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What to Do If A Dog Bites You

A dog bit me and I had to get stitches, what can I do about it?

In Ohio, in almost every situation, a dog owner is responsible for any provable injuries the dog causes. Under the common law, you will have to prove that the owner knew the dog was vicious and that the owner kept the dog in a negligent manner. This set of rules generally provides every dog one free bite. However, under Ohios statutory law, dogs do not get one free bite and their owners are strictly liable for the harm their dogs cause provided the injured person was not teasing or tormenting the dog or trespassing or committing a criminal offense on the property of the owner.

How do I know which law common or statutory I should pursue?

The Common law permits a recovery for punitive damages but the statutory law does not. If your facts are such that it can be proven that the dog owner acted with malice, then you may want to try to prove your case under the common law.

It the dog has no history of biting or being vicious, it will probably be impossible to prove a common law case which then makes the statutory law your only option.

Do I have to pick which law I want to pursue?

No. The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that you can pursue your case under either or both laws.

Is the compensation the same in common law and statutory law in dog bite cases?

Generally, yes. In both types of types of cases, you are entitled to full compensation for your injuries. The compensation includes payment of your economic loss (medical bills, lost wages, related out-of-pockets expenses) and non-economic loss (scarring, pain, worry, physical impairment, permanent injury, etc) The big difference is punitive damages; they are never permitted under the statutory law.

Is the owner of the dog the only person I can pursue?

No. You may seek compensation from any person who owned, harbored or kept the dog. Harborers and keepers do not necessarily own the dog, but they are in a position to control the dog. This could include a dog sitter, landlord (in very limited circumstances), a dog walker, etc.

The dog owner said she had her front door closed but somehow the dog just got out and she did not know it. Is she responsible?

Yes. Under the strict liability statutory law, how the dog got out, and whether the owner knew it does not matter. (However, these facts could matter in a common law case; an inquiry into the owners negligence would be necessary and if she was not negligent, there would be no successful common law claim.)

The attorneys at Cubbon and Associates are experienced in these types of cases. If we can help you, give us a call or click on the "free consultation" link.

Cubbon & Associates: 419.243.7243

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Cubbon & Associates Co., L.P.A.

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Toledo, OH 43604

Phone: 419-574-9284
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Phone: 419-574-9284
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