Columbus Dog Bite Lawyer

Dog Bite Attacks

There are 4.7 million dog bite victims each year. Dog attacks represent some of the most gruesome personal injuries that are suffered, particularly when a child is involved. DogBiteLaw.com reports that severe dog bite injuries occur almost exclusively in children under the age of 10 and 77% of the injuries are facial.

During 1997 and 1998, at least 27 people died as the result of dog bite attacks. Of those fatalities, nineteen (70%) were children between 1 and 11 months, nine were between 1 and 4 years old, six were between 5 and 11 years old, and eight were adults.

Unfortunately, children are attacked even when they follow all of the dog safety rules their parents and schools have taught them.

Ohio has a strict liability dog bite statute that states that the owner of a dog is liable for damages inflicted by his/her dog if it bites a person who is either in a public place or lawfully on the dog owner’s property (invitee or guest). O.R.C. Ann. 955.28. The dog owner is liable regardless of whether the dog had ever been vicious before and regardless of whether the owner had reason to believe it would behave in a vicious manner. The dog does not get one free bite. The only defenses to the strict liability statute arise where the injured party provoked the dog O.R.C. Ann. 955.28. In essence, the dog’s owner is an insurer of the dog.

In addition, the old common law approach is also available for injured plaintiffs. Under the traditional approach, if the owner knows or has reason to know of the dog’s violent propensities, the owner of the dog is liable for damages caused by the dog. Due to the enactment of the strict liability statute, this type of theory is not normally employed.

Do I have a case?

If you or a loved one has been bitten or attacked by a neighbor’s dog, a friend’s dog or even a stranger’s dog they can be held responsible for the attack and all medical bills, emotional trauma and any physical disfigurement or disabilities that are a direct result of the dog attack.

If a stray bites you, you have little legal recourse because you must file your claim against a dog’s owner or keeper. Your municipality is not responsible for the dog, even if you have called the animal warden several times to pick up the stray.

What can I do?

In all dog bite cases it is essential that measures be taken promptly to preserve evidence, investigate the incident in question, and to enable physicians or other expert witnesses to thoroughly evaluate any injuries.

If you or a loved one have suffered a dog bite

If so, please contact GBM Law at 614-222-4444 / 877-706-6446. Our initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to accept your case, we will work on a contingent fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary award or recovery of funds on your behalf. You may have a valid claim and be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but a lawsuit must be filed before the statute of limitations expires.

 

FAQs

How do I know if I have a case?

In Ohio, there is a law on the books that holds a dog owner strictly liable for ANY injury caused by a dog. This means that you may have a case even if the dog didn’t injure you by biting you but by tripping you or causing you harm in some other way. Therefore, if you have been harmed by a dog in ANY way, you may have a case.

 

What does “strictly liable” mean?

“Strictly liable” means that someone — in this case, a dog owner — is responsible for injuries caused no matter what, but for very limited exceptions. In Ohio, those exceptions are if the person harmed was teasing or tormenting the dog or trespassing on the dog owner’s property.

 

Will a dog owner’s insurance cover my case?

Typically, either a dog owner’s homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy will cover dog bite cases. However, oftentimes, a dog owner is not willing to give their insurance information, which is why it is important to hire an attorney to launch an investigation into insurance coverage and other matters as soon as possible.

What types of damages am I owed due to a dog bite/dog injury case?

The damages that one is owed due to harm caused by a dog include compensation for medical bills, time off of work due to medical care, and for pain and suffering. 

 

What if a dog bite/dog attack causes permanent scarring to me or a family member?

A person who suffers scarring due to a dog attack is owed compensation for scarring. This falls under the category of damages for “future harm.” Things such as compensation for future medical care and future pain and suffering that comes with the physical and emotional pain that comes with permanent scarring. This is yet another reason to hire a competent attorney, as an insurance company may not alert you to this fact.