Dog attacks occur suddenly and can leave victims with serious wounds that require extensive medical treatment. While it might be difficult to determine how to proceed, dog bite victims should remember that they have the right to pursue compensation. The help of an experienced Ohio dog bite lawyer can be the difference between receiving the compensation you need to recover and receiving nothing at all.
Dog bites present substantial health dangers to victims. For one reason, a variety of deadly bacteria are located in both the mouths of dogs as well as in their saliva. The Centers for Disease Control reports that some of the most common risks associated with dog bites include rabies, MRSA, tetanus, and other life-threatening diseases.
To make matters worse, the Insurance Information Institute ranks Ohio as seventh in the country for the highest number of dog bites each year. Additionally, dog bites often leave victims facing substantial medical bills, lost wages, and various other costs.
The way that Ohio dog bite laws impact a victim’s claim depends on the circumstances surrounding an attack. If a dog causes you or someone else to suffer injuries, the animal’s owner is often liable for your injuries as well as the resulting costs like medical bills.
This theory of “strict liability” holds true regardless of whether the owner acted negligently or even knew that the animal was dangerous. If a victim provoked the dog, was trespassing at the time of the attack, or committed any other type of criminal offense at the time, however, the victim will be barred from obtaining compensation under strict liability.
If a dog bite victim is not able to pursue a strict liability claim, he or she still might be able to pursue a negligence lawsuit against the dog’s owner provided that the owner or controller was aware the animal was dangerous to others. If the animal had previously displayed a dangerous or vicious nature, the animal’s owner and handlers are obligated to adequately contain the animal and to warn others about the animal.
When victims are injured by dogs, the dogs’ owners are often liable for all of the resulting damages, which can include medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, as well as various other damages.
Sometimes, victims also can pursue compensation for decreased earning capacity, lost enjoyment of life, and disfigurement or scarring caused by the accident.
A “statute of limitations” refers to the window of time that a person has in which to pursue legal action. If a person tries to initiate a case in a court of law once this period of time has passed, that person will be barred from pursuing a claim.
In Ohio, the statute of limitations for dog attacks changes based on whether a person wants to pursue a strict liability or negligence lawsuit. In the case of strict liability lawsuits, dog attack victims in Ohio have six years in which to pursue a case. For dog attack cases involving negligence, however, a person has two years in which to pursue a lawsuit.
If you or a loved one is attacked by a dog, your first response should focus on your health and well-being. If necessary to defend yourself, realize that Ohio law protects your liability if you harm or kill the animal while attempting to escape the scene of the attack. After getting to a safe area, you should focus on receiving medical care because dog attacks left untreated can result in serious complications. You should promptly go to either the emergency room or to see your physician.
Provided that you have time and feel safe doing so, you should obtain the name and address of the person who owns the dog. If you are not able to obtain contact information for the dog’s owner at the time, it can help to take photographs of the scene. After you have received medical care, you should contact the local animal control office to report the dog. This is a particularly critical step if the animal was loose or a stray because these officials can help to make sure that the dog does not hurt anyone else.
Dog attacks can leave victims feeling overwhelmed and uncertain about how to proceed. Fortunately, a dog bite attorney can fight for the results you deserve. Contact Kruger & Hodges today to speak with a dog bite lawyer in Liberty Township, Ohio.