Montgomery, OH Dog Bite Attorney
Dog bite injuries are pretty common in Ohio and all over the United States. According to the Ohio Department of Health, the department investigates at least 20,000 animal bite and exposure incidents every year. If you or your loved one has been attacked and injured by a dog, consider speaking with an experienced dog bite attorney from N.P. Law.
Our injury law firm is located in Montgomery, Ohio, but we serve clients all over the state, including Kentucky. Call us today for a case evaluation. We might be able to help.
How the Dog Bite Claims Process Works
You have up to 24 hours to file a report with the local health commissioner if you have been injured by a dog in Ohio. The local health commissioner’s office will investigate the incident when you file a report. Their findings could come in handy when seeking compensation for your injuries.
When attacked by a dog in Ohio, the first and most important thing to do is seek medical attention. Your doctor will examine your injuries and provide the required treatment. This helps prevent serious infections. The doctor will then write a report detailing the kind of injuries suffered and the treatment provided or recommended. In addition, your doctor can help you file a report with the local health commissioner so you won’t have to.
When you take more than 24 hours to report a dog bite incident in Ohio, it is even more difficult to file a claim. The negligent party could argue that their dog was not responsible for your injuries, hence the delay in reporting the incident. The legal aspect aside, it is also advisable to report the injury immediately for health reasons.
Dog saliva carries many different bacteria that could cause serious infections. Therefore, you want that taken care of immediately to prevent the risk of infection, which could lead to serious problems such as amputation, paralysis, and permanent disfigurement, among others.
It is also advisable to consult an experienced dog bite attorney even as you continue to receive treatment for your injuries. The attorney will evaluate the incident to determine whether you have a case against the dog owner. If established that the dog owner acted negligently, which led to the attack, the attorney will then help build a case against the negligent party.
It is important to note that dog bite victims have a deadline to file a claim with the other party in Ohio. Be sure to inquire about this deadline and discuss with an experienced attorney. Attorneys need time to build a strong case against the other party, and that is why it is always advisable to report such incidents as soon as possible.
Dog bite cases are complicated. However, unlike most personal injury cases, dog owners usually have different legal defenses they can take advantage of following a dog bite incident. Here are a few examples:
The dog owner could claim that the victim provoked the dog. In that case, the court could rule that the victim’s actions led to the dog’s reaction, denying them a chance to recover compensation for their injuries.
The dog owner could also argue that the victim was trespassing when their dog attacked them. And if they can prove the trespassing allegation, the dog bite victim might be denied compensation for their injuries.
The victim’s actions before the dog bite could also come into play when identifying the at-fault party in such an incident. For example, if the victim was committing a crime at the time of the attack, the defense could use this to free themselves from liability.
What Damages Can Be Recovered After Being Bitten By a Dog?
After being bitten by a dog, you may be able to recover the following damages:
This includes but is not limited to eye injuries, muscle damage, broken bones, soft tissue damage, etc. However, if you suffered severe injuries, you may also be able to recover the cost of ambulance service, surgery, hospitalization, therapy, doctor bills, etc.
Lost Wages and Income
Some of these injuries might take several weeks or months to heal. As a result, you may not be able to go to work or run your business if you’re self-employed. An experienced dog bite attorney can help you recover lost wages. All you will need to provide is proof of your past income or business financial statements.
You can also claim a loss of earning potential. For example, if you lost an important career or business opportunity due to the injuries sustained after the dog bite incident, you could include this aspect in your claim. Your attorney will argue that you could have secured the opportunity had you not been injured following the dog bite incident.
Pain and Suffering
Pain comes in different forms after a dog bite incident. To begin with, the incident itself is painful. Then, depending on the severity of the injuries, you may require surgery, which is also painful. The same applies if you need physical therapy, invasive treatment procedures, etc. If you suffered permanent disfigurement after the incident, this also falls under pain and suffering when filing a personal injury claim with the other party.
You may also be eligible for compensation if the dog bite incident led to damage to your property. For example, suppose you were carrying a T.V. while moving into your new apartment and then got attacked by your neighbor’s dog. In that case, if you dropped the T.V. and it broke while you attempted to free yourself from the dog, this could count as property damage.
The same applies to your clothing, including shoes. If you were cycling at the time of the attack and your bicycle got damaged, you may be able to file a property damage claim for that as well.
Most people are never the same – emotionally – after being attacked by a dog. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is one of the most common effects of a dog bite incident. Most people live with a permanent fear of dogs after such accidents. As a result, they may need to undergo counseling and therapy to overcome this fear or learn how to live with it.
Loss of Enjoyment of Life
If the victim of the dog bite incident suffers severe injuries, they may be able to file a loss of enjoyment of life claim. This usually happens if the injury prevents them from doing things they used to enjoy doing. For example, after surgery, such individuals might spend many weeks or months recovering from their injuries, hence no time to go out to the park every weekend as they used to before the incident.
The court might award punitive damages to the injury victim if they conclude that the dog owner acted extremely negligently, causing the attack on the victim. Punitive damages are usually meant to ‘teach the owner a lesson’, preventing them from repeating the same mistake in the future.
Typical Injuries After a Dog Attack
Dog attacks usually cause different types of injuries. Examples include:
- Nerve damage
- Head and neck injuries
- Facial injuries
- Puncture wounds
- Broken bones
- Permanent scars
It is also important to note that a dog’s saliva carries different types of bacteria. While most are not harmful, some are. For instance, the bacteria Capnocytophaga canimorsus is common in dog saliva. According to multiple reports, this saliva can cause serious infections and even death when it gets into the human bloodstream.
Who Is Liable for Injuries in a Dog Attack?
In Ohio, dog owners are ‘strictly liable’ for damages or injuries caused by a dog attack. In layman’s terms, the court can find the dog owner liable for the attack even without a finding of ‘fault.’ Therefore, the victim does not need to prove the dog owner’s negligence.
Dogs are considered a public safety threat in Ohio. For this reason, it is the dog owner’s responsibility to ensure that their dogs do not attack other people.
Dog bite victims can also sue the landlord of the property on the grounds that they knew about the dangerous dog and had the power to order the tenant to get rid of the dog or move out. However, for such a lawsuit to be successful, the injury victim must prove that the landlord had actual knowledge of the dangerous dog and had the power to remove the dog.
Do I Need an Attorney if I Got Bit by a Dog?
Yes, you need an attorney. As mentioned before, dog bite cases are complicated. Even though Ohio practices strict liability laws regarding dog bites, the defense still has other possible defenses to use against the plaintiff. An experienced dog bite attorney can prepare a strong case against the defense and fight for your rights.
Did a Dog Bite You in Ohio or Kentucky? Our Dog Bite Lawyers Can Help!
Our law firm can help you get the compensation you need and deserve after the dog attack. Call us today to talk to a seasoned dog bite attorney.