Ohio Laws Regarding Dog Bite Injuries
Nearly 4.5 million people in the United States are injured by dogs every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Dog bites aren’t just scary, they can be dangerous and even life-threatening. Animals carry diseases which they can transfer to humans and their teeth can cause real damage.
Dog owners can be at risk for liability issues if their dog attacks someone. Victims can file a lawsuit against dog owners seeking compensation. In Ohio, there are some special restrictions regarding this type of personal injury case, however. Let’s take a closer look at the state’s laws regarding bite injuries and how they apply to both victims and dog owners.
Ohio’s One Bite Rule
In the state of Ohio, dogs don’t need to show a history of aggressive behavior to cause legal problems for their owners. There is a strict liability burden of proof in vigor for these cases. The “one bite” rule states that owners are liable even for the first injury their pet causes. This is different from other personal injury laws in Ohio involving negligence where the plaintiff’s lawyer must prove the owner had prior knowledge of the pet’s aggressiveness and failed to meet the duty of care.
Similar to other personal injury cases, in Ohio there is a two-year statute of limitations. This gives victims a set window of time in which a lawsuit must be filed. From the day on which the dog bite occurred, they have two years to begin the process of seeking compensation.
Liability for Dog Owners in Ohio
According to Section 955.28(B) of the Ohio Legal Code, dog ‘harborers’ are liable for any damages, injuries or death caused by their dog. A ‘harborer’ would be the adult responsible for the pet at the time of the incident: the owner, owner of the property where the dog lives (this usually doesn’t apply to landlords), or dog walker.
The law is applicable to dog bite wounds and other injuries – such as falls, harm to property or livestock – caused by the dog. It also covers door-to-door sales representatives, even if they do not have a proper permit.
Legal Recourse for Victims of Dog Bites in Ohio
Victims of pet injuries can get compensation for their medical bills, property damage, related loss of work and income, psychological harm, pain and suffering, as well as punitive damages. You can’t file a personal injury lawsuit for a dog bite, however, if you were trespassing on the property, committing a crime or provoking the animal somehow.
If the dog is killed while attacking a person or animal, that person is not liable to prosecution according to the penal laws regarding animal cruelty.
Anyone who has been bitten by a dog should first wash the wound with soap and water, it’s possible. Then, they should seek immediate medical attention. Bite victims are at risk for infection, they may need a rabies vaccination, stitches or plastic surgery to repair the damaged area. Next, you should get the contact information for the responsible party. Finally, discuss your legal options with a personal injury attorney.
Learn more about How to Collect Evidence for Personal Injury Cases.
Legal Recourse for Dog Owners in Ohio
What are your legal options if your dog has hurt someone? Pet owners should check with their homeowner’s insurance; less serious claims may be covered by your policy.
If a personal injury claim is brought against you as the pet owner, there are a number of legitimate legal defenses. Compensation for the victim may be denied, if:
- The victim was not committing or attempting to commit a crime,
- The injured person wasn’t trespassing at the time,
- The victim didn’t provoke the dog’s behavior or aggression.
Find out why It’s Important to Have a Personal Injury Lawyer handle your case.
Get Informed About Your Legal Options
If you have been injured by someone’s pet or they have caused damage to your property, you may be eligible for compensation. Find out what types of expenses may be covered in your case. Talk with a professional about your legal options and the best plan of recourse for you. Contact the experienced attorneys by calling 800-444-1967.