Animal attacks, mostly pit bull and rottweiler attacks, send over 10,000 Americans to an emergency room every year. These attacks cause serious physical and emotional injuries. Frequently, hospital emergency room doctors can only stabilize these victims before they’re transported to regional trauma centers. After these facilities release them, the emotional therapy usually begins. Despite all this treatment, the physical and emotional scars normally never go away.
All this treatment usually means tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills. The physical pain and emotional trauma these victims must endure is almost impossible to calculate. A Dublin dog bite lawyer obtains the compensation these victims need and deserve in court. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
The Buckeye State might have the broadest strict liability dog bite law in the country. Under Ohio Revised Codes, § 955.28, “The owner, keeper, or harborer of a dog is liable in damages for any injury, death, or loss to person or property that is caused by the dog.”
This statute applies if, under Ohio law, the victim was an invitee (person with permission to be on the property and whose presence benefited the owner) or licensee (permission but no benefit). Section 955.28 doesn’t apply to trespassers (no permission and no benefit). The attractive nuisance rule might apply to some children in some situations. If a child snuck onto the premises to play with a dog, swim in a pool, or because of some other attractive nuisance, the child might be an invitee.
This law gives and takes away. It also broadly defines provocation, one of the most effective dog bite defenses. Provocation is “teasing, tormenting, or abusing” an animal. In most other jurisdictions, provoking a dog is essentially torturing a dog.
The “one-bite rule” is probably the second most common dog bite legal claim in Ohio. Owners or caretakers are liable for dog bite damages if they knew the animal might be vicious. Evidence of knowledge usually includes pre-bite behavior, like:
Vicious growling, and
In some cases, prior attacks against animals or people may be admissible on this point as well. The burden of proof in a civil case is only a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not). So, a Columbus personal injury lawyer doesn’t need much proof to firmly establish a point.
Negligence Per Se/Ordinary Negligence
Basically, negligence per se is a violation of a leash law or other safety law that causes injury. State law contains several such provisions. Many cities and counties have even stronger fence laws, leash laws, and other animal restraint laws. Ordinary negligence is a lack of ordinary care. Landlords are negligent when they know tenants have dangerous dogs but don’t do anything about it.
Assumption of the risk (a voluntary assumption of a known risk) is a defense in negligence and scienter claims. This defense is hard to prove. Even if the owner posted a “Beware of Dog” or other warning sign, the victim is most likely eligible for at least some compensation.
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