A Dog bite is more common as the weather gets warmer and the dog walks get longer. It is important to know your rights if you are injured by a dog. If man’s best friend gets loose or is not properly trained, it can pose a serious danger to humans. If you are injured by a dog, you may face significant medical bills, emotional distress, and time off work. Who is liable for these costs?
In Ohio, there are two ways to recover from an injury caused by a dog bite. First, an owner of a dog is statutorily liable for the first injury their dog causes. This law explicitly makes a dog owners, harborers, or keepers liable for every bite, including the first one. An owners, harborer, and keeper can each be liable for a dog’s behavior. The dog’s owner is just that – the person or persons who own the dog. A harborer is a person who controls the dog’s home, in some cases, this may be a landlord. A more common example is a dog owned by a person who lives with her parents; her parents are the harborers of the dog – both may be liable. A keeper of the dog may be someone who is in temporary control of the dog but may not be the owner or harborer. Owners, keepers, and harborers are often determined by the facts of each case.
The second way to recover is under common law, rather than by statute. In order to prove liability, you have to show that the owner, keeper, or harborer knew that the dog has bitten or tried to bite someone else before. Again, this may be determined by the facts of the case. If you can prove liability under common law, you may be able to recover punitive damages, which are amounts that are intended to punish the dog owner rather than to compensate you for a specific loss. In some cases, you can recover under both theories of the law.
If you or someone you know has been attacked by a dog, let the experienced attorneys of Pickrel, Schaeffer & Ebeling help you determine how you can recover from your injuries. Contact Michelle Sundgaard at (937) 223-1130 or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss the facts of your case.