Every year millions of people are bitten by dangerous dogs and require significant medical treatmentThe State of Ohio’s dog bite statute makes a dog owner, harborer, or keeper strictly liable for injury caused by the dog to a person or the property of a person, including that person's own dog.  An owner is the person whom the dog belongs to, a keeper is the person who has physical charge or care of the dog, and a harborer is the person who has possession and control of the premises where the dog lives.

In Ohio, a dog bite victim can recover for their injuries under a common law lawsuit, under a lawsuit based on Ohio’s Dog Bite Statute, or under both at the same time.  A common law lawsuit requires proof that the owner of the dog acted negligently in failing to control the dog and/or in failing to prevent the dog bite from occurring. However, if you are able to prove that a dog owner acted with gross negligence or malice, punitive damages maybe recoverable under common law.

A dog owner, harborer, or keeper may also be liable for failing to stop a dog bite after it has begun. However, if it is demonstrated that the dog was being tormented, teased, or abused, liability may be avoided.   Further, if the victim was trespassing or attempting to commit a crime, liability may also be avoided by the dog owner, harborer, or keeper.  Most often, if you are bitten by a dog the owner, harborer, or keeper will be liable to you for damages. 

If you have been injured by another’s dog, your damages may include medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, property damage, and loss of consortium.  In many cases, the homeowner’s insurance of the party at fault will be able to step in and cover your damages.

If you have questions regarding a potential dog bite claim, contact Marsalka Law.

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