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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

How to File a Lawsuit for a Dog Bite in Ohio

A dog bite can be an incredibly traumatic experience. While injured victims can take a sigh of relief knowing that the law provides legal recourse, it's essential to understand the rules pertaining to filing dog bite claims or lawsuits to ensure a maximum chance of financial recovery.


Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys have a profound understanding of the Ohio dog bite laws and boast extensive practical experience fighting defendants and their insurance companies inside and outside of court. They're well-versed in how to file a lawsuit for slip and fall in Ohio. Injured victims in Cincinnati, Ohio, should reach out to them to discuss their case, as they may not have enough time left.


Ohio Is a Strict Liability State

Ohio Is a Strict Liability State


When it comes to dog bites in the United States, two main laws may govern these types of cases: the one-bite rule and strict liability. However, it is different in Ohio.


In most states across the country, the law does not punish the dog owner if their pet attacks someone for the first time. This is commonly referred to as the one-bite rule, where the legislation simply warns the defendant, promising severe action if such incidents happen again. 


Under this, injured victims must prove that the dog owner should've known or reasonably known about their pet's dangerous propensities. This can make it challenging for the affected party to pursue a dog bite claim or lawsuit to recover compensation. 


On the other hand, Ohio follows the strict liability rule, which holds the dog's owner liable for their pet's actions even if the canine has no history of vicious attacks or behavior. In such situations, the injured victim doesn't have to prove that the defendant knew or should've reasonably known about the dog's dangerous propensities. 


Ohio Also Has Dangerous Dog Restrictions


Besides adhering to the Ohio dog bite laws, dog owners must also follow the dangerous dog restrictions, which require the following: 


  • The dog's owner must always keep their pet on a leash.

  • If the canine is dangerous, it is the dog's owner's responsibility to lock the animal to prevent them from running at large. 

  • The dog owner must register their pet with the county auditor.

  • Under the rules, dog owners must inform potential buyers about their pet's dangerous propensities when selling their canine.

  • The dog must always have a tag that suggests that they're dangerous.


Dog owners must follow the strict restrictions placed upon them and their canines. If they fail to do so and their pet kills someone, they may be guilty of a fourth-degree felony, and the state will have to put down the animal. 


However, if the dog's owner followed all of the restrictions and rules prior to their pet injuring someone, the law will consider it a first-degree misdemeanor. Plus, the court will have to decide whether to end the animal's life.


Proving Ohio Dog Bite Claims and Lawsuits


Under the law, injured victims who were teasing, taunting, or torturing another person's canine prior to the traumatic incident may not be able to pursue a dog bite lawsuit against the pet's owner. Also, if they were trespassing or illegally traversing someone else's property, the dog owner may not be liable for the damages.


Whether it's a dog bite claim or a lawsuit, the injured victim must prove that they were legally present where the incident occurred. This is why it's crucial to investigate the facts surrounding the case to gather evidence. 


Adhering to the State's Statute of Limitations Is Important 


The statute of limitations refers to the maximum duration in which an injured victim can bring a civil action. Its main goal is to allow the plaintiff enough time to file a dog bite claim or lawsuit and protect the defendant from future litigation. 


Under the Ohio dog bite law, injured victims have six years from the date of the incident to pursue legal action. Failure to do so can bar them from seeking compensation.


However, the statute of limitations can vary. If the injured victim decides to pursue a negligence case against the dog's owner, they may only have two years from the date of the incident to file a claim or lawsuit. 


How to File a Lawsuit for a Dog Bite in Ohio


Here are the steps that the affected parties must take if they wish to bring a civil action:


Step 1: Seek Medical Attention

Dog bite wounds can lead to infection and other complications if left untreated. The injured victim must seek medical attention immediately and report the traumatic incident to the local health commissioner within 24 hours.  


Reporting a dog bite in Ohio is important, as authorities need to conduct a rabies exposure risk assessment, which requires placing the canine under quarantine for 10 days.


Step 2: Contact an Experienced Ohio Dog Bite Lawyer 

While Ohio follows the strict liability rule, dog bite victims may also be able to use negligence theory to build their claim. Either way, seeking compensation can be challenging and requires legal expertise and know-how to support the case. 


It's important for the injured victims to contact the Ohio dog bite lawyers at Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys to have their cases assessed. They can determine the facts surrounding the claim and identify the best option. They're also able to help with how to file a lawsuit for wrongful death in Ohio.


Legal representation can give the affected party peace of mind, knowing that their interests will remain protected. It also instills the confidence to demand fair compensation from the dog owner's insurance company.


Step 3: Investigate the Dog Bite Case

To prove dog bite cases, attorneys investigate the incident to gather as much evidence as possible. This may include CCTV footage, photographs of the bite marks, and witness statements, among many others. 


Step 4: Pursue Legal Action 

After the dog bite attorney in Cincinnati investigates the case and determines liability, they must either pursue a claim or lawsuit against the dog owner and their insurance company. There are stark differences between these two types of action. 


A dog bite claim refers to a written legal demand addressed to the dog owner and their insurer, informing them of the devastating incident and requesting a certain amount of damages. 


Upon receiving it, the insurance company assigns the case to a claims adjuster, who can negotiate and settle or deny it.


On the other hand, a dog bite lawsuit refers to a civil action that the injured victim brings in court. The case may proceed to trial if the parties involved fail to agree on a settlement amount. 


Most attorneys start by filing a claim and negotiating fair compensation. If the insurer fails to settle, the plaintiff's lawyer may take matters to the court.


Step 5: Settle or Go to Trial

When the dog bite lawsuit begins, both parties must exchange evidence, documents, and critical information during the discovery phase. This allows each side to learn more about the case and gives them another opportunity to settle their differences. 


However, if there is no mutual agreement between the parties over a settlement, the case proceeds to trial, and the judge or jury will have to decide the verdict.


Contact a Top-rated Ohio Dog Bite Attorney for Legal Representation Today!

Contact a Top-rated Ohio Dog Bite Attorney for Legal Representation Today!


Those who have suffered dog bite injuries in Cincinnati, Ohio, should call Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys to schedule a free consultation. We can help the victim circumnavigate the intricacies of a dog bite injury claim or lawsuit, build a strong case, and hold the defendant responsible for their losses!

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