In the last three years, we have retained more clients who have been the victims of dog attacks than in the previous eleven years. We are not sure why, but dog bites are increasing. The Journal of Pediatrics recently reported a major surge in dog bites on children, a three-fold increase, corresponding with the COVID-19 pandemic. The article could only speculate as to the cause of this increase. We have noticed a dramatic increase with bites on adults as well.
These injuries can be serious. We have seen dog bites that cause severe scarring, nerve damage, and damage to tendons. These bites can also cause infection.
Ohio has a statute that imposes liability on owners whose dogs cause injury or death. If you are bitten and injured while in a public place, or lawfully on another’s property, the owner is “strictly liable” for the injury. That is, the victim need not prove that the owner was careless, only that the dog caused the injury. Even if the owner used reasonable care to restrain the animal or to protect or warn others—and even if the dog has never bitten before.
This liability also applies to “harborers” and “keepers” of dogs. Dog sitters, owners of kennels, and dog trainers can all be liable. Thankfully, there is often insurance coverage through homeowner’s or business insurance liability policies.
There is a limit to this liability. Dog owners have some defenses. Persons bitten while trespassing will have no case. Likewise, if a dog bites while being teased or abused, there is also likely no liability
If you have been injured by a dog bite, contact us for a free case evaluation. Click here to learn more.