Dog bites remain a serious problem in Ohio. According to the Ohio Department of Health, there were 4,760 reported dog bites in Ohio in 2020, with 607 occurring in the central Ohio region, including Circleville. Most dog bite victims are children under the age of 10, and the injuries sustained can range from minor scratches and bruises to severe lacerations, disfigurement, and even death.
In Ohio, a dog owner is strictly liable for any injuries caused by their dog, regardless of whether the dog has a history of aggression. This means that if you can prove that the dog bite occurred and that you suffered damages as a result, you have a valid legal claim. The dog bite attorneys at Kruger & Hodges, with offices in Circleville and throughout Southern Ohio, understand the devastating physical and emotional effects a dog bite can have on a victim and their family. They are dedicated to helping their clients recover the compensation they deserve.
Preventing Dog Bites
Preventing dog bites is an important part of keeping our communities safe. The attorneys at Kruger & Hodges recommend that dog owners take the following steps to reduce the risk of their dogs biting:
- Socialize your dog: Socializing it from a young age can help reduce its fear and anxiety around other people and animals. This can reduce the likelihood of your dog becoming aggressive or biting.
- Train your dog: Basic obedience training can help your dog learn appropriate behavior and reduce the likelihood of it biting out of fear or aggression.
- Spay or neuter your dog: Spayed or neutered dogs are less likely to bite, as they are less aggressive and territorial.
- Supervise your dog: Never leave your dog unsupervised with children or other animals. Keep your dog on a leash in public, and ensure it is adequately contained within your home or yard.
- Understand your dog’s body language: Learn to recognize the signs that your dog may be anxious or aggressive, such as growling, baring its teeth, or stiffening its body. If you notice these signs, remove your dog from the situation immediately.
What to Do After Being Bitten by a Dog
If you have been bitten by a dog, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. Even if the bite appears minor, it can still become infected, leading to serious complications. After receiving medical attention, you should report the incident to your local animal control agency or police department. This will ensure the dog is properly quarantined and a report is filed. You should also contact the experienced dog bite attorneys at Kruger & Hodges to ensure your legal rights are protected.
If you are considering pursuing a legal claim for a dog bite injury, it is important to understand how to evaluate whether you have a legal claim. In Ohio, a dog owner is strictly liable for any injuries caused by their dog, regardless of whether the dog has a history of aggression. This means that if you can prove that the dog bite occurred and that you suffered damages as a result, you may have a valid legal claim.
Lasting Effects of Dog Bites
Ohio law defines injuries resulting from a dog bite in six levels:
- Level 1: Injury resulting in no visible sign of skin damage or broken bones.
- Level 2: Injury resulting in skin damage or superficial scratches, bites, or abrasions.
- Level 3: Injury resulting in one to two puncture wounds deeper than the length of the dog’s tooth. The injury is not considered serious and not life-threatening.
- Level 4: Injury resulting in multiple puncture wounds deeper than the length of the dog’s tooth or multiple bites in depth.
- Level 5: Injury resulting in multiple severe bites that could result in permanent scarring, disfigurement, or limb loss.
- Level 6: Injury resulting in death.
- These dog bites can have a wide range of effects on the victim, ranging from minor injuries to severe and life-threatening wounds. Some common effects of dog bites include:
- Physical injuries: Dog bites can result in a range of physical injuries, including puncture wounds, lacerations, bruising, broken bones, and nerve damage. In some cases, victims may require surgery to repair the damage caused by the bite.
- Infections: Even minor dog bites can lead to serious infections, such as tetanus, MRSA, and sepsis. These infections can be life-threatening if not treated promptly.
- Emotional trauma: Dog bites can cause significant emotional trauma, particularly for children. Victims may experience fear, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to the attack.
- Scarring and disfigurement: Dog bites can leave permanent scars and disfigurement, particularly if the victim is bitten on the face, hands, or feet.
- Loss of income: Victims may be unable to work or perform their usual job duties due to their injuries, leading to a loss of income and financial hardship.
- Medical expenses: The cost of medical treatment for dog bite injuries can be significant, particularly if the victim requires surgery, hospitalization, or ongoing care.
Dog bite victims must seek medical attention immediately after an attack to minimize the risk of infection and ensure that their injuries are properly treated. Victims should also consider contacting an experienced dog bite attorney to help them recover compensation for their injuries and other damages.
How Kruger & Hodges Will Help
Dog bites can leave lasting trauma, both emotionally and physically. And too often, owners of dangerous dogs create difficulties for the victims to receive compensation. Contact the experienced dog bite attorneys at Kruger & Hodges’ Circleville, OH offices today to ensure you can pursue the compensation you are entitled to.