Ohio is not considered a “one free bite” state, which means that even when an owner had no idea that a dog was vicious or dangerous, he or she can still be held liable for injuries inflicted by the animal. Animal attacks can leave victims struggling with the pain of disfiguring injuries, while also trying to pay for treatment. Fortunately, Ohio law holds owners strictly liable for injuries inflicted by their dogs, so if you were injured by someone else’s dog, it is important to contact an experienced Maumee dog bite attorney who can help you seek compensation for your medical expenses.
Under Ohio’s strict liability statute, a person can be held liable for the injury, death, or property damage caused by his or her dog as long as:
If these requirements are satisfied, the injured party can recover damages for medical expenses and property damage from the person who either owned or harbored the dog at the time of the accident. This applies to all injuries caused by a dog and is not restricted to bites. For instance, if someone is walking down the street and a dog knocks him or her down, the injured party could file a strict liability claim against the dog’s owner.
Dog bite liability is also covered by Ohio’s common law, which means that an injured person can choose to file a negligence-based claim instead of a strict liability claim. In these situations, the plaintiff must prove that a dog’s owner failed to use reasonable care and that that failure resulted in the plaintiff’s injury. Unlike a strict liability claim, a negligence claim will probably require an injured party to demonstrate that the owner was aware that his or her animal had bitten or attacked someone in the past, but still failed to take reasonable steps to prevent injury to others.
The same damages are available to an injured party who files a negligence claim as are available under a strict liability claim. This includes compensation for medical bills, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, scarring, pain and suffering, and permanent injury. However, if a plaintiff can demonstrate that a dog’s owner acted with gross negligence or actual malice, he or she may also be eligible to receive punitive damages, which are not available under a strict liability claim.
Furthermore, if a person provoked the dog and was attacked, he or she would be unable to collect anything under a strict liability claim. However, under common law, this fact may only be considered a contributing factor, which means that the injured party would still be able to collect some compensation, although the amount would be reduced by his or her percentage of fault.
Collecting compensation from the owner of a vicious dog that attacked you can make all the difference in your ability to move on from this type of traumatic experience, so if you were bitten or attacked by a dog, please contact one of the knowledgeable and compassionate Maumee dog bite attorneys at Lafferty, Gallagher & Scott, LLC by calling 419-241-5500 today.
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