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Being attacked by a dog is a frightening situation, made worse by unexpected medical bills and severe pain. Our Cincinnati dog bite lawyers at Kisling, Nestico & Redick understand how hard this is on a person and their family. So let us help you secure fair and full compensation for your dog bite injuries.
Serious Dog Bite Injuries
A nip might cause a small puncture, and you might feel like little harm was done. But dog attacks also can be severe and deadly. Large, strong dog breeds can break bones and cause disfiguring injuries. In addition, any size dog can cause an infection, which can be harmful if not properly treated.
The most recent data available from the CDC stated about 799,700 people in the U.S. required medical care for dog bites, with the highest injury rate among children.
Puncture & Soft Tissue Dog Bite Injuries
Dog teeth can cause puncture wounds and lacerations. You may need stitches, and if a dog bit you or a child in the face, you might need a plastic surgeon to reduce scarring. A dog bite can also cause harm to the soft tissue, including muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves, and more. A torn muscle, ligament, or tendon might even need surgery.
Small dog breeds are unlikely to fracture a bone. But large dogs have considerable jaw strength. As a result, an attack can lead to one or more bone fractures that require medical attention.
A study by doctors in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at UCSF Fresno found 39% of dog-bite-related emergency department visits involved an orthopedic injury.
Rabies is a rare but serious risk. Dogs get the rabies vaccine, but according to the CDC, dogs account for about 1% of all rabid animals each year. Your doctor can give you the rabies vaccine if they’re concerned about exposure.
Tetanus, also known as lockjaw, is a severe bacterial infection. The risk of tetanus from a dog bite is small because of the tetanus vaccine. The CDC reported there are about 30 cases of tetanus in the U.S. each year. But it’s essential to see a doctor and discuss your risk of infection after a bite because you may need a booster shot.
Most Pasteurella infections are the result of cat or dog bites or scratches. This bacterium can be found in about half of dog bite injuries, and up to 18% become infected. Always clean a dog bite wound well and see a doctor to reduce the risk of infection. A doctor may prescribe antibiotics.
Being attacked by a dog can cause significant psychological trauma. Depending on the severity and wounds, you might need counseling or be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. Studies have linked PTSD in children and dog bites.
What to Do After a Dog Bite in Cincinnati
- Get Medical Care
Your priority after a dog bit should be getting medical care. Animal bites can lead to serious physical injuries, and seeing a doctor ensures you reduce your risk of infection. Going to the doctor serves another purpose, too. It documents your injuries for a future claim. To recover compensation, your medical records will be necessary evidence.
- Report the Dog Bite
You may also report the dog bite to the Environmental Health Division of the Hamilton County Public Health Department. Local officials should be aware of a potentially dangerous or aggressive dog, and filing a bite report also creates a paper trail of the incident.
- Notify Insurance
If the incident happened on your property, notify your renters or homeowner’s insurance provider. Your policy might help cover the cost of your injuries.
- Document the Incident
We recommend keeping all of your paperwork in a safe place. Keep photos of the injuries, copies of your medical records, your medical bills, witnesses’ information, and any other documents you have. You’ll need this paperwork for your dog bite claim.
- Call a Dog Bite Lawyer
We also suggest calling a lawyer experienced with dog bite cases right away. One of our Cincinnati dog bite lawyers at KNR will explain the law and the next steps.
What You Should Not Do After a Dog Bite
- Don’t Admit Fault or Apologize to the Dog’s Owner: We also recommend avoiding an argument. If you can, get the dog’s owner or handler’s name and contact information, and that’s it. It’s better to hire a dog bite lawyer and let them do the talking with the insurance companies and dog owners.
- Don’t Ignore Your Injury: You might not have gone to the emergency room or a clinic right away. That’s OK, but we recommend you see a doctor within a few days of the incident. If you continue to experience pain or notice signs of an infection, go to the ER immediately. Never downplay your experience.
- Don’t try to Work Something out With the Dog Owner Privately: Dog owners often offer to pay medical bills without an insurance claim or lawsuit because it protects them. Instead, talk with a dog bite attorney about the right way to pursue a dog bite claim.
- Don’t Post About the Attack on Social Media: When you want to pursue compensation for dog bite injuries, it’s best to keep the incident and your injuries private. An insurer or dog owner can use anything you post online against you.
Ohio Dog Bites Laws
If a dog attacked you or a loved one in Cincinnati, the law might give you the right to hold the dog’s owner responsible and receive compensation.
Ohio law says a dog owner is liable for injuries their dog causes. This liability extends to anyone in charge of or taking care of the dog at the time of the attack. The law refers to a dog “owner, keeper, or harborer,” including dog walkers, dog sitters, kennels, and doggy daycares.
Can a Bite Victim Be at Fault?
To bring a successful claim, you can’t have been trespassing on private property. However, you could file a claim if you were on private property with permission, such as if the property owner invited you.
You can’t have been committing or trying to commit a crime at the time of the dog attack. For example, you might not be entitled to compensation if you were trespassing, breaking and entering, or assaulting another person.
Also, you can’t have teased, tormented, abused, or antagonized the dog. If you were antagonizing the dog somehow, you might be considered the cause of the attack. This is a common defense that dog owners use to avoid liability.
Compensation for Dog Bite Injuries
When you suffer injuries because an aggressive or violent dog attacked you, talk with a Cincinnati dog bite attorney about your options. KNR has years of experience handling dog attack claims and winning compensation for your clients.
You might be entitled to recover your:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Physical limitations
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
What If a Dog Bite’s Fatal?
Dog bite-related deaths are not common, but several occur in the U.S. each year. If your loved one died from dog bite injuries, talk with a dog attack lawyer right away. We’re highly experienced in handling dog bites and wrongful death claims in Ohio.
If you lost a spouse, child, or parent, the law might entitle you to compensation for:
- Decedent’s medical expenses incurred before death
- Loss of decedent’s wages and employment benefits
- Lost future inheritance
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of decedent’s companionship and society
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of the decedent’s services
- Your mental anguish
You have two years from the date of your loved one’s passing to file a wrongful death lawsuit. But don’t wait that long to figure out if you have a claim. Instead, it’s better to call a dog bite attorney right away.
Should I Get a Lawyer After a Dog Bite?
Yes, we highly recommend you call a Cincinnati dog bite lawyer for help. We know the legal process to win you compensation. So instead of figuring it out as you go, let us help.
We investigate who was in control of the dog at the time and gather evidence about what happened. For example, we might pursue compensation from the dog owner and another party, such as a hired dog walker or kennel.
We Handle the Insurance Claim Process
Once we identify the responsible people or businesses, we find out whether they have insurance coverage. The best way to recover compensation might be through filing an insurance claim. For example, businesses that work with animals usually have insurance. An owner’s homeowners’ or renter’s insurance policy also may cover dog bite injuries.
We File a Lawsuit
If there’s no insurance coverage or the insurer denies your claim, we might recommend filing a lawsuit. Going to court doesn’t have to be intimidating. We’ll appear in court on your behalf and guide you through the phases of litigation. Most personal injury claims settle, but we aren’t afraid to fight for your compensation at trial.
We Prove Your Injuries
We make sure you receive appropriate medical care and have everything you need to recover. We also work with you, your doctors, and, if necessary, medical experts to gather evidence of your injuries. To secure the maximum compensation possible, we have to prove the type and severity of your injuries.
Why Work with KNR after a Dog Attack
Our Cincinnati lawyers have years of experience handling dog bite claims. We know these cases often involve heightened emotions. Dog owners want to protect and defend their pets. Victims often feel betrayed and angry at irresponsible owners. We’re here to keep a level head and guide you through the claim process.
Because we have years of experience with dog attack claims, we know how to value your case. We know how to translate injuries like pain and suffering into monetary value. We never overlook any injury or inconvenience, and in the end, we demand that you receive the most compensation possible.
Recovering compensation usually comes down to negotiations. We’re skilled negotiators because we don’t squeeze every case into a one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, our approach depends on your situation and goals.
KNR has a track record of obtaining excellent settlements and awards for our clients. Take a look at our recent case results.
Call Our Cincinnati Dog Bite Lawyers Today
We recommend working with one of our seasoned Cincinnati dog bite lawyers to demand fair and full compensation for your injuries. You have the right to hold the dog owner responsible for what their pet has done.
Dog Bite FAQs
How long do I have to file a dog bite lawsuit? The statute of limitations in Ohio is two years. So you have two years from the date the dog attacked you to file a lawsuit in court.
What is a dog bite claim worth? Every dog bite case is unique, and your potential settlement depends on your or your child’s injuries. The basis for your compensation is your medical bills, lost wages, pain, and suffering, and other damages.
What if I was playing with the dog when it bit me? It might depend on what you consider playing. If your actions annoyed, irritated, or provoked the dog, you might not receive compensation. But if you believed your actions were friendly, talk with a lawyer.
What if I was on someone else’s property when the dog bit me? Your rights depend on whether you had a right to be there. If you were explicitly or implicitly allowed to be on the property, you could bring a claim.
Does my insurance apply to dog bites? It depends. You should use your health insurance when you see a doctor. Then, you should contact your renter’s or homeowner’s insurance provider to see if your policy covers any medical bills or lost wages. If the dog’s owner or handler is a business, they might have liability insurance covering dog bite injuries.
Will I have to go to court for a dog bite? It depends. Most dog bite cases are resolved out of court. But if you have to file a lawsuit against the dog owner, your lawyer will advise you when you have to attend court hearings.