why dogs biteThere are eight basic things to remember to do immediately if you are the victim of a dog bite.   The first is NOT to assume your injury is minor.

  1. Don’t wait and see if your wound feels worse or looks worse tomorrow. Seek medical treatment right away.

If wounds look deep, apply pressure to stop the bleeding.   Watch for signs of infection—redness,  swelling or developing a fever.   In many cases the person who was attacked does not know the dog that bit them and does not know the health of the dog involved.   Has the animal had rabies shots?  This could be very important in determining the severity of the attack outcome.   Damages may be extensive including pain, mental suffering, permanent scarring, loss of past and future earning capacity, medical expenses, emergency room fees, ambulance fees, psychological counseling and cosmetic services, long term care or loss of quality of life.

  1. If you seek medical treatment and the situation is not serious, you’ve lost only your time.

If there is any evidence, the bite may have pierced your skin, or the dog had rabies, or tetanus, which is quite rare in the United States, you could be facing infection or worse.

  1. Notify all local agencies and report the attack.

This is especially important if you think the offending animal is still on the loose and may harm others.  Notify your dog warden, your local police department and the health department.  The Ohio law firm of Slater & Zurz will provide you with a list of these telephone numbers free-of-charge if you will call them at 1-888-534-4850 or email them at [email protected].

The dog warden will check the rabies vaccination status of the dog if it is available and will take necessary steps to quarantine a dog if required.  A report will be submitted to the county health department.  If an injured party winds up filing an insurance claim against the dog owner or the insurance company, he will need to have this documentation from local officials.

  1. You may want to call the county health department yourself to see if you can determine the dog’s rabies vaccination status.

About 20% of bites become infected and some of the common diseases that can result from a dog bite are quite serious and could even be deadly.   Statistics from the Center for Disease Prevention and Control indicate that 4.7 million people in the United States are victims of dog attacks each year with about 800,000 requiring medical care.

  1. Write down everything that happened before the attack and what happened afterwards.

Keep a daily log and describe such things as:

  • Details of the incident
  • Your medical treatment and receipts
  • Pain you are experiencing
  • Missed work dates
  • Pay you would have received on those dates
  • Any contact with the owner of the dog who attacked you
  • Any other information about the attack you think may be important
  1. Get the dog owner’s name and address, if possible, and the name and address of any witnesses to the attack.

This could save time for whoever is investigating the attack, but be careful not to speak further with the dog owner or his insurance company.   Leave that to your attorney.

  1. Take as many photographs as you can.

Take photos of any and all injuries and record any changes in the appearance of your injuries from day- to-day.   Photograph the attack site, clothing worn during the attack, and the offending dog if possible.

  1. Get free information and a free legal consultation.

Obtain an understanding of Ohio’s laws relating to dog attacks by contacting Slater & Zurz law firm and asking them to provide you with a free copy of a book the firm published, When a Dog Bites Fight Back.   The law firm will also provide a free consultation with one of our attorneys who has extensive experience with Ohio dog bite cases.   Your free consultation can be conducted by telephone or in-person at a location convenient for you.

To receive your free book and schedule a free consultation to discuss potential financial compensation for a dog attack, call 1-888-534-4850, or e-mail us a message.   The law firm is also offering a free, one-page 8-point checklist which you can carry with you to remind you what to do if you are bitten by a dog.

If you decide to hire Slater & Zurz as your dog bite attorneys, they will get your claim started right away.   The experienced dog bite lawyers at the firm will handle all telephone calls, correspondence and negotiations with insurance companies on your behalf.   They will track down all the documentation   needed to make a claim, help establish liability and determine whether insurance coverage applies.  

How Much Time is Available to Take Action?

How much time does the victim have to file a lawsuit after a dog bite incident?   The “statute of limitations” in Ohio for a strict liability dog bite injury (this means there is no negligence theory but a dog caused harm to a person) is six years for adults in Ohio.   For a minor, the six years begins on the minor’s 18th birthday as it is possible it could take until a child is grown to realize the full extent of the damage from a dog attack.

To sue under a negligence theory in Ohio if the victim is an adult, you must sue within two years of the date the dog injured you.   For a child the “statute of limitations” is extended to two years after the victim reaches 18 years of age for the same reasons described above.

If your claim is not filed within a specific timeframe, you will be barred by state law from filing it in the future so stay well aware of these deadlines.   If you have life-altering wounds, recovering a substantial insurance settlement will be of prime importance to your future health.