You may have heard expressions such as the "one-bite rule" or "scienter" in relation to injuries caused by a dog bite. A dog bite attorney in Miami County OH can explain these legal terms and whether they apply to Ohio cases. Additionally, a dog bite attorney in Miami County OH can assess your case to determine the best legal strategy to pursue compensation for your dog bite injury.
A dog bite attorney can begin the discussion of dog bite injury claims by explaining that this rule does NOT apply to Ohio cases. This rule is founded on the belief that a dog owner knows that his or her dog can be violent if it has attacked at least once before. However, Ohio imposes strict liability on dog owners when their dogs bite - even if it is the first time and if the animal never before showed a propensity for violence.
Strict Liability or Negligence
Ohio's dog bite statute states that a dog's owner, keeper or harborer is liable for injuries or death that is caused by the dog. However, this statute does not apply if the victim of the dog bite was trespassing, committing any crime other than a minor misdemeanor, teasing, abusing or tormenting the dog at the time of the attack. Under a strict liability theory, the victim does not have to prove that the dog owner was in any way careless.
If the necessary elements cannot be proven under a strict liability theory, the victim can still file a claim under a negligence theory which does require the victim to show how the dog owner's carelessness resulted in injury. Punitive damages are permitted under a negligence theory but not under a strict liability theory. However, a reward for such requires a higher showing of liability, such as gross negligence or malice.
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