If your child suffers injuries in an Ohio dog bite, get medical care as soon as possible. Depending on the severity of their injury, getting medical care could include calling an ambulance, taking them to the emergency room, going to a walk-in clinic, or visiting their pediatrician.
After they get the medical attention necessary to stop bleeding, reduce scarring, and prevent infection, you should consider how you can document the incident and the injuries, and discuss your legal options with a dog bite attorney.
Getting the Right Medical Care Quickly Is Key
As a parent, the first thing you need to do after your child sustains injuries in a dog bite incident probably comes naturally to you. You need to ensure your child’s immediate safety and then get prompt medical attention for their injuries.
Ensure Their Immediate Safety
Get the child to a safe area if they are walking on their own or ensure the dog owner restrains their animal. Quickly evaluate your child’s injuries and provide first aid as necessary. This may include putting pressure on bleeding wounds and calming your child as much as possible.
Get Medical Care
If you believe the wound is serious, call for first responders. Do not hesitate to dial 9-1-1 or alert local police. This not only ensures your child gets medical care quickly; it also helps document the incident.
Even if you do not call for emergency transport, you need to take your child for medical care as soon as possible. Any bite that breaks the skin needs proper cleaning to reduce the high risk of infection.
Follow the Doctor’s Advice for Follow Up
Many dog bites are relatively minor and do not require any further medical care. However, some require additional appointments, stitches or staples, other treatments, or even surgery. Your doctor will assess the bite and recommend a treatment plan.
In the most serious cases, a bite could call for hospitalization and even rehabilitation. Your child could suffer permanent impairments or require plastic surgery in the future. Following your doctor’s advice is the best option to ensure their wounds heal with the best possible outcome.
Document the Incident and Your Child’s Injuries
By documenting exactly what happened, where, and who played a role, you can begin to build a strong case for compensation before you ever discuss your case with an attorney. When possible, use your cell phone to:
- Take pictures of the dog
- Document the scene
- Save contact information of the dog’s owner and all witnesses
- Photograph your child’s injuries
It is also imperative you save any broken or torn items, such as the ripped shirt your child was wearing or their broken eyeglasses. This will lay the groundwork for the case your attorney will build to support your pursuit of compensation.
Under Ohio law, you also have to report any dog bite incident within 24 hours. While the police or your doctor will also report the bite, we encourage you to file a report on your own. This report could play a key role in recovering a payout later.
In Columbus or greater Franklin County, you can report a dog bite to:
- Franklin County Animal Care and Control: 614-525-3400
- Columbus Health Department: 614-645-6134
- Franklin County Public Health: 614-525-3160
When these agencies receive a dog bite report, they will document the incident and may even uncover evidence you were not able to document at the scene.
Learn More About Your Right to Pursue Compensation
Once your child’s wounds begin to heal, you can start thinking about holding the dog’s owner accountable. Under Ohio law, you may have the right to pursue compensation from the dog’s owner. It may be possible for you to recover a payout that includes:
- Medical care costs
- Ongoing care costs
- Future care costs
- Lost wages
- Property damages
- Out-of-pocket costs
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
In general, Ohio law only allows victims six years from the day a dog attacked your child to take legal action and hold the dog owner responsible. However, when the victim is a child, this law allows the clock to begin ticking only when the child reaches age 18.
This means you may have until your child turns 24 years old to take legal action. In most cases, families need the payout much faster than that, though. We may need to wait to see how well your child’s wounds heal, but we can go ahead and get started.