“Dogs never bite me. Just humans.”
Marilyn must have been lucky, because dogs do bite humans—nearly five million every year in just the U.S. alone.
Dog bites are officially categorized from LEVEL 1—showing of teeth, snapping, and growling but no actual skin contact, sometimes called a pre-bite—all the way to LEVEL 6—death of the victim and/or flesh consumed. Yes, dog bites can be fatal.
If you or a loved one are involved in a dog bite incident, there’s a very good chance you could be entitled to compensation. The question of how much compensation depends on a variety of factors, including the severity of the injury caused by the bite, the location of the bite, and whether there are lasting, long-term effects.
It also depends on where the dog bite incident occurs, as laws can differ by state. For instance, Ohio is a strict liability state, and the dog’s owner, responsible party, or harborer, is held liable without the victim having to prove negligence on the part of the owner.
If, however, you were provoking the dog, illegally trespassing, or committing a crime at the time of the incident, you may be entitled to reduced compensation, or none at all.
The average settlement amount for a dog bite incident also varies by state. Unfortunately, it’s hard to give an exact figure because settlements vary widely.
For instance, in the case of a LEVEL 4 dog bite, which is defined as a serious, dangerous bite with one to four puncture wounds deeper than half the length of the dog’s tooth, the settlement amount could be in the six figures. In the case of a LEVEL 5 dog bite—multiple bites with deep wounds—it could be even higher.
If the bite is clearly visible, such as the face, head, hands, or arms, which is often the case as people love to pet and talk to dogs, that may raise the amount of compensation. If there are long-term effects, such as loss of bodily function, the need for reconstructive surgery, rehabilitation, etc., that can also affect the settlement. Read more about the common types of injuries from dog bites here.
One other thing to be aware of—in Ohio, if you have knowledge of a dog bite, whether you’re the dog’s owner or the victim of the bite, you are required by law to file a bite incident report with your local health commissioner within 24 hours. This is due to the possibility of rabies exposure.
…are usually complex and emotional, and depend on the severity of the injury, local liability laws, the statute of limitations, and many other factors. When seeking a lawyer for a dog bite claim, be sure they have the necessary experience, staff and resources to recover for you the proper compensation.
If you or a family member has been involved in a dog bite incident, contact the attorneys at LaSalvia Law. We will fight to win you the compensation you deserve.
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