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What legal options do you have if bitten by a dog?

Dogs are many things to many people. They can be man’s best friend, a childhood playmate, a trial-run for having children. While many dogs pose no risk, others represent a danger to society. With 6 in 10 U.S. households owning a dog, the chances are good that you live near good dogs, bad dogs, and every kind of dog in between.

So, how does Ohio handle dog bite cases and what legal options does the injured party have?

Ohios One Bite Statute

In Ohio, we have a one bite statute which holds dog owners liable for any injury caused by their dog. This covers injuries from dog bites or injuries resulting from being knocked down by a dog. The circumstances leading up to the injury matter significantly.

Strict liability vs negligence

If you are injured by a dog and decide to pursue a lawsuit, your case will be either strict liability or that of negligence.

  • Strict liability- If the owner was not negligent, the injured party can only seek compensatory damages (to make up for costs incurred by the injury). The injured party cannot seek punitive damages, or compensation exceeding the costs incurred.
  • Negligence- If you can prove that the dog owner’s negligence contributed to your injury, you have a case for both compensatory and punitive damages. Negligence may include the owner’s prior knowledge that the dog was dangerous, not securing the animal with a leash, etc.

Deciding whether to pursue strict liability or negligence often requires consultation with a legal professional who has represented dog bite victims in the past. They will be able to assess the case and determine which best applies to your situation.

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The Law Office of Anthony Gurvis