Each year, countless children and adults in Ohio perform routine activities like visiting a loved one or taking a walk. By the end of this trip, however, they end up the victims of dog bites. Following a dog attack, victims often are left feeling scared and powerless, but it can help to remember that the animal’s owner or controller can be held accountable for your losses.
Not only does this result in compensation for victims, but it helps to prevent the dog from hurting anyone else in the future.
The Alarming Statistics Behind Dog Bites
Many times, dogs bite humans when they are protecting a possession or their resting place. Dogs can also respond aggressively if they are frightened, injured, startled, or sick.
Given that so many factors can cause dogs to attack humans, it might not come as a surprise to learn how frequently dog attacks occur. One 2010 study by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reported that:
316,200 emergency visits in 2008 involved dog bites
The average costs of hospital stays associated with dog bites were $18,200
Approximately 75% of dog bite-related visits were for patients 44 years of age and younger
There were three times as many dog bite-related hospital stays in rural as opposed to urban areas
Wound Staging After Ohio Dog Attacks
The Centers for Disease Control report that in 2015, approximately 4.5 million dog bite cases occurred. Approximately one out of every five dog bites results in an infection.
The National Center for Biotechnology Information breaks down wounds into the following stages:
Stage I involve a superficial injury that has not gone deep enough to impact a person’s muscles. While these wounds are the least serious, they can still become infected if a person does not receive proper medical care.
Stage II is characterized by deep wounds that impact the muscles. Injuries in this category are often more painful and frequently require medical attention.
Stage III involves a severe wound that impacts the muscles and involves either tissue loss or tissue necrosis.
Stage IV-A involves wounds that impact a person’s muscle, tissues, and nerves. Nerve damage can result in the loss of sensation in the impacted area and some cases can even result in the loss of entire limbs.
Stage IV-B is characterized by injuries that impact a person’s muscle, soft tissue, nerves, and bones. Dog bites that reach down to the bones are serious and frequently result in life-changing impairments.
Pursuing Compensation After an Ohio Dog Attack
Dog bite victims in Ohio have several methods to pursue compensation against the party responsible for their attack. Under a strict liability theory, the owner or handler of the dog is responsible for the attack regardless of what precautions they might have taken to reduce the risk of such a situation.
Victims who are in any way responsible for the attack, however, cannot pursue compensation under this theory. This means that a victim will be barred from pursuing compensation if he or she was trespassing or provoked the dog in any way. Even if a victim is partially responsible, however, it is still possible to pursue compensation under a theory of negligence.
Recognizing the Warning Signs of a Dog Attack
While it might sound like trite advice, one of the best things people can do to respond to dog attacks is to understand the warning signs that suggest such a situation is imminent. Although it is not possible in every situation, some of the warning signs that a dog is about to attack include the following:
The dog will get up and move away or turn its head.
The dog will look at you with a pleading expression that reveals the whites of the animal’s eyes.
A dog will yawn or lick its hind legs while you are approaching.
The dog will suddenly begin to bite, lick, or scratch himself.
The Statute of Limitations for Ross Township Dog Attacks
A “statute of limitations” refers to the period of time that a person has in which to pursue a dog bite lawsuit. If a person files a claim outside of this window of time, he or she will most likely be prohibited from ever pursuing compensation for the attack in a court of law.
The statute of limitations for strict liability dog bite lawsuits in Ohio is six years for adults. For children, there is a six-year window that begins running when they turn 18. This window is reduced to two years for negligence lawsuits. By waiting, a dog bite victim can greatly jeopardize his or her chances of bringing a successful case.
Do Not Hesitate to Speak with a Ross Township Dog Bite Lawyer
At Kruger & Hodges, we understand just how challenging the aftermath of a dog bite can be. That is why we focus on providing victims with the best possible legal representation. Contact our law office today to schedule a free case evaluation with a dog bite attorney serving Ross Township, Ohio.