Tragically, dog attacks in Ohio have been in the news of late. In one case, a 71-year old woman was viciously attacked by a relative’s pet dog, ultimately leading to her death. Another case involved a 7-month old child. Ohio dog bite laws can be difficult to navigate, but recent revisions suggest of a dog injures a person than the dog’s owner can be held accountable. Criminal and civil charges will likely occur. In dog bite cases, the pet’s owner can be held liable for medical expenses, pain and suffering, funeral expenses and more.
Pay less attention to the breed, and more to the behavior
I am not an advocate of general stereotyping when it comes to animals, however I do believe that any animal is capable of causing irreparable, and in some cases, fatal, harm to an individual. In one local case, the elderly victim was found while in the midst of the attack. Unfortunately, the fast-acting witness was unable to prevent the injuries that ultimately led to her death.
In the state of Ohio, any dog bite or attack should be reported to the authorities and to your district’s health commissioner. Following a report, both the animal and its owner will have to follow a series of protective measures. The dog owner will be questioned about the animal’s typical behavior, medical history and any previous attacks. The dog will undergo medical testing to ensure no underlying medical conditions/disease can be transmitted to the victim. Unfortunately, without proper legal representation these findings alone are not enough to obtain financial compensation.
The circumstances of the dog bite can impact the legal outcome
In Ohio, a victim or their family can recover punitive damages and potentially additional damages depending on the history and circumstances surrounding the attack. In the case of the elderly woman, if the dog had been aggressive in the past, the claim can site the strict liability statute as well as punitive damages. If the dog had not previously displayed aggressive behavior, the strict liability statute would provide sufficient cause for the case.