Blog

What Are the Laws Regarding Dog Bite Liability in Ohio?

Dog Bite Liability in Ohio

Ohio dog bite laws
Over the millennia, dogs have more than earned their reputation as “man’s best friend”. When these animals are not cared for, even friendly of dogs can turn dangerous. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) reports that dogs will bite 4.7 million people this year. Those bites will lead 800,000 Americans to seek professional medical attention. Dog owners have a legal duty to protect the public from any threats posed by their animal. When they fail to live up to that responsibility, the dog owner can is liable for a victim’s injuries.
Today our experienced Cleveland dog bite attorneys discuss how the dog bite laws work in the state of Ohio:

Ohio Dog Bite Law: Two Causes of Action

Strict Liability

Section 955.28 of the Ohio Revised Code states that dog owners are ‘strictly liable’ for damages or injuries caused by their animal. This means that a Court can impose liability without a finding of ‘fault’. A victim does not always have to prove that a dog owner was negligent to seek compensation. Ohio views dogs as an inherent public safety threat. Dog owners, keepers, and harborers have heightened duties. They must take proactive steps to protect innocent people from their animal.

Common Law Negligence

Under Ohio’s common law, an injured victim can also bring a dog bite claims on the basis that the dog owner’s ‘negligence’ did actually cause the attack. In common law cases, fault becomes that main issue in the case. While proving fault is a much higher standard, it opens up the possibility of recovering additional compensation. In some limited cases, Ohio dog bite victims can recover punitive damages. These damages are not directly tied to the victim’s injuries or losses. Instead, they punish the bad actions of the defendant.

Who Is Liable for a Dog Bite Injury?

Ohio law makes it very clear that dog owners, keepers and harborers may all bear liability for an attack. In most cases, victims will pursue compensation from a dog owner. Homeowner’s insurance policy is the most common type of insurance used in dog attacks. Though, in some cases, landlords and rental companies can also be liable for an attack.

Victims Must Be Ready for Legal Defenses

Even in strict liability dog bite cases, dog owners may try to defend the claim. Under the statute, the defendant can assert three legal defenses:

  1. The victim provoked the dog;
  2. The victim was trespassing at the time of the attack; and
  3. The victim was committing a crime at the time of the attack.

If any of these legal defenses can apply to a case, then the injured victim may have difficulties recovering any compensation.

Were You Injured By a Dog in Ohio?

We can help. At Tittle & Perlmuter, our personal injury attorneys have extensive experience handling Ohio dog bite injury claims. To learn more about what we can do for you, please contact us today to request your free initial consultation. We have offices in Cleveland, Lakewood, and Elyria, and represent injured victims throughout Northeastern Ohio.

Contact Us

First Name *

Last Name *

Phone Number *

Email *

Tell us what happened *
Captcha Verification*
 

Cleveland Office:
The United Bank Building
2012 W 25th St
#716
Cleveland, Ohio 44113
(888) 604-9299
Get Directions
Chardon Office:
100 Center St
#150
Chardon, Ohio 44024
Get Directions
Sandusky Office:
308 W Adams St 2nd Floor
Sandusky, Ohio 44870
Get Directions
Elyria Office:
124 Middle Ave
#500
Elyria, Ohio 44035
Get Directions

In order to stop the spread of COVID-19, the staff at Tittle & Perlmuter is working remotely, instead of from our offices throughout Northeast Ohio. The good news is that our law firm is fully functional from a remote basis. If you would like to schedule a video consultation with one of our attorneys, please call us at 216-285-9991.