Dog bite injuries can be traumatic and may leave lasting physical and emotional scars. The physical, emotional, and financial toll of this type of injury can be devastating. Here, we will explore what to do following a dog bite injury to assist with proving liability which may help you receive the compensation you deserve.
What to Do Following Dog Bite Injury
In the event of a dog bite injury, immediate action is needed to ensure your safety and well-being.
Apply or Seek First Aid
Your priority after a dog bite must be your immediate medical needs. If available, apply first aid measures to the wound, such as cleaning it gently with soap and water and covering it with a clean cloth or bandage.
Get Professional Medical Help
Even if the dog bite appears minor, it is essential to have a healthcare professional examine the wound thoroughly. Medical documentation will ensure that you receive appropriate treatment and could serve as crucial evidence to establish the nature and extent of your injuries. Follow all medical instructions and attend follow-up appointments for proper healing and recovery.
Collect Evidence and Document Expenses
To strengthen your case, gather as much evidence as possible about the dog bite incident. Photographs or videos of the injuries can capture the extent of the damage. Records of expenses, such as medical bills, medication costs, therapy sessions, or lost wages, can help support your claim.
Report Dog Bite Cases Within 24 Hours
Contact your local animal control agency or law enforcement to document the incident. Please provide them with all the relevant details, including the date, time, location, and description of the dog and its owner. Reporting the incident within 24 hours ensures an official record, which helps establish liability in your case.
Contact a Dog Bite Lawyer
An attorney for dog bite injuries will guide you through the legal process, protect your rights, and fight for fair compensation. They can analyze the evidence, assess liability, negotiate with insurance companies, and, if necessary, represent you in court. An experienced dog bite lawyer who practices personal injury can help ensure the best possible outcome for your claim.
Proving Liability in a Dog Bite Case
Establishing liability is crucial in a dog bite case to hold the responsible parties accountable. Here are different ways to prove liability.
“One Bite Rule”
Generally, under common law negligence principles, there must be evidence that the dog owner knew or should have known about their dog’s aggressive or dangerous tendencies, sometimes called the “One Bite Rule” or the “One Free Bite” rule. This rule requires evidence that the dog has previously bitten someone or displayed aggressive behavior, and the owner should have been aware of the dog’s potential danger.
Strict Liability In Ohio
However, Ohio imposes strict liability on dog owners for any injuries caused by their dogs, regardless of the dog’s previous behavior. Under Ohio Revised Code Section 955.28(B), an “owner, keeper, or harborer” of a dog is liable for any injury caused by the animal if: the dog’s behavior caused the injury; the injured person was not “committing or attempting to commit criminal trespass or another criminal offense other than a minor misdemeanor,” and the injured person was not “teasing, tormenting, or abusing the dog.” Section 955.28(B) is not limited to dog bites but other injuries, such as being pushed, struck, or knocked over by a dog.
Landlord Liability for Dog Bites
As a general rule, out-of-possession landlords are not liable for attacks by animals owned or harbored by their tenants. However, if the landlord retains sufficient control over the leased premise, the landlord may be a “harborer” for his tenant’s dogs for R.C. 955.28(B) and common-law liability. Further, liability can attach if the landlord knows or should have been aware that the dog was dangerous or vicious. In addition, the dog’s presence in a common area and the landlord’s knowledge of the dog’s vicious nature could attach liability for the attack.
Gathering and presenting convincing evidence is essential to prove liability in a dog bite case. Here are some crucial types of evidence that can support your claim:
- Witness Accounts: Collect statements from witnesses who observed the incident. Their testimonies can help establish the sequence of events and back your version of the incident.
- Text or Social Media: Reviewing social media posts, interactions between responsible individuals online, or even text exchanges between landlords and injured tenants.
- Photos or Videos: Capture clear and detailed photographs or videos of your injuries, any visible signs of the dog’s aggression, or the scene where the incident occurred. Visual evidence is highly persuasive in establishing liability.
- Police Report: If you reported the incident to the authorities, obtain a copy of the police report. This official document will provide essential details about the incident and can be used as evidence to support your case.
- Medical Report: Obtain a comprehensive medical report detailing the extent of your injuries, the required treatment, and any long-term effects. This report from your healthcare provider will establish the link between the dog bite and your injuries, bolstering your claim.
Navigating the legal landscape after a dog bite injury can be challenging, but taking prompt action and proving liability can help you get justice. Remember to perform first aid, seek medical attention, collect evidence, report the incident, and contact a dog bite lawyer specializing in personal injury cases.
If you or someone you know has been a dog bite victim, Gallon Law will guide you through the legal process, fight for your rights, and help you navigate the complexities of your dog bite case.
Contact us today for a free consultation.
Jeff joined GT&B in 2008 as a law clerk. After graduation he returned to GT&B as a personal injury Associate in 2011. Jeff is now a senior associate in the Personal Injury department, with a focus on auto accidents, premises liability, general negligence, wrongful death and dog bites.