Columbus Dog Bite Lawyer Helping Ohio Victims
Dog attacks can result in severe injuries, especially for children and the elderly. It can be quite challenging to get the compensation you are entitled to even though Ohio makes dog bite cases easier for victims to pursue than in other states. If you have been injured in a dog attack, a Columbus dog bite lawyer from Malek & Malek Law Firm can help you get the compensation you need.
Ohio Inflicts Strict Penalties on Pet Owners After an Attack
In most personal injury cases, you must prove the other party was negligent by demonstrating they failed to prevent injury to another person. Thankfully, Ohio law makes dog owners strictly liable for any injuries their dog may cause. In other words, you do not need to prove the dog’s owner was somehow careless in managing or controlling the dog. In other states, you may need to prove negligence, or the dog was considered “dangerous” or “vicious.”
How a Columbus Dog Bite Lawyer Determines Liability in Animal Attacks
Ohio law also allows victims to hold “keepers” or “harborers” liable for any injuries caused by dogs, such as dog walkers or kennel owners. The law could also apply to the following:
- Landlords who are aware renters are keeping an aggressive dog on the property
- A person who is dog sitting while the owners are on vacation
- The parents of an adult child who are caring for or keeping the dog on their property
Determining who should be held responsible for your injuries can sometimes be complicated, especially if a corporate entity is involved. An experienced Columbus dog bite lawyer can help identify the responsible party.
What are the Exceptions to the Ohio Strict Liability Standard?
There are situations where the dog’s owner or keeper may avoid liability. Under Ohio law, the following exceptions may apply:
- The victim was trespassing.
- The victim was committing or attempting to commit a crime other than a minor misdemeanor such as assault.
- The victim was teasing, tormenting, or abusing the dog on the owner’s or keeper’s property.
The trespass exception does not apply to people engaged in deliveries or door-to-door sales and other solicitations (such as political campaigns or charitable causes) even if the victim did not have the proper permits. Dog owners will often try to argue one of these exceptions applies to your case, but a Columbus dog bite lawyer will know how to overcome those arguments successfully.
What if the Victim of a Dog Bite or Animal Attack was a Child?
While families’ legal rights are clear, recovering just compensation for in child dog bite cases can still prove challenging. With this in mind, our Columbus dog bite attorneys outline three important facts for you to know:
1. Your Family Will Need Proof of the Cause and Extent of Your Child’s Injuries
Like other dog bite victims, you still need to prove that your child was bitten by someone else’s dog. You also need to prove the extent (and costs) of your child’s injuries. To protect your family’s legal rights, there are some important steps you should take as soon as possible after your child is bitten by a dog. These steps include:
- Take your child to the doctor. After a dog attack, getting medical treatment for your child should be your first priority.
- Write down everything you remember. Where did the attack happen? What was your child doing at the time of the attack? What breed, color, and size was the dog? Were there any witnesses?
- Talk to a dog bite lawyer. The best way to protect your family’s legal rights is to talk to a lawyer promptly. We provide free consultations, and you can get in touch with us 24/7.
2. “Keepers” and “Harborers” Can Also Be Legally Responsible for Dog Bites
Dog owners aren’t the only ones that can be held liable under Ohio law. In appropriate cases, “keepers” and “harborers” can be held liable as well. For example, if your child was bitten at a kennel, then the kennel could be liable for your child’s medical bills and your family’s other losses.
3. The Costs of Childhood Injuries Can Be Substantial
The costs of a serious dog bite can far exceed the costs of emergency medical care. If you focus on your child’s medical expenses only, you will collect just a fraction of the compensation you and your family deserve. In dog bite cases, Ohio law allows for the recovery of all economic and non-economic losses—including loss of future earnings, pain and suffering, and emotional trauma.
The Statute of Limitations in Ohio Animal Attack Cases
As with any personal injury claim in Ohio, there is a two-year statute of limitations that applies to dog bite cases. According to this statute, you must file a lawsuit within two years of the incident, or you will lose any rights to the compensation you may have.
It is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible if you have been injured in a dog attack. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to prove your case.
Compensation Your Columbus Dog Bite Attorney Will Pursue
There are two types of damages or money you may be awarded in a dog bite case—compensatory damages and punitive damages.
Compensatory damages are divided into two categories: economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages include money and expenses you have suffered, such as medical bills and lost wages due to the dog bite injury. Noneconomic damages are damages that have no concrete, “this is how much this costs, here’s your bill” amount. These include things like pain and suffering, and loss of consortium.
In Ohio, there is no cap on economic damages. So if you incur $30,000 in medical bills, you can be awarded $30,000 in medical bills. Non-economic damages have been capped. In Ohio, you receive, whichever is greater, either $250,000 or three times your economic damages up to $350,000.
However, if the dog bite victim has suffered a permanent or physical deformity or a permanent bodily injury that prevents him or her from caring for himself/herself, in that case, there are NO limitations on economic damages.
Punitive damages are capped twice the value of compensatory damages.
Call an Experienced Columbus Dog Bite Lawyer Today
If someone else’s dog has injured you, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. To schedule a free consultation with our Columbus dog bite attorneys, call us today at 888-444-7440 or contact us online.