Ohio County Pays for Bat Attack

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Those of you who live in Ohio and have recently been attacked by a rabid animal, please be aware that you only have four months to ask for compensation under state law.  (File now – you can thank me later.)

Sie kommen nicht allein, at least in Deutschland A little-known (but now somewhat better-known) Ohio law allows anyone injured by a rabid animal to ask the local board of county commissioners to reimburse him or her for up to $1,500 in medical expenses incurred as a result of said injury.  See Ohio Rev. Code sec. 955.41955.42.  David Froehlich learned about this law after he found a bat on his finger while doing some work around the house.  (That's what it said — he thought he had been pricked by a staple, but then found "there was a bat on his finger.")  That led to the kind of violent hand movements you would expect from somebody who has just found a bat on his finger, which left the culprit bat laying stunned in the yard.  It tested positive for rabies.

Either Froehlich got his paperwork in late or (more likely) just didn't learn about the law for a while.  I imagine that if a rabid bat gets its fangs in you, the thought "I'd better tell my county commissioners right away" is probably pretty far down the list of thoughts you might have.  Whatever the explanation, Froehlich missed the four-month deadline by two days.

Scourge of county commissioners everywhere Delaware County commissioners voted on January 14 to grant him compensation anyway, noting that the law had been interpreted to give them discretion to ignore the deadline.  (One consideration: Froehlich's medical insurance did not cover the treatment.  Hopefully, the plight of those uninsured against bat-inflicted health problems will become part of the national health-care debate.  Assuming that debate is still going on.)  The vote was unanimous, although at least one commissioner griped that he thought these claims should go through the state health department rather than ending up on the county agenda.  He did admit that it was a "rare situation," but still seemed a bit irked by having to deal with it.  "I hope we never see it again," he said.

Link: Columbus Dispatch