My Child Was Bitten By My Neighbor’s Dog. What Do I Do? Even though dogs are considered man’s best friend, there are still times when a poorly trained dog or a negligent dog owner allows victims to be bitten. Depending on the type of dog, a bite can lead to serious injury and sometimes even death.
According to a 16-year data set, 568 Americans were killed by dog bites between January 1, 2005, to December 31, 2020. Of those deaths, a significant portion (33%) were children under the age of nine years. Additionally, according to the American Humane Association, 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs, and 800,000 of them are serious enough to warrant medical care.
In the list of top five states for most fatal dog bites, Ohio makes the list at number five.
Just a few hours away from Eaton, in North Olmsted, authorities were trying to get a handle on a pack of roving dogs that bit three residents and a police officer. This happened in May of 2021. These dogs were not wild animals; in fact, the owner was located and charged with five counts of “dogs running at large.”
The personal injury attorneys at Kruger & Hodges in Eaton, OH, know just how traumatizing a dog bite can be, especially for a child. Not only can a dog bite lead to serious injury or death, but it will also likely traumatize the child and leave them with some level of PTSD.
According to a 13-year study performed between 2005 and 2017, Pitbulls made up for approximately 65.6% of reported dog bites. Rottweilers came in second place at approximately 10.4%.
If your child has been bitten by a neighbor’s dog or otherwise attacked, we strongly advise you to take them to an urgent care center. The likelihood of an infection from a dog bite is quite high. This is due to the fact that the dog’s teeth can place bacteria from their mouths deep into the victim’s tissue. For more serious dog bites, broken bones and profuse bleeding may require immediate medical attention.
After getting medical care, it is important that you contact the police and local animal control officers. Although you have a two-year statute of limitations for a strict liability case, meaning that you are able to bring a lawsuit within a two-year timeframe but not after, it is better to act on these incidents sooner rather than later.
Over time, evidence can degrade, witnesses and the owner can move, and it will become more challenging to prove your case. Therefore, after your child gets medical care, be sure to contact the authorities as soon as possible.
If possible, you should try to acquire the dog owner’s contact and insurance information. Of course, do not put yourself at risk if the dog is still present or the owner is aggressive; instead, inform the police of the challenge and then request a copy of their report after they have acquired that information.
Make sure to take photographs of the injuries, location, and dog, if possible. Police and animal control will likely respond long after you have taken your child to urgent care. The scene and the evidence may change during that time. Therefore, if it’s safe and possible to do so, try documenting the scene and the injuries with photographs.
In Ohio, there is a legal concept called strict liability. This means that the victim of the dog bite won’t have to prove to the court that the owner of the dog was negligent. Instead, they must only prove that the owner does, in fact, own the dog. The owner of the dog is strictly liable for any injury, death, or damage to property caused by the dog.
The only exceptions to this rule are if the victim was trespassing or committing other criminal activities on the dog owner’s property, or if the victim was teasing, tormenting, or abusing the dog.
The attorneys at Kruger & Hodges have experience in handling personal injury cases, and that includes dog bites. We know how to gather the evidence and submit a case on your behalf to ensure your child is rightfully compensated for the injury they sustained.
If your child, or any other family member, has been injured as a result of a dog bite, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the attorneys in our Eaton, OH, office for a free consultation. We will be happy to walk you through the process and explain your options.