The Richards Firm is available 24 hours a day and can hold meetings in person, by telephone, or virtually. Call us today to schedule an appointment.

Someone’s Dog Bit Me: What Should I Do Now?

Accidents that lead to injuries can be difficult situations, but it can be uniquely unpleasant if someone’s dog bit you. After all, dogs are supposed to be man’s best friend. As loving and adorable as dogs can be, they are also instinctive creatures that can become confused and triggered. 

A playful nibble may be overlooked, but any actual bite from a dog should be taken seriously. Even a small dog can break skin, cause nerve damage, spread infectious bacteria, and more. 

If you’ve been bitten by someone’s dog, here’s what you should do next. 

Dogs in the United States 

Owning a dog has never been more popular. Around 45% of US households own at  least one dog. Most dog owners consider their canine to be a true member of their family, and we understand the sentiment. Our founder, Rhys Richards is a proud dog owner who has fostered and adopted numerous dogs over the years. 

As revered as dogs are in American culture, we can easily forget just how dangerous a dog can be. The sad truth is many dogs don’t receive the proper training, attention, and care that they need. Some are even abused, which can cause them to be more aggressive towards others. 

When dogs aren’t properly cared for and sheltered, attacks are very likely to happen. Every year, 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs. If you’ve been bitten by a dog, it’s critical that you take the appropriate actions regardless of the severity.  

Someone's Dog Bit Me | Two Dogs FightingDog Bites are Serious 

Dogs have sharp teeth and powerful jaws, making it very easy for them to break skin, tear muscles, and even crack bones. A seemingly minor bite can result in serious long-term damage, especially if it’s ignored. Dogs can carry an assortment of bacteria in their mouths. If these bacteria enter an open wound, it can result in infections and even the loss of limbs. 

If you’ve been bitten by a dog, we strongly recommend that you go see a doctor. Make sure that the wound stays clean and bandaged. Applying hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol can combat potential infections. 

In addition to physical damage, dog bites can be emotionally scarring, especially for children. The idea of a dog running to you can go from a joyous moment to a moment of terror. You may consider seeing a therapist after an aggressive attack from a dog. 

Getting Treatment for Dog Bites 

As we said before, you should immediately visit the doctor after getting bitten by a dog. It’s impossible for you to know if bacteria have gotten into the wound, and if it’s left untreated, you could experience a terrifying outcome.  

A quick Google search can bring up countless horror stories of people who experienced a supposedly “minor” dog bite, only to go into a coma, lose a limb, or even die.  

Don’t worry about scheduling an appointment, and don’t wait to see how it feels in a few days. Go to an urgent care as soon as possible. If it’s after hours, either go first thing in the morning or go to an ER.  

Legal Responsibility for Dog Bites 

The specific legal circumstances around dog bites can vary depending on where you live. In most instances, however, the dog owner and/or current caretaker is responsible for any harm caused by the dog.  

In the state of Ohio, code § 955.28 states that the owner, harborer, or keeper is strictly liable for damages caused by a dog attack that causes any injury, death, or loss to a person or property. Ohio common law also provides a cause of action. You may recover for medical expenses, but it may extend to other expenses as well. For example, if a dog bite affects your ability to work, you may be owed additional compensation. You may also recover for pain and suffering.  

The specifics can be complicated, which is why you should consider speaking to an attorney after experiencing a dog bite. 

Do I Need to Talk to a Lawyer After Someone’s Dog Bit Me? 

Contacting an attorney about a dog bite can seem extreme to some people, but as we’ve said, dog bites can be very serious. Speaking to a dog bite attorney doesn’t necessarily mean that you will need to file a lawsuit, attend court room hearings, or the like. Many dog bite cases, even severe ones, are settled out of court. 

Speaking to an attorney is simply the best way to understand your options and decide on the best path forward. The law is very complex, and the extent of damage caused by a dog bite isn’t always immediately clear. A good lawyer can answer questions, share insight, and provide recommendations for how best to protect you based on their past experiences. 

Most accident and injury attorneys provide free consultations. Should you move forward with legal representation, you typically won’t be charged unless you win your claim. It’s important to confirm these details before entering into any agreements with any law firm. 

What Happens to the Dog? 

Some people don’t take action after a dog bite because they’re afraid of what will happen to the dog. This is especially true if the dog belongs to a friend or family member. It’s important to know that a dog who bites a stranger is not automatically put to sleep. There is a process that is followed, and there are circumstances to be considered. 

In the state of Ohio, when a dog bites someone, either the person bitten can report or the ER/ urgent care will report the incident. Any dog that bites someone will first be checked for rabies. A state official may interview the victim, owner, and any witnesses and investigate whether the dog is dangerous, vicious, or a nuisance. If a dog’s vaccinations are up-to-date, the dog may be quarantined for 10 days. Dogs without vaccinations could be quarantined for up to four months. The quarantine can take place in a home, kennel, or animal shelter. Unfortunately, if the dog does have rabies, the victim will need to be treated and the dog may be put down. If a dog is determined to be dangerous, it must be registered with the county auditor, kept on a leash shorter than 6 feet, and kept in a locked cage or yard. It must also wear a tag indicating that it is dangerous. 

Sadly, some dogs do not receive proper training, which can make them an ongoing danger to people, especially children. Their own owners could even be unsafe. The last thing we want to see is a dog put to sleep, but in some cases, there is no other option. 

We understand if you’re feeling hesitant about reporting a dog bite, but it’s not just about you. The law expects victims to report dog bites. The more people a dog has harmed, the more likely it will continue to harm people in the future. Your bite might not be serious, but the next one could be. 

If you’re in need of a dog bite lawyer in Hamilton, Oxford, Middletown, Cincinnati, or the surrounding communities, contact The Richards Firm today. Your initial consultation is free, and we won’t charge anything unless we win your case. We are happy to meet virtually, at our offices, or at a place that’s most convenient for you. 

We can be reached at 513-341-5413 or by visiting our contact page here.

Share This Post


We're Here to Help

If you’re in need of legal guidance in Ohio or Kentucky, The Richards Firm can help.

Click here to schedule a free consultation or ask a question. Use the icons below to follow us online.

Recent Posts