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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

What to Know About How to File a Lawsuit for a Dog Bite in Ohio

It may often be said that dogs are man's best friend, but they can also be the source of a lot of physical pain and mental anguish. More than 77% of the animal attacks in Ohio come from dogs, which paints the picture of how dangerous some of them can be.


The idea here is to provide an understanding of the applicable laws to dog bites, while shedding some light on what the process of seeking compensation may look like for the victim.


What Do Dog Bite Laws in Ohio Look Like?

What Do Dog Bite Laws in Ohio Look Like?


Under Ohio dog bite law, there is strict liability. This means that dog owners are responsible for biting incidents, even when the animals have never attacked anyone. There's a clear contrast when compared to the "one bite rule" that many other states will use.


Common law jurisdiction will see the need for the victim to prove that some previous attack happened, and that the owner was or should have been aware of that matter. In Ohio, none of this is necessary.


What Happens After an Ohio Dog Bite?


The strict liability stance mentioned above means that a dog's owner is wholly liable for whatever injuries are sustained from an attack. Additionally, the animal is required to be registered as a dangerous dog.


This label means that several restrictions will be applied to ownership. For example, when there is a leash employed, it must be no more than 6 feet long. Furthermore, the pet must be in a yard or cage that is locked. The animal is also required to wear a tag, which indicates that it is a danger.


Note that Ohio dog bite laws also state that if there are more than three bites and the dog lives, the owner must take out liability insurance.


Typical Dog Bite Injuries


Some of the standard injuries that will be seen following a dog attack incident are as follows:


  1. Broken bones

  2. Face injuries

  3. Scarring

  4. Nerve damage

  5. Trauma/PTSD

  6. Broken or punctured skin

  7. Eye injuries

  8. Head or neck injuries


Minor injuries can be covered by a third-party claim, and they should be honored by the owner's insurance company. If there is a serious injury, however, a standard policy may not be able to provide fair and full compensation, which means that a dog bite lawsuit is the way forward.


What Makes an Ohio Dog Bite Lawyer Valuable?

Even with considerations made for strict liability, Ohio law is not the easiest thing to navigate, which is why victims are advised to retain the services of a personal injury lawyer for dog bite cases. They can also help with how to file a lawsuit for slip and fall in Ohio. Here are some of the areas of value that such an engagement will provide:


  1. Fine-tuning the evidence-gathering process to ensure that what is being collected is relevant to the settlement objective.

  2. Identifying the dog's owner when necessary, and helping to ascertain whether existing insurance coverage is enough to take care of the damages.

  3. Bolstering claims for dog bite wounds by leaning on the guidance of vocational, medical, and financial experts, increasing the strength of the arguments being made.

  4. Going through the negotiation process with insurance companies to ensure that what is being offered is fair.

  5. If necessary, dog bite claims can end up before the courts, which means the attorney must act as legal representation for the victim.


How Soon Does a Dog Bite Injury Claim Need to Be Filed?


A dog bite incident falls under the personal injury umbrella, which means that the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the occurrence. After this time, unless there is an applicable exemption, the victim will lose the ability to seek compensation.


While the window may seem like a long time, it can pass incredibly quickly. Injured parties are advised to start the filing process in the shortest order to maximize their chances of getting the best settlement package possible.


How Should Dog Bite Victims Proceed to File a Claim?


Make the Dog Owner Aware of the Occurrence

Whenever feasible, make the dog's owner aware of what took place. At the same time, it's a good idea to collect contact details, which can be used later if the decision is to go ahead with a compensation claim.


Call 911 If the Animal Is Believed to Be a Dangerous Dog

Sometimes it is hard to tell if the animal is carrying a disease or not. However, if there is reason to believe that the dog is afflicted or vicious, report same to 911 or animal control. The purpose here is to track down and capture the dog, which can help to prevent others from becoming injured.


Note that there is also a requirement to file a report with the health commissioner in the applicable local health jurisdiction within 24 hours. Doing so is essential, as it is for a rabies exposure risk assessment, during which the animal will be quarantined. The report should include:


  1. Owner of the dog

  2. Description of the dog

  3. How the dog bite happened

  4. Where the dog bite occurred

  5. Dog's rabies vaccination status


Document the Incident and Surroundings

Get photos of the accident scene whenever this is both possible and relevant. Video recordings are also recommended where they will be helpful. For example, maybe the dog that attacked had escaped from the owner's premises through a hole in the fence, after which the victim was bitten on the sidewalk.


In such a case, there is value in getting images or footage of the fence. Showing the path that the dog took to attack is also a great idea.


Seek Medical Attention

Provided that the report mentioned above is made, the assessment may lead to urgent care being needed. Even if this is not the case, victims are advised to get medical attention, as dogs and other animals can carry different kinds of bacteria and viruses orally.


Doctors will document injuries sustained, and there will also be a record of the amount that is spent on medical expenses, which can be useful later when the claim is being brought against the dog owner.


Let an Ohio Dog Bite Attorney Handle the Rest

Dog bite lawyers represent the best chance any victim has at getting the compensation they deserve from their claims. At this point in the process, the injured party will get a free consultation, where the happenings so far will be discussed and evaluated. This helps to identify if there is a case present that can be fought for.


Note that there is no obligation here to move forward with the attorney, but if the choice is made to do so, advice will be provided on what the next steps are, how communication will work, what information is needed, etc.


Once the attorney completes the investigation and case-building process, the claim will be filed against the negligent party or the applicable insurance company. This will lead to a settlement negotiation process, which will transition to a trial if it fails. An Ohio dog bite attorney will be looking to get the most favorable amount possible given the damages sustained. They can also share insight on how to file a lawsuit for wrongful death in Ohio.


Standard Compensation for a Successful Dog Bite Claim

Standard Compensation for a Successful Dog Bite Claim


Compensation can take several forms, which will depend on the extent of the injuries and their effects. The first class of considerations would be economic damages, and these are the parts of the settlement that can be accurately estimated, thanks to documentation that provides exact dollar values. Under this classification, items such as the following may be awarded:


  1. Loss of past/future wages

  2. Past/future medical bills

  3. Property damage


On the other hand, there are non-economic damages. These have no specific dollar value, as they are areas in which the victim's quality of life has been affected by the accident's occurrence. Examples of these kinds of damages include:


  1. Loss of enjoyment

  2. Loss of use

  3. Pain and suffering

  4. Loss of consortium


While this class of payments may not have defined figures, they still need to make up a part of the settlement. Therefore, a dog bite attorney in Toledo will lean on expertise to attribute a fair amount to each of the applicable elements.


Schedule a Free Consultation with One of the Best Ohio Dog Bite Lawyers Today!


Many dog bite injuries lead to a series of challenges for victims, ranging from physical to emotional and financial. All this results in a sense of suffering that is not fair to someone who did nothing to be hurt by an animal that the owner did not control well.


Were you or one of your loved ones bitten by a dog in Ohio unprovoked? If so, you may be entitled to a settlement that covers the injuries that you have suffered, alongside their associated effects.


However, if you want to get that compensation, you will need a passionate dog bite lawyer who is willing to go to war for you! That is the kind of dedication and approach used at Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys, which is why we come highly recommended by our past clients.


Schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with a best-in-class legal professional today!

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