When dogs bite, they can inflict injuries that may even result in loss of life. If you have been bitten by a dog in Ohio, you may be able to file a dog bite claim and work with a Columbus, OH dog bite lawyer to assist with your claim.
Any dog may be involved in an attack against an innocent victim. When such attacks occur, victims often escape with varying degrees of injuries. Dog bites may even lead to the victim passing away. For example, in 2020 alone, about 46 US citizens died from dog bites.
Ohio law holds dog owners responsible for any attacks on other people. Injured Columbus residents may be able to file dog bite injury claims against the dog owners. However, they may have a better chance of receiving compensation if they hire a Columbus dog bite lawyer. Babin Law has experienced dog bite injury attorneys that can take a look at your case.
Can I Sue for a Dog Bite in Ohio?
Suppose you suffer the grueling experience of a dog bite in Ohio. Ohio’s animal bite statutes allow you to hold the owner accountable for your injuries. If a dedicated dog bite lawyer takes on your case, they can guide you through the legal process and help ensure you get a fair settlement.
This may be done by filing a claim with the owner’s insurance company. Some animal owners include bite incidents in their insurance policies. Therefore, you can recover compensation to the extent of their insurance coverage. Beyond this amount, the dog owner would be personally responsible for paying any damages for your bite injury.
Sometimes, animal attacks result in the death of the bite victim. In such cases, the deceased’s estate can also file a wrongful death claim. Furthermore, in Ohio, the dog doesn’t need to have a history of bad behavior or bite accidents. Instead, you can sue the owner even if you’re the first person their dog bites.
Exceptions to Dog Bite Liability in Ohio
Generally, Ohio imposes strict liability on Ohio dog owners for bite incidents. However, there are exceptions to this strict liability. We explain some of such instances below.
If the injury victim were trespassing on the dog owner’s property, the owner wouldn’t be liable for any bites. An attempted trespass can also remove the strict liability. Furthermore, if the person were trying to commit a criminal offense, a dog bite wouldn’t create liability. Notably, though, the crime mustn’t be a “minor misdemeanor.”
If the dog were teased, tormented, or abused, the owner wouldn’t be liable if the dog bites its attacker in defense. In addition, the plaintiff would have to prove they didn’t tease, torment, or abuse the dog.
Both actions can provoke the dog to attack a person. If the dog does, it wouldn’t matter that the victim was acting innocently or unintentionally. However, the case is different if the dog bit a child. Again, Ohio law protects solicitors, such as door-to-door salespersons, from dog bites, even if they don’t have permits.
How Much Is a Dog Bite Lawyer?
Many Ohio residents with dog bite wounds are hesitant to file a dog bite claim. They're often skeptical because of the costs of hiring an experienced dog bite lawyer. This fear is understandable because medical bills are already high. Therefore, adding the costs of hiring bite attorneys may be too much to bear.
Fortunately, there’s a way out. Like most personal injury attorneys, Ohio dog bite lawyers also work on a contingency fee basis. A contingency fee arrangement means that personal injury clients don’t pay any upfront fees. Instead, they pay the attorney fees from their settlement or judgment amount.
Therefore, if your attorney doesn’t win the case, you don’t have to pay them. Additionally, some factors can reduce or increase the amount of compensation awarded.
Do I Have to Report an Ohio Dog Bite Incident?
Yes, an injured party in Ohio has to report the dog bite to relevant authorities. If a dog bites you in Ohio, you have only 24 hours to report the attack. You can file a report with the local health commissioner. Furthermore, this notification will trigger an investigation. The result of this investigation can thus help when you file a dog bite claim.
If you don’t file a claim, the treating physician can report your injuries. Similarly, a veterinarian who witnessed a dog bite must report the bite incident. Beyond the local health commissioner, you can call the following for help:
- Animal Care and Control
- Columbus Health Department
A Columbus dog bite report should include:
- A description of the dog that bit you
- The contact details of the dog’s owners
- Your name
- The dog bite scene
- A description of how the bite occurred
After reporting the bite, the health commissioner will conduct a rabies assessment. The dog may also be quarantined at a kernel or pound for about ten days.
Recoverable Damages in Ohio Dog Bite Claims
After dog bite attacks, injury victims can recover various types of damages from the responsible party – the dog’s owner. All dog attacks are different. However, all of them have similar damage headings. So, you can recover:
- Medical Expenses: Medical care is the first step after an Ohio dog bite. So, you can recover your medical bills, hospital transportation, costs of surgeries, etc.
- Future Medical Bills: The dog attack may make you require future care. These would include rehabilitation, physical therapy, prescription drugs, etc. Therefore, you can recover compensation for these bills.
- Lost Wages: The fault party can keep you out of work for a while. If this happens, you can claim the wages you would have earned but for the dog bite.
- Loss of Earning Capacity: A dog bite can significantly reduce your ability to work. This would thus affect your earning capacity. So, you can recover compensation for this diminished capacity.
- Pain and Suffering: Pain and suffering refer to the physical pain and emotional suffering the accident caused you. These are non-economic damages, and the insurer or court has various methods for calculating what you deserve.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Ohio Dog Bite Claims?
You don’t have forever to file a dog bite claim in Ohio. Instead, the statute of limitations has a definite time frame for filing your lawsuit. There’s no specific statute of limitations for dog bite suits in Ohio. Instead, it’s the general Ohio personal injury statute that applies here. So, you have two years to file your dog bite claim in Ohio.
Your time starts to count from the day the dog bites you. If you institute a late claim, the courts would most likely deny you access. Therefore, contacting a Columbus dog bite law firm early gives you a better chance of winning your claim. This is because they can ensure you start the legal process early.
Our Columbus, Ohio Dog Bite Lawyers May Be Able to Help You!
In 2017, Ohio had the highest number of dog bite fatalities. Therefore, bite attacks are pretty severe in the state. So, have you been bitten by a dog in Columbus, Ohio? If you have, then you can file a legal claim against the dog owner. In addition, you may recover compensation from the fault party.
However, having a team of experienced Columbus dog bite attorneys may be a good option for you. At Babin Law, our legal team has extensive experience in winning bite injury claims. So if we're able to take on your case, we will try to get you the maximum compensation for your injuries. Call our law firm to see if you're eligible for legal assistance.