What are the Ohio Dog Bite Laws?

What are the Ohio Dog Bite Laws?

Ohio has specific statutes and regulations concerning dog ownership and liability when bites or attacks occur. Understanding these laws is essential for dog owners and victims alike, as they outline the responsibilities and potential legal repercussions of dog bite incidents. In this blog, we will delve into the details of Ohio dog bite laws, explore how liability is determined, and discuss how victims may seek compensation for injuries sustained under personal injury law.

Understanding Ohio Statute Section 955.28(B)

Ohio operates under a strict liability dog bite statute. This means that dog owners are held responsible for any injury, death, or loss to person or property that is caused by their dog. According to Ohio Revised Code Section 955.28(B), it is not necessary for the victim to prove that the dog owner was negligent or that the dog had a history of aggression.

Exceptions to Strict Liability

While Ohio’s strict liability statute is quite comprehensive, there are a few key exceptions:

  • Trespassing: If the victim was trespassing or committing a criminal act on the property where the bite occurred, the dog owner might not be held liable.
  • Provocation: If the dog was provoked into attacking or biting, the owner might not be held liable for the injuries caused by their pet.
  • Criminal Act: If the victim was committing or attempting to commit a criminal act against the dog owner or another person at the time of the bite, liability may not apply.

When Negligence Comes into Play

In addition to strict liability, Ohio dog bite cases may involve negligence. If an owner’s failure to exercise reasonable care resulted in a bite, the victim could claim negligence in addition to the statutory liability. This can include situations where a dog was left unattended in an area where it could interact with people without being restrained or where an owner ignored leash laws which then led to an attack.

Potential Defenses for Dog Owners

Dog owners have a few defenses they may use to fight claims against them:

  • The dog owner may provide evidence that the victim provoked the dog.
  • The owner could argue that the victim was committing a crime or trespassing at the time of the incident.
  • The owner may also claim that they were not the owner or keeper of the dog at the time of the bite.

Understanding these defenses is crucial for both owners and victims as they navigate the legal aftermath of a dog bite.

The Role of Personal Injury Law

Victims of dog bites can seek compensation through personal injury law. In the context of dog bites, personal injury law allows victims to recover damages for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering caused by the injury. In Ohio, there is a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims, which includes dog bite cases. This means that claims should be filed within two years of the bite to ensure that victims retain their right to compensation.

What to Do After a Dog Bite in Ohio

According to the Dayton personal injury lawyers at the Brannon Law Firm, you should take the following steps to strengthen a personal injury claim:

  1. Seek Medical Attention: Immediate medical care not only addresses health concerns but also provides documentation of injuries, which is critical for any claim.
  2. Report the Incident: File a report with local authorities or animal control to create an official record of the incident.
  3. Collect Evidence: Take photos of injuries and the location where the bite occurred. Gather contact information from witnesses.
  4. Keep Records: Maintain detailed records of medical treatments, costs, and any other expenses related to the injury.
  5. Contact an Attorney: An experienced personal injury attorney can guide victims through the legal process and work to secure fair compensation.

Considerations for Dog Owners

Dog owners in Ohio should ensure that they are acting responsibly to minimize the risk of their dog biting someone. They can do this by:

  • Training and socializing their dogs properly to prevent aggressive behavior.
  • Adhering to local leash laws and other ordinances designed to protect the public.
  • Considering the purchase of homeowner’s or renter’s insurance that covers dog bite liabilities.
  • Being vigilant in situations where their dog interacts with strangers or other animals.

Ohio’s dog bite statutes are designed to protect the public and ensure that victims of dog attacks are fairly compensated for their injuries. Both dog owners and victims should understand their rights and responsibilities under these laws. By staying informed and prepared, Ohio residents can navigate the aftermath of a dog bite with greater clarity and efficiency.


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