When a negligent dog owner allows their pet to bite and injure someone, the owner may be liable for the victim’s damages. If a dog bit you, a Springfield dog bite lawyer from the Fitch Law Firm LLC may be able to help you fight for compensation in a personal injury insurance claim or lawsuit. Hiring a lawyer can allow you time to recover in peace while we manage your case’s legal work.
To get started, call the Fitch Law Firm LLC today. A team member will be happy to review your case and answer your questions at no charge. If you qualify, we may be able to represent you on a contingency fee basis with no up-front payments required.
The Consequences of Dog Bites
A dog may bite or attack someone for a variety of reasons, but when it comes down to it, the owner has a general duty of care to stop their dog from biting others. This is true whether a dog bite occurs in a public or private space, including the owner’s home.
Once a dog has bitten you, you must take steps to prevent infection right away. The Cleveland Clinic recommends cleaning the wound, applying antibiotic cream, bandaging the wound, and then going to a doctor. This should all be done within eight hours of the attack to minimize the chance of infection.
In addition to cuts and bite wounds, a dog attack may cause:
- Ligament damage
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Permanent scarring and disfigurement
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- And other concerning medical complications
Bites to the Face in a Springfield Dog Bite Attack
Dog bites to the face can result in permanent scarring and disfigurement, even when promptly addressed with medical treatment. These injuries and their lasting effects often garner a substantial settlement because they are in a prominent place, and many victims are hyperaware of their facial scars and deformities. These can result in embarrassment and self-consciousness in social situations.
Although many dog bite victims seek the help of reconstructive experts to reduce the appearance of scars, even with plastic surgery, they are sometimes not entirely eliminated. Still, dog bite attorneys often have a cosmetic surgeon examine their clients examined by who can provide evidence that helps maximize the victim’s compensation.
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Dog Attacks on Springfield Delivery Drivers in Ohio
Amazon, Fed-Ex, UPS, and USPS employees and food delivery drivers (e.g., DoorDash, Grubhub) often become dog bite attack victims. This can occur when drivers leave their vehicles to deliver packages at homes and businesses and become vulnerable to unrestrained animals. When this happens, the delivery person who was bitten has two options for initiating legal action.
The first is to file a workers’ compensation claim, which applies when the employee was on duty at the time the animal attacked them. This claim pays for loss of income during their disability and medical expenses for treating their dog bite-related injuries.
The second claim is filed against the dog owner for non-economic losses. Dog attacks often result in significant scarring, broken bones, and post-traumatic stress disorder. As a result, a personal injury claim can be filed requesting compensation for pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of life enjoyment, and other subjective damages caused by a dog attack.
Statute of Limitations in a Springfield Dog Bite Case
Our Columbus personal injury lawyers can help delivery drivers and postal workers attacked by a dog recover financial awards from both workers’ compensation insurance and a civil lawsuit. In Ohio, the statute of limitations for a personal injury lawsuit is generally two years from the date of the incident (Ohio Revised Code Section 2305.10).
Therefore, this is the deadline to file legal action unless you qualify for a rare exception.
The ‘One Bite’ Rule and Strict Liability Laws in Ohio
Some U.S. states have enacted a law commonly known as the “one bite” rule, indicating that a dog’s owner may not be liable for a victim’s bite injuries if it has no documented history of aggression or attacks. However, Ohio has no such statute and instead declares that a dog owner has “strict liability” for their dog’s actions if it was unprovoked, and the victim had a right to be where they were when the dog attacked.
Some cities in Ohio have placed restrictions or bans on certain dog breeds or dogs considered “dangerous” or “vicious.”
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You May Be Eligible for Compensation After a Dog Bite Attack in Springfield
If a dog attacks or bites you while you were behaving in a lawful manner, the dog’s owner may be legally responsible for all personal injuries and property damage caused by the attack. This is according to Ohio Revised Code Section 955.28.
The Fitch Law Firm LLC can help you figure out which damages you may qualify for. In general, the potentially recoverable damages in a dog bite case may include:
Economic damages function as compensation for accident-related expenses and financial losses. For instance, you could qualify for economic damages if you lost money due to:
- Medical treatments: If you needed surgery, medical tests, prescription medicine, physical therapy, or other treatments to manage your injuries
- Loss of wages, pension, etc.: If you could not go to work because of your injuries
- Reduced earning capacity: If your injury has permanent consequences that restrict your ability to earn a living in the future
- Other expenses: If you paid a housekeeper, landscaper, nanny, or others to help you with tasks that would normally fall on your shoulders during your recovery
You might also be eligible to recover non-economic damages. These damages do not have a price tag but may include physical or psychological harm. Examples of non-economic damages may include:
- Scars: If your injuries left behind obvious marks that affect you physically and psychologically
- Pain and suffering: If your injuries, or even the accident itself, caused you distress or anguish
- Disability: If you have lost certain physical or intellectual abilities
- Loss of quality of life: If you are no longer able to engage in the same activities you once did (e.g., play sports, cook for yourself, etc.)
These are not the only damages that may appear in a personal injury case.
The Provocation Defense
Insurance agencies and defense attorneys may use a legal defense to prove the victim engaged in action toward the dog that instigated it to react and bite. Also known as a provocation defense, this legal tactic can persuade the court to dismiss a lawsuit in some situations.
The provocation can be purposeful or accidental. For example, pulling a dog’s tail would likely be considered a deliberate act of malice that could, somewhat understandably, provoke an attack. Conversely, unintentionally startling a dog would not be. The dog’s response must be proportionate to the allegedly provocative actions.
How Our Lawyer Can Help You With a Springfield Dog Bite Case
When you work with a Springfield dog bite lawyer from the Fitch Law Firm LLC, we can provide you with a variety of legal services while you focus on your recovery. In general, we may be able to:
- Advise you: Your lawyer can provide you with legal advice and help you understand the laws and legal precedents that may impact your case.
- Collect evidence: Your lawyer can seek out medical records, police reports, witness statements, and more to show that your dog bite happened the way you say it did. We can also gather evidence of your damages and their value.
- Handle all communications: To avoid giving the insurance company a chance to use your words against you, your lawyer can handle all communications with the insurance companies on your behalf.
- File paperwork: You do not need to be concerned with finding and filing the correct forms or filing something late when working with the Fitch Law Firm LLC. We can handle all paperwork in your case, including notifying the liable party about the suit and, if necessary, scheduling court dates.
- Pursue compensation: We can fight as hard as we can for a fair settlement offer. If the responsible party’s insurance company does not offer a fair amount of money, we are willing to set up a trial to continue the fight for compensation.
Call the Fitch Law Firm LLC Today After a Springfield Dog Bite Attack
It can be hard enough to adjust to a new normal after an accident without also worrying about bills or a lawsuit. By hiring our Springfield dog bite lawyer from the Fitch Law Firm LLC, we can take the burden of pursuing compensation off your shoulders. To learn more about our services and your options in a free consultation on your case with a member of our team, call the Fitch Law Firm LLC today.
We charge no fees up front. Instead, the Fitch Law Firm LLC works on a contingency fee basis. This means our attorney’s fees are “contingent” on you winning your case and recovering compensation via a settlement offer or court award. If we cannot win your case, we charge you nothing at all for our labor.
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