Dog bites can leave victims of all ages suffering from serious injuries. If you or your child has been bitten by a dog in Ohio, it is important to know what to do next. Ohio has laws in place that protect victims and their families, but there are several steps you need to take to recover the financial compensation you and your family deserve.
This starts with hiring an experienced Columbus dog bite lawyer. When you have a claim for a dog bite, you can hire a lawyer at no out-of-pocket cost. Your lawyer will provide contingency-fee representation, which means you will pay nothing unless you win. But, while your lawyer will handle your claim for you, your lawyer will still need your help—and the more you can do to help, the more likely you will be to recover just compensation.
10 Steps to Take After a Dog Bite in Ohio
With this in mind, here are 10 important steps to take after a dog bite in Ohio:
1. Get Treatment
The first thing you should do after a dog attack is get treatment. As with any type of injury, the most important thing is making sure that you or your child is safe. If you are unsure whether the dog has been vaccinated against rabies, you should consult with your doctor about whether a rabies shot is necessary.
From bone fractures to nerve injuries and deep tissue damage, dog bites can cause various serious forms of trauma. Obtaining a thorough diagnosis and getting treatment promptly will help ensure that the long-term consequences of the attack are no greater than necessary.
2. Follow Your Doctor’s Advice
Once you get treatment, you should make sure you understand your doctor’s advice for the remainder of the recovery process. If you are confused about anything, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for clarification. Not only is this important for your (or your child’s) health, but it is important for your dog bite claim as well.
3. Take Detailed Notes About the Attack
When filing a claim for a dog bite, it is important to have as much information as possible. With this in mind, you should do your best to take detailed notes about the attack. Write down everything you can remember—including the dog owner’s name and address if known.
4. Make Sure You Understand What is Involved in Filing a Dog Bite Claim
Many dog bites involve pets that belong to friends, family members and neighbors. As a result, many victims and parents are hesitant to file a claim. But, it is important to understand that in the vast majority of circumstances, you will not be filing a claim against the dog’s owner directly. Instead, you will be dealing with the owner’s insurance company, and most friends, family members and neighbors will want you to utilize the coverage that they have available.
5. Learn About Ohio’s Dog Bite Laws
Dog bite laws vary by state. Fortunately, in Ohio, we have one of the more victim-friendly dog bite laws in the nation. Under Ohio’s dog bite laws, owners can be held “strictly liable” for bites in most cases. This means you don’t need to prove that your friend, family member or neighbor was negligent. If you can prove that you or your child was bitten, this is enough to file an insurance claim in most circumstances.
6. Talk to a Columbus Dog Bite Lawyer
Once you see a doctor, take detailed notes, and learn about Ohio’s dog bite laws, the next thing you should do is talk to a Columbus dog bite lawyer. Your lawyer will be able to walk you through the process of filing a claim, file your claim for you, and work to recover just compensation on your behalf. If the dog’s owner has insurance, this will most likely mean negotiating a settlement with the insurance company.
7. Document the Costs of the Attack
When negotiating a settlement on your behalf, your lawyer will need to have a clear understanding of the long-term costs of the attack. With this in mind, you should document these costs as thoroughly as possible. Along with keeping copies of your medical bills and receipts, this means:
- Keeping track of any hours or days you miss from work
- Keeping track of your prescription costs, bandage costs and other out-of-pocket expenses
- Documenting how the attack impacts your (or your child’s) daily life
Here too, the more details you can provide to your lawyer, the better. If you aren’t sure what records you should be keeping or what losses you are entitled to recover, your lawyer can explain everything you need to know.
8. Work with Your Lawyer During Your Claim
As your dog bite claim progresses, you should be prepared to work closely with your lawyer to provide any additional information he or she needs. You should not ignore your claim, and you should not expect your lawyer to be able to handle it entirely on your behalf. As we said above, your lawyer will need your help, and, by playing your part, you can help maximize your chances of obtaining just compensation as quickly as possible.
9. Continue to Prioritize Your (or Your Child’s) Recovery
As you work with your lawyer to seek just compensation, you should continue to prioritize your (or your child’s) recovery. Dog bites can have significant physical and emotional effects, and making sure you (or your child) receive all necessary treatment can help to minimize any long-term consequences.
10. Make Informed Decisions About Settlement
Finally, if you receive a settlement offer in your dog bite claim, you should work with your lawyer to make an informed decision about whether to accept. While you do not want to reject a reasonable settlement offer, you also do not want to settle for less than you deserve.
Request a Free Consultation with a Columbus Dog Bite Lawyer
If you need to know more about what to do after a dog bite in Ohio, we encourage you to contact us promptly. For a free consultation with an experienced Columbus dog bite lawyer, call 888-444-7440 or send us your contact information online now.