How does Ohio handle liability when a dog bites someone?

On Behalf of | Jul 16, 2020 | Animal Bites

When a dog attacks and bites a human, the cost associated with the attack can quickly reach tens of thousands of dollars. A victim may suffer painful or even debilitating injuries depending on the breed of the dog, the age and medical condition of the human victim, and a handful of other factors such as how quickly other people were able to intervene and stop the attack.

People sometimes require surgery for physical wounds, as well as emergency trauma care, which can quickly become expensive. Counseling or psychological therapy may also be necessary for the emotional trauma caused by a vicious dog attack. For those living in Ohio, is it possible to bring a claim against a dog’s owner after a dog bite attack?

Ohio now applies a strict liability standard to dog bite scenarios

For a long time, Ohio was among the many states that have a one-bite statute that governed claims stemming from a dog bite. These laws essentially absolve dog owners from liability unless their dog has bitten someone before or has a history of aggressive or violent behavior.

These rules place a substantial burden on the victims of dog bite attacks and make it far too easy for owners of animals to skirt their responsibilities to the public. Ohio now has strict liability statutes that specifically hold owners responsible for dog bite attacks that produce injury, property damage or death.

Provided that the victim wasn’t trespassing, abusing the animal or otherwise breaking the law at the time of the attack, the owner has legal and financial liability for the consequences of their animal’s behavior.

Dog bite victims may have several options available to them

It isn’t always necessary to bring a civil lawsuit against the dog’s owner in order to get compensation when an animal attack results in medical expenses. In fact, many people would prefer to avoid litigation, as the dog may belong to someone they know. Some people may be able to bring a premises liability claim against a homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy after a dog bite attack.

If the dog’s owner doesn’t have coverage or when the dog breed precludes the company from covering the attack, a civil lawsuit may be the only option for the victim.