisting with mobility issues, and even sensing diabetic or seizure dangers. Service dogs are required to be certified by the Americans with Disabilities Act, which exempts these animals from certain restrictions, such as housing bans. Service dogs are used to help people with both mental and physical limitations. 

Emotional Support Animal. While emotional support animals are providing a service, they are given a different set of rules. Mostly, emotional support animals are assigned to their owners as part of a treatment plan. Emotional support dogs are not required to undergo any specific training as they do not help individuals with daily duties and are only used as comfort tools. These animals do not have the same level of liberties as support dogs do and are only allowed in planes for travel and home that normally have heavy pet restrictions.

Federal Laws About Service Dogs 

Service dogs are excused from public restrictions on animals, which means that they can legally be where other animals are prohibited. This includes on planes and in homes where landlords have rules against them. 

If You Are Bitten by a Service Dog

Support dogs are treated like other dogs under dog bite statutes. Service dogs are not, and they enjoy more protection under the American with Disabilities Act. This means that if a service dog bites someone, the injured party may not have legal recourse. If a support dog bites someone, on the other hand, that injured individual can take legal action provided that he or she can prove the dog’s owner knew the dog was dangerous, the owner should have known the dog was dangerous, or the dog has already been deemed dangerous. 

In addition to these obvious issues, a service dog that is approached by a poorly behaved dog may feel threatened or want to protect their handler. Therefore, it’s always best to leave your dog at home when they are not allowed in the public place rather than claim he or she is a service animal.

What to Do When a Dog Bites You

The steps you take after you are bitten by a dog can affect your dog bite lawsuit. Listed below are a few considerations to take after a dog has bitten you so that you can prevent further damage or infection. 

  1. Put pressure on the wound. 
  2. Wash the wound. 
  3. Apply a clean cloth to slow the bleeding. 
  4. Apply an antibiotic cream. 
  5. Wrap the wound with a sterile bandage. 
  6. See a doctor if the wound continues to bleed. 
  7. Watch for signs of infection. 

Contact West Coast Trial Lawyers Today

If you have sustained injuries as a result of a dog bite, our expert dog bite attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers can help you recover compensation for the losses you have suffered, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

Contact us today by calling (213) 927-3700 or filling out our quick contact form to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring, and compassionate legal team.

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