Can You Sue if Someone’s Dog Bit You in Ohio? | Kisling, Nestico & Redick
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Dogs are a man’s best friend. But people often forget how vicious a canine can be when its owner or handler is irresponsible.
Written by
KNR Legal
Date posted
March 1, 2023

A dog attack can change your life in a split second, causing injury, disability, trauma, or even death. If you or your loved one are the victims of a dog bite in Ohio, you might wonder what to do next. Can you sue if someone’s dog bit you? The answer could be yes, but it depends on the circumstances of the incident.

Many lawyers offer free consultations and can help you determine if you could pursue a lawsuit. The experienced dog bite lawyers at Kisling, Nestico, & Redick, P.C. are here to offer our support, just like we have for thousands of other Ohio injury victims for decades.

Schedule a free, confidential case evaluation with KNR at 1-800-HURT-NOW.

Ohio Dog Bite Laws

Ohio is a strict liability state for dog bites. This means the pet owner or other responsible party is liable for “any injury, death, or loss to person or property” caused by their dog’s behavior (ORC § 955.261).

You don’t need to be bitten to pursue a dog-bite lawsuit in Ohio. For example, if an aggressive dog knocked you down the stairs, leading to a broken hip, you could still pursue compensation against the pet owner.

One-Bite Rule

In general, dogs can bite someone once without consequences for the owner. However, the owner should train their dog accordingly to prevent future bites. If another bite does occur, they can be held liable.

Ohio Laws Against Certain Dog Breeds

Some municipalities in Ohio have breed-specific legislation. However, as of 2012, Ohio no longer has statewide laws cover certain breeds. Instead, the Ohio Revised Code outlines behaviors that make a dog “dangerous,” “vicious,” or a “nuisance.”

Owners of these types of dogs have additional responsibilities to prevent attacks. If you discover the dog who bit you had a prior record, and the owner failed their duties, they could face legal penalties along with your lawsuit.

Even without statewide regulations, you might want to know the dog breeds most likely to attack.

When You Can Sue for a Dog Attack

Because of the broad nature of Ohio dog bite laws, victims can sue in many cases. You could be entitled to compensation if you sustained injuries or other damages from a dog’s behavior.

Examples of why victims pursue a lawsuit after a dog bite include:

  • The victim was working on or invited to a property and a dog attacked
  • An owner did not supervise, leash, fence, or otherwise prevent a dangerous dog from escape
  • A dog bite caused physical injury, death, disease (such as rabies), or property damage
  • The plaintiff’s child was injured by a dog
  • A dog approached a victim in a menacing fashion, leading the victim to suspect the dog would cause harm
  • To hold someone accountable for their dog’s behavior
  • To raise public awareness of pet owner negligence

There are many other instances where you might wish to pursue a dog bite lawsuit. In most, you will be able to. However, there are exceptions.

When You Can’t Sue for a Dog Bite

In Ohio, a dog owner cannot be held liable for any injuries caused if:

  • You were trespassing on the property at the time of the dog attack
  • You provoked or abused the dog on an owner’s property
  • You were committing or attempting to commit a criminal act beyond a minor misdemeanor (such as breaking into a house)

The Ohio Dog Bite Lawsuit Process

For minor dog attack injuries, a claim could bring enough compensation to recover fully. However, you may wish to sue for more severe damages and injuries. Dog bite lawsuits in Ohio can result in significant compensation with a dedicated lawyer’s help.

You do not have to prove negligence in a dog bite accident lawsuit in Ohio due to the strict liability laws for dog owners. However, your lawyer can still help establish negligence during your suit if you feel it will be beneficial.

Who Is Liable for a Dog Bite?

There are a handful of individuals who could be liable after an Ohio dog bite accident:

  • An owner – An individual who registered the dog; the pet is their personal property
  • A handler/keeper – A member of a specialized organization, i.e., a police force, who is responsible for a dog while on duty
  • A harborer – An individual who owns the property where a dog resides and accepts the animal’s presence

Generally, landlords and other parties cannot be held liable for someone else’s dog, even if the dog bite happens on their property.

File a Dog Bite Lawsuit

If you decide to file a lawsuit, your attorney will file a complaint that details your accusations against the defendant. From there, they can help prepare you for trial. Know that your attorney will handle most of the courtroom talking and coach you on answering potential questions, so you don’t have to stress.

Utilize Discovery & Evidence

Discovery is often the longest part of the lawsuit process. During discovery, the defendant’s attorney and yours can seek information from each other and third parties. Your dog bite lawyer will use this opportunity to see if anything could hurt your case, such as evidence you were trespassing.

Your attorney will also use this time to further explore your dog bite accident, gathering expert input, witness testimony, and medical documentation as needed.

Ohio Compensation for Dog Bites

After discovery, the trial officially begins, and both sides will present their cases. Your lawyer will supplement your suit with the evidence they’ve gathered and their knowledge of Ohio’s strict liability laws.

Ohio dog attack victims commonly experience various emotions in the aftermath, including anger, embarrassment, fear, and sadness. You might have permanent disability and disfigurement on top of the trauma.

Damages you can recover in a dog bite claim or lawsuit include:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Rehabilitation expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish

Ohio’s Dog Bite Statute of Limitations

Under Ohio law, you generally have six years after the date of a dog bite accident to file a lawsuit. If you were under 18 at the time of the dog attack, you have six years from the date of your 18th birthday.

If you do not pursue a lawsuit during this time frame, you might lose the opportunity to obtain compensation. Victims should contact a dog-bite lawyer near them as soon as possible so they can get started on a solid case.

After a Dog Bite in Ohio, Call KNR

A dog bite or related injury can leave you with severe emotional and physical injuries. To recover fully, you may need to pay hefty medical bills, miss out on work or daily life, and manage out-of-pocket expenses. It can be stressful wondering how to cover the cost of your dog bite accident in Ohio, which is why legal help is here.

Kisline, Nestico & Redick, LLC has fought for Ohio dog bite injury victims for decades, earning our clients millions of dollars. Trust our legal team to handle the burden of your case so you can focus on a full recovery.

Contact KNR at 1-800-HURT-NOW or online to schedule a free legal consultation over your dog bite case.