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What To Do If You're Bitten by a Dog at Work

Working with and around animals is a part of many jobs and careers that can add a level of risk to employees - including the risk of being bitten. If you're bitten by a dog while working as a dog groomer, veterinarian, dog walker, delivery driver, mail carrier, or in any other capacity, it's important to take the right steps to protect your health and your legal rights. Here's what you should do if you're bitten by a dog at work in Ohio.

Seek medical attention immediately

If you're bitten by a dog at work, the first and most important thing to do is to seek medical attention. Even if the injury seems minor, dog bites can easily become infected and lead to more serious health complications. Additionally, seeking medical treatment creates a record of your injuries that may be important if you decide to pursue a workers' compensation claim.

Report the incident to your employer

If you're bitten by a dog while working, you should report the incident to your employer as soon as possible. Your employer has a legal obligation to maintain a safe work environment and to report workplace injuries to the appropriate authorities. Reporting the incident will create a record of the incident and your injuries, which will be important if you decide to pursue a workers' compensation claim. In addition, Ohio Revised Code Section 955.261 specifies that the dog must remain in the county after the bite has occurred, as well as other details on what is expected once the incident is reported. By reporting the incident to your employer, you help to ensure that the animal is available for any needed testing or review.

Document the incident

If possible, document the incident as thoroughly as possible. This includes taking photos of your injuries, the dog, and the location of the incident. It will be helpful to collect the owner’s contact information, the dog's vaccination records, and the information of any witnesses to the incident. The state of Ohio recognizes the incident as a worker’s compensation claim as long as you are able to prove that you were on duty during the incident, so proof of being on the job should be collected as well. This evidence is useful to build out the claim as thoroughly as possible from the start and to obtain the compensation due to you for the injury.  

Know your legal rights

In Ohio, if you're bitten by a dog while working, you may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. Workers' compensation is a type of insurance that provides benefits to employees who are injured on the job. These benefits may include medical expenses, lost wages, and compensation for permanent disabilities.

If you are injured by a dog while working, you may not only be entitled to pursue a workers' compensation claim, but you may also have a third party injury claim against the dog's owner. For example, if you are a contractor performing services on the premises of a customer and you are bitten by the customer's dog, you may have both a workers' compensation and a third party personal injury claim against the dog's owner. If, however, you are a dog sitter or groomer and you are bitten while you are in control of the dog, then you likely only have a workers' compensation claim, as you may not be able to pursue the third party claim.  This distinction is important, and thus the evidence and circumstances of the injury must be critically analyzed by an injury attorney to protect your interests. Also, if you have both a workers' compensation claim and a third party claim against the dog's owner, there will likely be a subrogation claim that must be protected (i.e., if workers' compensation pays you anything, you will have to pay them back as part of any resolution with the dog's owner). This requires coordination of these claims for your maximum benefit, and consultation with an attorney under these circumstances early in the process is critical.

Contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney if you're bitten by a dog while working in Ohio.  It’s important to have an experienced workers' compensation attorney on your side to help you understand your legal rights and options, and can help you navigate the complex Workers’ Compensation System in the state of Ohio. 

Being bitten by a dog at work can be a challenging and stressful situation. If you've been bitten by a dog while working in Ohio, don't hesitate to contact NRS Injury Law. We can help you understand your legal rights and options. Call NRS Injury Law today at 855.468.4878, or fill out our online contact form.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this Post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.
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