Ohio dogs often inflict injuries and death on individuals. So, learn everything about Ohio dog bite claims and why you need a Columbus OH dog bite lawyer.
US citizens, especially Ohio residents, are great dog lovers who often care for their dogs correctly. But, unfortunately, these same dogs can attack innocent passers-by. When such attacks occur, victims often escape with varying degrees of severe injuries. Dog bites could even cause the victim’s deaths. For example, in 2020 alone, about 46 US citizens died from dog bites.
That’s why it’s great that Ohio law holds dog owners responsible for any attacks on other people. Wounded Columbus residents can file dog bite injury claims against the dog owners. However, they’ll need an excellent Columbus dog bite lawyer. Fortunately, Babin Law has the experienced dog bite injury attorneys to help you.
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. A dedicated dog bite lawyer can guide you through the legal process and ensure you get a fair settlement. Firstly, you can institute a personal injury lawsuit.
Conversely, you can file a claim with the owner’s insurance company. Some animal owners include bite incidents in their insurance policies. Therefore, you can recover fair 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. This will also be the case where they can’t negotiate a settlement. Notably, you’ll have to agree upon the percentage before your attorney takes up the case. Usually, the contingency fee is about 0ne-third (33%) of the settlement or judgment amount. However, some factors can reduce or increase this amount. Relevant factors here include the length of negotiation and the resources your lawyer invests in the claim.
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, it’s best to contact a Columbus dog bite law firm early. This is because they can ensure you start the legal process early.
Columbus, Ohio Dog Bite Lawyers Can 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 recover compensation from the fault party.
However, you’ll need the best Columbus dog bite attorneys. At Babin Law, our legal team has extensive experience in winning bite injury claims. So, we can get you the maximum compensation for your injuries. It’ll thus be best to call our law firm for legal assistance.