I Was Bit By A Dog. What Should I Do?

dog bite

As the old adage goes: “Dog Bites Man,” that is not newsworthy. “Man Bites Dog,” that is news.

“Dog Bites Man,” or “Dog Bites Woman,” is all too common an occurrence. Where do the legal issues surrounding dog ownership come into play? If you are bitten, might you have a potential lawsuit that could lead to you receiving damages?

Here are six points about dog bites and the law, from a dog bite attorney in Cincinnati.

  1. If a stray dog bites you, you likely have no recourse

A stray dog, by its nature, has no owner. Therefore, no individual person is responsible for the dog’s actions. Similarly, no municipality is responsible for the dog either. Just because Animal Control has not yet captured the animal and brought it to a pound, it does not mean the city is responsible for that dog. If the stray dog has escaped from the pound, you may possibly have cause to sue the pound for negligence. But this would be a stretch.

  1. If a police dog bites you, you must prove “unreasonable force”

The police are not allowed to use unreasonable force when performing any aspect of their duty, including making an arrest. If a police dog is used improperly, and encouraged to bite you, then it is conceivable that a court could construe this as unreasonable force.

  1. If a dog bites you while you’re working, you can collect workers’ comp

If you are a mail carrier, and a dog bites you as you perform the duties of your job for the U.S. Postal Service, then you can file a claim for workers’ compensation. You will be able to pay for your health care, and any lost work time. It is similar for any other job. If you were working at the time of the bite, then workers’ compensation should be able to cover you. You may also have cause to sue the owner of the dog, if that owner is not your employer.

  1. If your neighbor’s dog bites you in your own yard, you may have a case

The answer to this depends on your state of residence. State laws vary wildly when it comes to dog ownership. If your state imposes “strict liability” on those who own animals, then you most likely have a case. If your state does not, then you must prove your neighbor’s knowledge of the dog’s aggression, which is much more difficult to prove.

  1. If your city has a leash law, the dog’s owner can be shown to be negligent

If a dog owner violates the city’s leash law, and that dog attacks you, then many courts will take this as sufficient proof of the owner’s negligence. You would then be entitled to damages, in the form of compensation from that dog owner.

  1. If a dog kills your dog (or cat or bird or other pet), then you can likely get compensation

The amount of compensation you could receive in such a case likely covers the price of a similar pet from a breeder or a pet store. It may cover any veterinary bills you have paid, including vaccination shots, sterilization, and training. In some states, and under some circumstances, you may be able to sue for additional damages — compensation for the trauma you underwent in losing your pet, and the mental anguish you suffered. Again, this type of case varies considerably from state to state.

Dog Bite Attorney In Cincinnati

If you have been bitten by a dog in the Cincinnati Ohio area and would like to discuss the case, please contact our office for a free consultation.