In Ohio, the victim of a dog attack can hold the owner or controller of the dog liable for resulting injuries and losses. Personal injury claims can be a lifeline for dog bite victims because they are often left facing many complications as a result of their serious injuries, including steep medical bills, lost wages, and other hardships.
While it might be overwhelming to face the aftermath of a dog attack, it can be helpful to know the following information beforehand.
Common Injuries Following Ohio Dog Attacks
When dog attacks occur in Ohio, they are often sudden and unexpected. Some of the most common injuries that victims of dog bites receive include.
Broken and fractured bones
Ripped muscles and tendons
Compensation Following West Chester Dog Attacks
The victims of dog attacks are able to obtain compensation for various types of damages. These damages are broken into economic damages, which have an easily assignable dollar value, and noneconomic damages, which are much harder to quantify.
Economic damages include things like medical costs, lost wages, future care costs, diminished earning capacity, and therapy bills. Noneconomic damages include things like pain and suffering and mental anguish. Additionally, if a loved one dies as a result of a dog attack, it is possible to pursue compensation for things like funeral costs and medical expenses from before the victim passed away.
Ohio Laws Addressing Dog Attacks
A dog attack victim can utilize several legal theories to pursue compensation against the party who owned or controlled the animal at the time of the attack. First, under strict liability theory, the dog’s owner or controller is responsible for the attack regardless of any precautions that they took to reduce or avoid an attack.
To prevail under this theory, however, a victim must not have played any role in causing an attack. This means that a victim who provoked the dog or was trespassing at the time of the attack will be prohibited from pursuing compensation under strict liability.
A second way to pursue compensation following a dog attack is under the negligence principle. Under this principle, a victim can pursue compensation even if they were partially responsible for an accident. A negligence-based case requires the dog attack victim to establish that the animal’s owner failed to exercise reasonable care in controlling the animal or preventing the attack from occurring.
Defenses Commonly Raised by Ohio Dog Owners
One factor that often makes dog bite cases more challenging is that several defenses can be raised by dog owners. Some of the most common defenses that Ohio dog owners raise following an attack include.
Criminal conduct. If the victim of the dog attack was committing a criminal offense at the time, like trespassing, the individual might be prohibited from pursuing compensation. Some of the most common types of criminal offenses include breaking and entering or assaulting someone.
Provocation. If the dog attack victim in any way provoked the animal leading up to the attack, this could result in the victim being prevented from obtaining compensation.
Trespassing. Dog attack victims who were trespassing at the time of the encounter often have a more difficult time obtaining compensation.These three defenses are often raised in response to strict liability lawsuits. In negligence cases, however, an owner might argue that he or she never knew about the dog’s violent nature or had never observed the dog displaying any aggressive tendencies. This is because Ohio courts sometimes find that the owner is not liable if he or she lacked knowledge about the dog’s aggressive nature.
The Statute of Limitations Following Ohio Dog Attacks
Dog attack victims should realize that there is a narrow “statute of limitations” that a person has in which to pursue a dog bite lawsuit. If an individual tries to pursue a claim once this period has lapsed, he or she will likely be prohibited from pursuing compensation for damages. The statute of limitations in Ohio is different for strict liability and negligence lawsuits.
The statute of limitations for strict liability dog bite lawsuits is six years in Ohio. For individuals under the age of 18, there is a six-year window that begins to run when that person turns 18. This window is reduced to two years for negligence lawsuits.
Speak with a Dog Bite Attorney
Following dog attacks, one of the best steps that you can take is to speak with a knowledgeable dog bite lawyer serving West Chester, Ohio. Contact Kruger & Hodges today to schedule a free case evaluation.