Dog Bite Injuries in Ohio

Ohio dog bite law exists, in part, to simplify the often complex principles of a personal injury case. In the average personal injury case, an injured party has the obligation to prove that there was a: duty, breach, that caused, damage. Duty and breach can be established in a variety of ways, but showing that a duty exists can be a highly technical and fact specific undertaking. As a result, Ohio has instituted a strict liability statute. What this means is that in order to recover, an injured party has a much easier road as duty and breach is already established by statute. In simple terms, the fact that a dog injured someone is enough to hold that owner strictly liable. This is subject to a few narrow defenses.

What Should I Do After a Dog Bite Injury?

While a dog bite can often seem like a minor injury, many bites cause serious injury – especially to children. As Ohio dog bite lawyers, we often see severe dog bite injuries that result in infection or the need for surgery. Many times we see disfiguring scars and heaps of medical bills after a serious dog bite injury. If you or a loved one have been bitten by a dog, it’s wise to talk to a dog bite lawyer today.

The family of Ohio Dog Bite lawyers at Sawan & Sawan have broad experience representing victims of dog bite injuries in Ohio. We can help you examine your legal options and suggest best practices for dealing with dog bite injuries. Call Sawan & Sawan today at 419-900-0955 or toll free at 1-866-INJURY-0 (zero).

  • Photograph the Injuries. If you are able to, take pictures of the dog bit as soon as practicable after the injury – preferably before you get it treated. This can be a critical piece of element to demonstrate the severity of the injury should you have to go to Court to prove your case.
  • Get Medical Care. Any time a dog bite punctures the skin, there is a heightened possibility of infection. It’s best to go to the hospital and get the wound checked thoroughly by a qualified medical professional. This will often involve the use of a disinfectant, and occasionally treatment for rabies. Your medical professional may also consider taking x-rays – and surgery in the case of a severe dog bite injury.
  • Gather Information from the Dog’s Owner. If possible, it’s vital that you contact the owner of the dog in order to gather personal information – including vaccination history. At a minimum, you should obtain the dog’s age, veterinarian, history of medical care and any information about the dog’s history of behavioral issues.
  • Report the Dog Bite. While most County Health Departments require Rabies Vaccinations, unfortunately many dog owners fail to meet this obligation. To be safe, it’s also best to report the dog bite – and seek information from the local health authority about any records they may have about the animal’s behavioral and vaccination history.
  • Consult with a Dog Bite Lawyer. After you’ve completed the above steps, you may still have a lot of questions. How do I pay back the medical bills? What about the medical treatment and pain? Does insurance cover this? It’s understandable not to know the answers to all these questions. Talking to an experienced dog bite injury lawyer can help to answer many of these questions – and give you the peace of mind to focus on recovery.

Most Dangerous Breeds of Dogs

Landlords and Dog Bite Liability

In Ohio, as a general proposition a landlord is not liable for a tenant’s dog. In fact, a tenant is usually strictly liable for injuries caused by their dog. If the dog owner owns the property where the bite occurred the homeowner’s insurance will often pat to cover medical bills and other damages. If the dog’s owner, however, is a tenant, they often do not have renter’s insurance that will cover the injuries. As a result, many victims of a dog bite attempt to hold the landlord liable for the tenant’s dog. 

There may be exceptions to a landlord liability for the tenant’s dog. These exceptions are fact specific and would need to be carefully explored. Landlord liability could attach if they: own the dog, keep the dog, or harbor the dog. Under Ohio law, a “harborer” is a person who controls the place where the dog lives.There may be questions about whether the landlord harbored the dog. Did the dog bite take place in a common area? Was the landlord keeping the dog at the time of the bite? Did the landlord have previous knowledge  about the vicious dog behavior but took no action? These are just some of the inquires that must be pursued in order to  hold the landlord liable. 
 
Ohio law has redefined the definition of “harboring” a dog, by protecting landlords when dog bites occur inside private residences. On the other hand the law keeps open the possibility of holding them liable when the attack occurs in hallways, yards, parking areas, and other common areas. The landlord could also be liable if they were  in direct control  of the dog at the time of the incident. This a common situation when the landlord owns the home and has a tenant renting a room who has a dog. Liability can also attach if the landlord through complaints, prior incidents,or knowledge that the dog has a history of vicious behavior  allows the dog to remain on the property. A detailed accounting of incidents concerning the dog is essential to hold the landlord liable. Without this information, you run the risk of having the landlord dismissed from you case.
 
Once you are injured by a dog bite, you must retain an attorney to allow them to launch an investigation collecting all evidence. This will assist them in determining liability of both the tenant and landlord. This investigation should include the following:
  • Obtaining the police report
  • Interview witnesses
  • Taking photographs of the scene
  • Reviewing your injuries
  • Investigating prior complaints
  • Establishing all potential liable parties
  • Obtaining medical records and bills confirming your injuries
  • Obtain documents for all claimed injuries
The  following is a list of damages you can recover from the responsible party:
  • Medical treatment and related costs
  • Ongoing care costs
  • Expenses related to future care, including plastic surgery
  • Lost wages and diminished earning capacity
  • Repair or replacement of damaged property
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental Anguish

Contact a Dog Bite Lawyer

Sawan & Sawan - Toledo Dog Bite Lawyers

Sawan & Sawan is a dog bite law firm with dog bite attorneys licensed to practice law in the States of Ohio, Michigan, Florida and Georgia. If you’ve been a victim of a dog bite and would like to speak further about your specific legal matter, call Sawan & Sawan today at 1-866-INJURY-0 or 419-900-0955 to schedule a free consultation. 

416 N Erie St Ste 200A, Toledo, OH 43604

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