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Learn About Ohio Dog Bite Law and Dangerous Dog Statutes

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If you or your child has been bitten by a dog that belongs to someone else in the State of Ohio, you will probably be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Call our dog bite lawyers for a free consultation.

In Ohio, the owner of a dog has strict liability for the control of that animal. This means that, unless the dog was being teased or a crime was committed, the owner or keeper will be responsible for any injury, death, or personal loss caused by the dog.

Strict liability means that the injured person does not have to prove the owner was negligent in securing the dog or that the owner had knowledge of the dog’s “dangerous propensities.” Only the dog’s actions determine liability under Ohio’s dog bite statute.

At the same time, the Ohio Supreme Court recently ruled that a dog bite victim may sue under the strict liability statute and a negligence cause of action.

Pursuing both causes of action allows a dog bite victim in Ohio to sue for punitive damages, which can triple the monetary damage award.

Damages that you may be entitled to recover from the owner or keeper of the dog that bit you or your child can include pain, mental suffering, permanent scarring, temporary or permanent disability, loss of future earning capacity, loss of quality of life, medical expenses to treat the injury, cosmetic services to improve the appearance of the injury, psychological counseling, damaged clothing, and loss of income. This list is by no means exhaustive.

Most of the time, any money recovered from the owner or keeper of the dog is covered by the homeowner’s insurance.

What To Do When A Dog Bites You or Your Child

Only about one out of every six dog bites winds up with a serious injury, and, hopefully, your injury is not serious. However, you should always take these precautions if a dog attacks you:

  1. Seek immediate medical treatment. Don’t worry about trying to sue someone, but do try to take photographs of the injuries before the treatment starts.
  2. Record the dog owner’s or handler’s names, and call witnesses, along with contact information.
  3. Report the incident immediately to your local animal control authority. Don’t think that the medical report from the emergency room will be a sufficient record of the incident.
  4. If the injury is serious, requiring stitches, surgery, or a hospital stay, contact a dog bite lawyer. The statute of limitations for a dog bite injury in Ohio is six years. In the case of a minor, that six years begins on the child’s eighteenth birthday.

Ohio’s Dangerous Dogs Statutes

Ohio has a separate statute for pit bulls and other “dangerous dogs.” These animals are regulated under Ohio Revised Code Section 955.22. It may also be a crime if one of them has bitten you.

What are those other dogs?

Besides pit bulls, the Centers for Disease Control has identified several breeds of dogs that account for most dog bites in the country. These “high-risk” breeds include:

  • Rottweilers
  • German Shepherds
  • Alaskan Malamutes
  • Doberman Pinschers
  • Chows
  • Great Danes
  • Saint Bernards
  • Akitas
  • Huskies

Pit bulls are considered dangerous by definition under Ohio law. All other dogs get a “one bite” rule, which means that the dog has had to show a “dangerous propensity” once before in its life.

Dangerous and vicious dogs must be penned in or securely tied under Ohio law.

In Ohio, the owner of a vicious dog must maintain a liability insurance policy providing coverage of not less than $100,000 for damages caused by the dog.

If a dog has bitten you or your child, please contact us by calling 1-888-534-4850 to discuss your case for free with an experienced Ohio personal injury lawyer, or send us a Blog Message to schedule a time to talk.

We advocate strongly on behalf of injured victims of dog bites across Ohio, with convenient locations in Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, and Toledo.