Dog Bite Laws to Know in Ohio
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Michelle Martin with The Martin Law Firm.
Like many states, Ohio takes a strict approach to dog bites. Animal attacks in this state are subject to many of the same rules, requirements, and deadlines of any other personal injury claim. In fact, under strict liability law, the injured party does not need to prove that the dog’s owner was negligent in allowing the attack to occur, merely that it was indeed their animal that caused the injury. When a domestic animal causes injury to another party, that party may be eligible to file a personal injury claim against the animal’s owner to seek compensation for their damages.
Ohio is a strict liability state when it comes to dog bites.
Under strict liability law, the owner of a dog that bites someone may be liable for the bite-victim’s injuries and resulting damages, regardless of whether or not the bite arose from their own negligence. While some other states may require the victim to prove that the bite could have been prevented by reasonable attention from the dog’s owner, Ohio does not require victims to meet this burden of proof. Even if the dog’s owner did not play a direct part or act negligently in the event that occurred, they are considered fully liable for their animal’s behavior and any damages that animal causes.
There are some exceptions to the strict liability dog bite rule.
While there are not many exceptions to this rule, there are a few notable ones. If the dog bite occurred when the victim was teasing, tormenting, or abusing the animal, the dog’s owner may not be liable. Similarly, if the bite victim was trespassing or committing another criminal act at the time of the attack, the dog’s owner may not be considered liable for the resulting damages. While these circumstances are few and far between, they are some of the most common and effective defenses against a dog bite claim.
Pet owners can mitigate their liability risk by taking precautionary measures.
One of the best ways that dog owners can protect themselves legally, as well as physically protecting the people who may come into contact with their animal is to think ahead. Even if your animal has not exhibited any previous signs of aggression, it’s a good idea to use caution when introducing the animal to a new person or environment, and maintain control of the dog at all times. A great way to head off aggressive behavior may also be to enroll the dog in behavior training, as well as exposing the animal to other dogs and people early in its life. If a dog has already exhibited signs of aggression, it is even more important to make sure the animal is confined via a strong leash, fence, or kennel whenever there are other people or animals around. If these or another method of confinement are in need of repair, these repairs should be made immediately to prevent the perfect storm.
To learn more about dog bite laws in Ohio, or for help filing a claim if you or a loved one were injured in an animal attack, reach out to a dog bite attorney in your area.