Ohio, with its picturesque landscapes and friendly neighborhoods, is a haven for dog lovers. But what happens when a man’s best friend turns aggressive? If you’ve been bitten, you’re not alone. And there’s a legal secret that many dog owners hope you never discover. As you navigate the aftermath of a dog bite, it’s crucial to arm yourself with knowledge. Let’s dive into the heart of the matter.
Ohio’s Dog Bite Law
Ohio operates under a “strict liability” dog bite statute. In layman’s terms? If a dog bites someone, the owner is generally liable, even if the dog has never shown signs of aggression before, except when the person bitten is a trespasser or the owner or keeper of the dog. This contrasts with the “one-bite” rule that some states follow, where owners are only liable if they knew their dog was dangerous.
Why is this a secret?
Many dog owners are unaware of this statute or hope that victims remain in the dark. Why? Because it places a heavy responsibility on them. They can’t simply claim ignorance about their dog’s behavior.
The Victim’s Path: What You Should Do
If you’ve been bitten, the steps you take next are crucial. Not just for your health, but for any potential legal action.
- Seek Medical Attention: Always prioritize your health. Some dog bites can lead to infections or other complications.
- Document Everything: Take photos of the injury, the location, and if possible, the dog. Gather witness statements if there are any.
- Report the Incident: Notify local authorities or animal control. This ensures there’s an official record.
- Contact a Dog Bite Lawyer: This is where the expertise of a firm like Slater & Zurz becomes invaluable. They can guide you through the legal maze and ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
The Dog Owner’s Defense: What to Expect
While Ohio’s strict liability statute seems straightforward, dog owners might still mount a defense. Common defenses include:
- Provocation: Claiming that the victim provoked the dog.
- Trespassing: Arguing that the victim was unlawfully on the owner’s property.
- Knowledge: Stating that the victim knew the risks but still chose to interact with the dog.
Understanding these defenses helps victims and their attorneys prepare a robust case.
Compensation: What Can You Claim?
If you’ve been bitten, you might be facing medical bills, lost wages, and emotional trauma. Ohio law allows victims to claim:
- Medical Expenses: Covering everything from emergency care to ongoing treatments.
- Lost Wages: If the injury forced you to miss work.
- Pain and Suffering: For the emotional and physical trauma endured.
Why Choose Slater & Zurz?
Navigating the legal waters after a dog bite can be daunting. But with a seasoned dog bite lawyer by your side, the journey becomes smoother. Slater & Zurz boasts over 31 years of experience in handling dog bite cases in Ohio. Their expertise ensures that victims get the justice and compensation they deserve.
Being bitten by a dog can be a traumatic experience. But armed with the right knowledge and the right legal team, victims can find justice. Ohio’s strict liability statute is a powerful tool, but only if used correctly.
If you or a loved one has been bitten in Ohio, don’t remain in the shadows. Reach out to Slater & Zurz today and let a dedicated dog bite lawyer guide you through the process. Your rights matter. Stand up for them.