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What should you do when a dog bites your kid?

People love to call dogs ""man's best friend,"" but sometimes they can be anything but friendly. Anyone who gets bitten by a vicious dog could end up with severe injuries or even cynophobia, a fear of dogs. When the victim of a dog bite attack is a small child, the potential for injuries and lifelong impact increases. Parents may need to stand up for the rights of injured kids.

Small children could end up emotionally damaged by a dog bite. They are also at risk for growth issues in cases of severe bites. Damage to the growth plate in any of the long bones of the body could lead to uneven growth and development. Bites to the hands or face could require corrective surgery and ongoing plastic surgery as the child continues to grow. Your family shouldn't end up saddled with medical debt because of someone else's animal.

Seek medical attention and document everything

As soon as you realize your child has been bitten, assess the damage. If there is profuse bleeding, a visibly broken bone or severe tissue trauma, you should proceed immediately to a medical facility. If the bleeding is minor, you may want to take a few moments to clean the wound and calm your child. Then, you should seek a doctor's opinion. Even minor bites can leave permanently disfiguring scars if not properly treated.

Modern phones help with documentation of serious injuries. You can take video or a photo immediately after the dog bite attack, helping to establish that the attack really occurred when and where you claim. You should also document thoroughly any medical attention your child needs. If your child requires therapy to address a fear of dogs, social situations or going outside after the attack, document that as well.

Ohio law holds animal owners responsible for attacks

Ohio law is very clear about responsibility in cases of dog bite attacks. Lawmakers created a law addressing dog bites that makes owners responsible for any provable injuries resulting from the attack.

In some states, a dog must have previously bitten someone or otherwise given indication of viciousness for the owner to be liable. People refer to this standard as the "one free bite" rule. In Ohio, dogs and their owners don't get a free bite. The first time a dog attacks a human, the owner faces liability.

There are some exceptions to this rule, including if the person bitten was trespassing or teasing the dog. For the most part, however, regardless of whether it was in the owner's home or yard, in a park or on the sidewalk, the owner is liable for injuries caused by one's dog.

In some cases, homeowner's insurance may cover some of your medical expenses. In other cases, you may have to pursue a civil lawsuit to get the compensation you deserve after a dog attacks your child.

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