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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

Common Animal Attack Questions: "Can You Sue for a Dog Bite in Ohio?"

When a person becomes a victim of a dog bite, they may find themselves grappling with the physical and emotional aftermath.


Dog bite injuries can be severe, even life-threatening, leaving victims with deep and painful wounds. Ohio law recognizes the seriousness of these situations, establishing a framework to address the consequences.


What Does Ohio Dog Bite Law Mandate?

What Does Ohio Dog Bite Law Mandate?


Dog owners in the Buckeye State bear a significant responsibility for the actions of their pets. Ohio is a strict liability state when it comes to dog bites.


This means that regardless of the pet's history or the owner's knowledge of their animal's aggressive tendencies, the owner is liable for any injuries caused by their dog.


Ohio's dog bite statute of limitations is a crucial aspect to consider. Dog bite victims must file their claims within six years from the date of the attack to seek compensation for their injuries. It's essential to be aware of this timeframe and take timely action. Consulting with a knowledgeable Ohio dog bite lawyer can be instrumental in navigating these legal waters.


These professionals can guide the specifics of Ohio dog bite laws. They can assess the incident's circumstances and determine the appropriate course of action. One common question revolves around the role of the dog's leash in a potential lawsuit.


Ohio law specifies that a dog must be on a leash no shorter than six feet long. Failure to stick to this requirement can render the dog's owner liable for any resulting injuries. Understanding these details is vital for potential plaintiffs and defendants in a dog-bite lawsuit.


When Can the Victim Sue for a Dog Bite Attack?


As mentioned above, Ohio follows a principle of strict liability concerning dog bites. This means that irrespective of the dog's previous behavior or the owner's awareness of potential aggression, they are held accountable for any injuries caused by their canine companion. The emphasis here is on the dog's actions rather than prior knowledge or history.


A victim can file a dog bite lawsuit if they can prove the dog owner was irresponsible and failed to prevent the unprovoked dog attack. On top of that, the plaintiff must show they were not trespassing or triggering the animal for no reason.


Also, the victim must show their injuries are directly due to the dog attack (i.e., causation). The more serious the harm, the stronger the basis for a legal Ohio dog bite claim.


To preserve the evidence of a dog bite in Ohio, victims must immediately call emergency services and make an official police report.


Is the Dog Owner Always Liable for a Dangerous Dog?


Owners are responsible for ensuring their pets are properly contained and leashed. The court also restricts caretakers from walking certain dog breeds in public spaces. In this event, the pet harborer or keeper may face dog bite penalties if they took, for example, a pit bull to a kid's park.


The keeper may also be accountable if a pet has exhibited dangerous tendencies or has a history of aggressive behavior. This highlights the importance of responsible ownership and proactive measures to prevent potential harm.


Victims of all ages have the legal right to seek compensation for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages caused by the dog's behavior. The injured person doesn't necessarily have to be bitten by the animal to file a claim, either.


What Is the One-bite Rule Under Ohio Law?


The one-bite rule, prevalent in various jurisdictions, essentially suggests that a dog owner is not automatically liable for their pet's first bite or attack.


In simpler terms, the law tends to provide a degree of leniency to pet owners for the first dog bite case, assuming that the owner may not have been aware of their dog's aggressive tendencies.


While this doctrine outlines a general guideline, legal matters are rarely black and white. Owners in Ohio may present certain defenses, such as trespassing on the part of the injured party or provocation.


These aspects complicate matters, emphasizing the importance of a case-by-case examination. A personal injury lawyer can help the dog bite victim prove liability and pursue compensation for their wounds. They can also advise on what the statute of limitations for dog bite in Ohio is.


Who Cannot File a Dog Bite Claim?


Surprisingly, the pet owner involved in the Ohio dog bite case is generally excluded from filing a claim. This may seem counterintuitive, but the legal premise is built on the owner's assumed responsibility for their pet's actions. Essentially, if their own dog bites them, the court limits compensation to the dog's owner.


1. Trespassers

If a person is trespassing on private property or engaging in criminal activities at the time of the incident, their ability to file a dog bite injury claim is restricted. Courts often consider the circumstances surrounding the dog attack to determine the claim's legitimacy.


2. Dog Handlers

People handling or caring for dangerous dogs as part of their profession, such as trainers or veterinarians, may find their ability to file dog bite lawsuits limited.


This restriction highlights the assumption that professionals know the inherent risks of working closely with animals.


3. Negligent Passersby

States often employ the concept of contributory negligence. This means that if the person bitten played a role in provoking the dog or acted negligently in a way that contributed to the accident, their ability to file a successful dog bite lawsuit may be diminished.


However, the dog's owner will still be liable for not controlling the animal or attaching a leash to it (shorter than six feet in length).


Common Compensation for Dog Bites


In the wake of a traumatic animal attack incident, the toll goes beyond the physical dog bite wounds. Beyond the scars, a ripple effect touches lives, careers, and mental well-being.


Lost Wages

The repercussions of dog bites extend to the professional side of life, often disrupting the victim's ability to earn a livelihood. Lost wages become a stark reality for those grappling with recovery.


Medical Expenses

The immediate aftermath of a dangerous dog bite often entails a flurry of medical expenses - emergency room visits, surgeries, and follow-up treatments.


Canine bites may cause cuts or tears in the skin, especially if the bite is forceful. Lacerations can vary in severity and may require stitches for proper healing. Infections are also common and may need medical attention, including antibiotics.


In more severe cases, particularly with larger or stronger dogs, the force of a push can lead to fractures or broken bones. This can happen, for example, if the animal pushes the victim from the stairs. As a result, compensation for medical expenses is a lifeline for victims burdened by the weight of unexpected bills.


Mental Trauma

The scars left by a dog bite are not solely physical; the emotional toll can be deep. Mental trauma compensation acknowledges the fear, restlessness, and anguish that may linger long after the wounds have healed.


This recognition goes beyond the visible, offering support for the emotional journey towards reclaiming a sense of safety and well-being.


Ongoing Treatment

Unfortunately, for many dog bite survivors, the road to recovery doesn't end with the initial medical interventions. Ongoing treatments, be it therapy sessions, counseling, or specialized care, are often necessary to address the lasting effects of the incident.


How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help in Dog Bite Cases?

How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help in Dog Bite Cases?


Good dog bite lawyers in Cincinnati OH know the ins and outs of dog bite laws. They can explain the victim's rights, such as whether they are eligible for maximum compensation.


Attorneys also dig deep to get the facts straight. They'll look into the incident, gathering evidence such as medical records, witness statements, and checking if the pet has a history of aggressive behavior.


Paperwork can be a headache. Qualified lawyers understand the intricacies of the dog bite law. They can handle the legal filings and deadlines, ensuring everything's done correctly and within the statute of limitations.


Most cases settle before reaching court. Attorneys are good at negotiating, striving to secure the best settlement for their clients without the stress of a trial. They can also collect vital evidence against the dog's owner, speeding up the negotiation process.


Final Words


The legal framework regarding dog bites is not a one-size-fits-all scenario. While Ohio places a significant burden on pet owners, there are instances where they may mount a defense against a lawsuit.


Suppose the victim was trespassing, provoking the dog, or engaged in any unlawful activity at the time of the incident. In that case, the owner might argue that their actions contributed to the attack.


It's crucial for victims to understand these potential defenses and how they might impact their case. Timing is also key when considering legal action. In the Buckeye State, victims of dog bites have six years from the date of the incident to file a lawsuit and hold the dog owner liable.


Waiting too long can jeopardize their chances of receiving compensation, so it's essential to consult a legal professional as soon as possible.


A qualified attorney can negotiate with the dog owner's insurance company. They can help both parties reach a fair settlement without a lengthy trial by helping answer questions like What is the dog bite law in Ohio?


The lawyers at Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys offer free consultation sessions to all personal injury victims. Stating, "We Go to War for You," these professionals know how to navigate the complexities of dog bite cases.

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