Many of us are dog owners. We love our dogs, and many of us consider them family members. They can be a source of happiness, affection, and emotional fulfillment. However, dogs are still animals, and occasionally, they attack. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), over 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs yearly. Because of their powerful jaws and sharp teeth, dogs can cause severe lifelong injuries.
If you or a loved one has suffered dog bite injuries, you need a knowledgeable and aggressive Columbus dog bite Lawyer on your side. The skilled team of dog bite injury lawyers at Slater & Zurz has over 100 years of collective experience fighting for the rights of dog bite injury victims. We have in-depth knowledge of Ohio’s dog bite laws and strategies to get our client’s maximum compensation for their losses. We welcome you to contact our firm to schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled lawyers, where we will discuss your situation and explain your rights and legal options.
Ohio Dog Bite Laws
Ohio Revised Code 955.28(B) states that the dog’s “owner, keeper, or harborer” is liable for any injuries or losses caused by the animal. This statute does not apply only to dog bites. It also applies to other injuries caused by a dog. For instance, if you are knocked down by a large dog and sustain injuries, you can still seek compensation from the owner under ORC 955.28(B).
Ohio’s dog bite law is a strict liability statute, which means the injured victim does not have to prove the dog’s owner acted negligently nor must they show the dog had a history of aggression.
There are, however, some exceptions to the state’s strict liability dog bite law. If the injured party was engaging in any of the following, the dog’s owner, keeper, or harborer will likely not be held liable for damages.
- The injured party was provoking the animal by teasing, tormenting, or abusing it in some way. If the victim provoked the animal, whether the provocation was intentional or unintentional, the dog owner will generally not be liable.
- The dog attack victim was illegally trespassing on the dog owner, keeper, or harborer’s property.
- The injured party was committing or attempting to commit a crime at the time of the attack.
Compensation for Your Dog Bite Injuries
Dog attacks can lead to severe, debilitating injuries. In many cases, the victim is left with permanent scarring or disability. Common examples of dog bite injuries include:
- Puncture wounds
- Lacerations and abrasions
- Eye injuries
- Facial injuries
- Head and neck injuries
- Tissue damage
- Nerve damage
- Lingering emotional trauma
If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries due to a dog bite or mauling, you have the right to pursue compensation for your losses. Though the details of every Columbus dog attack case is different, you may be entitled to recover some or all of the following damages:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Costs for reconstructive surgery
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Lost quality of life
- Wrongful death
As one of Ohio’s top dog bite injury law firms, the dog bite lawyers at Slater & Zurz know the ins and outs of dog attack cases. We know precisely what needs to be shown to obtain maximum compensation on your behalf. Our dog bite lawyers will properly assess the full extent of your losses and fight aggressively to get you the compensation and justice you deserve.
What to Do After a Columbus Dog Bite Attack
Immediately following a dog attack, the scene can be chaotic. You are likely in a significant amount of pain and in shock over what just took place. However, to protect yourself both physically and legally, follow this list of what to do after a dog attack.
- Seek immediate medical attention – Dog bites can be very serious. Even seemingly minor wounds can lead to serious, life-threatening infections and permanent scarring. Whether your wounds appear minor or severe, it is always best to have a thorough examination from a qualified medical professional. They can ensure the wounds are properly cleaned and, if necessary, stitched up. Prompt treatment and care can help prevent or reduce any scarring or chance of infection. It is also crucial to follow your doctor’s instructions once you return home.
- Identify the dog owner and obtain their information – Once you have located the owner, obtain their name, address, and phone number. If available, it is also crucial to get the animal’s vaccination records. If you cannot obtain the records, ask for the name and number of the dog’s veterinarian. Contact the dog’s vet to see if the animal’s vaccinations are up-to-date. If they aren’t, notify your doctor so you can be tested for infectious diseases like rabies.
- Get the contact information and statement from any eyewitnesses – If anyone was present during the dog attack, get their contact information. Getting a written account of what they say is a good idea.
- Report the dog bite incident – In Ohio, you or anyone with knowledge of a dog attack must report the incident within 24 hours. The dog bite incident report will need to be filed with your local health commissioner. In Columbus, contact Columbus Public Health for more information on how to file. For other health districts within Ohio, you can visit Ohio.gov. After the report is filed, a rabies exposure risk assessment will be performed, and the dog will be quarantined for a minimum of ten days.
- Document what happened – After you have been treated by a doctor and obtained the dog owner’s contact information and any eyewitness, you can begin to document what happened. This includes taking photos and videos of where the dog attack took place as well as pictures of your injuries. Write in detail everything you remember about the incident and include any statements made by the dog owner or third parties. We also recommend taking photos of your wounds throughout the healing process and saving all medical bills and treatment plans pertaining to your injuries.
- Speak to an experienced Columbus dog bite lawyer – Medical bills stemming from a dog bite injury can add up quickly. To ensure your right to financial compensation for your injuries, contact a lawyer with extensive experience handling dog bite cases. He or she will explain your options, protect your best interests, and develop a course of action toward obtaining maximum recovery.
Get Expert Legal Advice from a Columbus Dog Bite Lawyer
At Slater & Zurz, we understand how serious dog bite injuries can lead to lifelong consequences for the victim. That is why we fight with everything we have to bring justice to dog bite injury victims and their families.
If you or a loved one was attacked by a dog and sustained serious injuries, we urge you to contact our top-rated Columbus personal injury lawyers. Our dog bite lawyers will ensure you receive the medical treatment you need, offer our guidance and support throughout the legal process, and fight aggressively to get you the compensation you are entitled to. In Ohio, dog bite victims have six years to take legal action. However, it is best to act quickly to maximize your chances of obtaining full compensation. Get started today by calling the Ohio-based law firm of Slater & Zurz at (614)756-2714 or contacting us online.