Dog Bite Lawyers in Ohio
We’ve helped countless clients obtain justice after a dog bite, so we know better than most how serious a dog by injury can be. Because dogs often bite young children, the injuries tend to be very severe and long lasting. The laws around dog bites in Ohio are very unique to the state. Due to this, it’s very important that you find a team of lawyers that understands Ohio dog bite law. As personal injury lawyers, We know what it takes to win a dog bite case in Ohio. If you or a loved one have been injured by a dog bite in Ohio, schedule a free, no-risk consultation to discuss your case in more detail.
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Dog Bite Injuries in Ohio
Ohio has a strict liability statute for dog bite injuries. In general, this means that any owner keeper or harbor of a dog that injures someone is strictly liable for the damage that is caused. The injured party is not required to show that the dog that bit them was known to be dangerous or had ever bitten someone before. There only defenses that the Ohio Dog Bite statute permits are:
- was committing or attempting to commit criminal trespass or another criminal offense other than a minor misdemeanor on the property of the owner, keeper, or harborer
- was committing or attempting to commit a criminal offense other than a minor misdemeanor against any person
- or was teasing, tormenting, or abusing the dog on the owner’s, keeper’s, or harborer’s property.
The Ohio Dog Bite Statute also addresses dog bite injuries to people engaged in door to door sales or solicitations. As the statute explains, “the owner, keeper, or harborer of a dog is liable in damages for any injury, death, or loss to person or property that is caused by the dog if the injury, death, or loss was caused to the person or property of an individual who, at the time of the injury, death, or loss, was on the property of the owner, keeper, or harborer solely for the purpose of engaging in door-to-door sales or other solicitations regardless of whether the individual was in compliance with any requirement to obtain a permit or license to engage in door-to-door sales or other solicitations established by the political subdivision in which the property of the owner, keeper, or harborer is located, provided that the person was not committing a criminal offense other than a minor misdemeanor or was not teasing, tormenting, or abusing the dog.”
According to the CDC, some dog bite injuries are more common than others. According to this data, the most common injuries are as follows:
Dog Bites Involving Friends and Family
For many of us, our dogs and pets are considered the same as our family. Because of this it’s not particularly surprising to find out that many dog bites are between family or friends of the owner. Obviously this type of situation can be extremely uncomfortable, and place pressure and tension on the relationship. In fact according to the Center for Disease Control, staggering 77% of all dog bite injuries are by a dog that is owned or housed by the victims family, relatives or friends. If you find yourself or your family in this uncomfortable position, the personal injury lawyers at Sawan & Sawan think that there are some important things that you should know. First, it’s important to remember that the majority of dog bite related legal claims never see a court room. This is because most homeowners insurance policies will cover dog bite related injuries. DOS when you’re filing a claim against your family or friend, you’re really just filing a claim against their insurance policy. This means that while it may seem as if you’re suing your friend or family member, in many ways they’re insulated from the financial consequences of a settlement or trial. It’s also really important to understand that, as lawyers, we do not act without the understanding and agreement of our clients. This means that before we escalate a dogbite related injury to a litigation posture, we always meet with our clients to discuss their options, strategy and the downsides of certain approaches. If a client is not comfortable filing suit against a family member or friend, we completely understand and will abide by the wished of our clients.
Dog Bite Injuries and Children
According the Center for Disease Control, dog bites are a bigger health problem for young children than bike accidents, playground injuries, moped injuries, skateboard injuries and ATV Injuries. Every year in the United States, dog bite medicala treatment cost more than a billion dollars.
Children are particularly susceptible to dog bites due to their size and relative unfamiliarity. According to the CDC, while adults require medical attention for dog bites 12% of the time, 26% of all children injured by a dog bite will require medical attention. Data shows that the highest dog bite injury rate for children was from the ages of 5-9. As a result of this, it is vital to teach children certain best practices when engaging with dogs. Children should be educating on the body language of dogs, and have a firm understanding of the dangers strange dogs can pose. They would also have direct instruction as to how to interact and behave around dogs, especially those they have never met. In order to keep your children safe from dog bites, we recommend teaching your child the following:
- Never approach an unfamiliar dog.
- Never run from a dog or otherwise scream.
- When around it unfamiliar dog it’s best to remain calm and still.
- If knocked over by a dog, it’s best to roll into a ball and lie still.
- Avoid direct eye contact with the dog, as that can be perceived as threatening.
- Never pet a dog without first allowing you to see and smell you.
Dog Bite Prevention
While dog bite injuries are both common and severe in the United States, there are some things that you can do to prevent these horrific injuries from occurring. The following are some tips that can help limit the amount of dog bite injuries that occur in the United States:
- Before getting a dog as a pet, it’s a good idea to do independent research and to consult with a veterinarian to learn about suitable breeds for your lifestyle and physical environment.
- If your home has children in it, it’s a good idea to exclude dogs that have a history of aggression.
- It’s wise to remain sensitive to any non-verbal cues that a child is fear for apprehensive about a dog. Fear and apprehension often lead to accidental dog bites
- It’s a good idea to spend time with the dog before buying or adopting if possible.
- Spaying or neutering your dog can eliminate a lot of the aggressive tendencies.
- It’s important to properly socialized and train any dog is entering your home.
Common Types of Injuries That Result from Dog Bites
Dog bites can cause significant injuries to victims. The teeth initially rip the skin and soft tissues. The teeth and jaws are very powerful. The wounds they inflict usually crush or tear muscles and skin. They penetrate through the chest wall causing collapsed lungs or serious and fatal damage to the intestinal organs. Even if not deep, the bite can cause significant damage to the soft tissues of the body. Bite wounds are generally inflicted on the legs or up around the head and neck. Neck injuries include injuring major blood vessels, nerves, the esophagus, or trachea. Facial bites can cause severe damage to the eyes, ears, or mouth requiring restorative surgeries. These surgeries are very painful and expensive. Injuries to the leg can involve joints.
The dog’s mouth is full of bacteria. As such, any bite that punctures the skin will introduce bacteria or other infectious organisms below the skin surface. This allows the bacteria to multiply spreading through the body. All dog bites wounds are considered to be contaminated or infected. Left untreated, the bacteria in an infected wound will cause a local abscess or potentially cellulitis. It can also cause septic arthritis, osteomyelitis, pyothorax or septic peritonitis. Each case is fact specific. For example, unleashed dogs don’t have to bite to cause harm. A victim could be injured while running away or knocked down by an aggressive dog. In these cases, the victim is still entitled to compensation. The following are a list of potential dog bite injuries
- Puncture wounds
- Broken bones
- Eye injuries
- Head and neck injuries
- Face injuries
- Nerve damage
- Emotional effects
Dennis P. Sawan
Licensed in Ohio and Georgia
Christopher A. Sawan
Licensed in Ohio and Michigan