Being attacked by a dog is a terrifying experience that no one should have to go through.
Ohio dog bite laws make dog owners responsible for the actions of their animals.
A keeper or harborer of a dog—such as a dog walker—may also be held responsible for a dog’s actions.
If you suffered injury from a dog bite or other dog attack, you have the right to seek compensation.
An Ohio dog bite lawyer can help you determine whether you have a case.
How Does the Ohio Dog Bite Statute Work?
Ohio dog bite law imposes strict liability for injuries caused by dogs. This means that you don’t have to prove negligence to seek compensation. Dog owners are responsible to protect the public from their dog, even if the dog has never bitten someone or shown any aggressive tendencies.
And dog bite laws don’t apply just to bites. You can get compensation for any injury or property damage caused by a dog. So if a dog knocked you to the ground or destroyed your expensive landscaping, you may have a claim.
What Is the Difference Between Strict Liability and Negligence?
Strict liability and negligence are two alternatives for proving liability.
Most of the time, you have to prove negligence to recover damages in a personal injury case. This means that you have to prove someone caused your damages by breaching a duty of care, such as by acting carelessly or recklessly.
Strict liability applies to circumstances involving inherent dangers that no amount of care can fully guard against. For accidents governed by strict liability, like Ohio dog bites, you can get compensation without proving that anyone did anything wrong.
You can pursue a dog bite case in Ohio based on either negligence or strict liability.
When Would I Bring a Negligence Claim in a Dog Bite Case?
When a dog injures you, you can seek compensatory damages based on strict liability for things like:
- Medical bills,
- Property damage,
- Pain and suffering,
- Disfigurement, and
- Lost wages.
However, you can’t seek punitive damages in a strict liability case. Punitive damages are reserved for cases where the defendant behaved egregiously and deserves to be punished.
If you think that this occurred in your case, you would need to prove not only that the defendant was negligent, but that they were grossly negligent.
Gross negligence occurs when someone acts intentionally or with reckless disregard for the safety of others.
For example, if the owner knew that their dog was aggressive and had caused serious injury before, but the owner let the dog run around the neighborhood unsupervised, you might be able to show that they were grossly negligent.
Are There Exceptions I Should Be Aware of?
There are three main exceptions that might prevent you from recovering damages under the dog bite laws in Ohio:
- You provoked the dog by “teasing, tormenting, or abusing” it;
- You were attempting to commit a crime; or
- You were trespassing at the time of the attack.
Solicitors are explicitly protected by the Ohio dog bite laws, even if they did not have proper solicitation permits, as long as they were on the property only for the purpose of soliciting and didn’t provoke the dog.
How Long Do I Have to File a Dog Bite Claim?
The Ohio statute of limitations for personal injury applies to dog bite claims. It gives you two years from the date of the injury to file suit. If you do not file within the limitations period, you may be barred from pursuing compensation.
How Can I Start My Claim?
If you suffered injury caused by a dog in Ohio, you should contact a dog bite attorney right away. Aaron Bensinger has helped many clients throughout Northwest Ohio with their dog bite claims, and he is well-versed in Ohio dog bite law.
He has recovered hundreds of thousands of dollars for victims of personal injury just like you. Call or contact Bensinger Law today for a free consultation, and learn how Aaron can help with your claim.