Dog attacks and bites often have traumatic outcomes. Victims can have disfiguring, life-long injuries and they may experience overwhelming emotional distress. As painful as this could be for any person, it can be especially devastating when the victim is a child.
Unfortunately, children are especially vulnerable to dog bites because of their size and youthfulness, so it is typically up to parents to take action to protect a child after a dog bite or attack in New Jersey. The following are steps you can take to do this.
- Get medical attention immediately. Even if a bite seems minor or you think that a little first aid treatment will suffice, you should still take your child to the hospital. Doctors can ensure a victim receives proper care. They can also determine whether there is more damage than you thought and test for possible illnesses like rabies.
- Notify the authorities. Animal bites are a community concern, and you should notify animal control after a dog bite incident. Doing so allows them to decide how best to proceed to protect others in the area from a similar attack. It also creates a record showing the animal has a history of unprovoked attacks.
- Consider the legal remedies available. Again, dog bite victims often experience traumatic, life-changing injuries, from facial scarring to a fear of leaving the house. These damages can require extensive medical care, rehabilitation and counseling, all of which costs money. Per New Jersey’s strict liability statutes, dog owners are responsible for any injury caused by a dog to someone lawfully in a public or private place. Thus, a civil lawsuit can allow victims and their families to recover financial damages to cover things like medical bills and emotional distress.
Children should be able to play outside and visit friends without the fear of being attacked by a dog. To keep them safe, parents should teach children not to provoke dogs and how they can identify a dog that may be dangerous.
However, dogs can be highly unpredictable, and bites can happen despite our best efforts. Knowing how to respond can make it easier for parents to protect their children.