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Dog Bite Laws in Cincinnati, Ohio: Which Laws Apply?

A man pulling his dog.

Sometimes, it can be very difficult to decipher the dog bite laws in your state. They tend to be confusing. However, that isn’t the case in Ohio. If you’re bitten or otherwise attacked by a dog in Cincinnati, it shouldn’t be all that difficult to win your case.

Our personal injury lawyers in Cincinnati have handled more than their fair share of dog bite cases. Since Ohio holds dog owners strictly liable for any injuries their animal causes, all your Cincinnati injury attorney has to show is that you were, in fact, attacked.

As long as they can also prove that you were injured, you should be able to collect damages from the defendant.

Here, we will discuss how the dog bite laws work in Cincinnati, Ohio. We will also explain the types of damages you can demand if you are injured by somebody’s dog.

Dog Owners in Ohio Are Strictly Liable if Their Dog Bites or Attacks Someone

There is a statute in Ohio that holds dog owners liable for any injuries they cause to a third party. Not every state has a dog bite statute. Many states rely on common law which requires the plaintiff in a dog bite case to prove negligence or fault.

Thankfully, the Ohio legislature doesn’t require you to prove either of these things. As long as you can prove that you were attacked by the defendant’s dog, and that you suffered an injury, you should be able to collect damages. It all comes down to what your personal injury lawyer in Cincinnati can prove.

Your Cincinnati Injury Attorney Will Also Demand Damages on Your Behalf

Of course, as with any other personal injury case, your Cincinnati injury attorney will have to prove your damages. Even though they don’t have to prove negligence, they still need to demonstrate that you were hurt somehow as a result of the dog’s biting or attacking you.

If you are bitten or attacked by a neighbor’s or stranger’s dog, you may be entitled to some or all the following types of damages:

  • Medical bills – The defendant will be responsible for any out-of-pocket medical bills you incur. They will also be liable for any medical bills paid by your health insurance. In most cases, the defendant’s homeowner’s insurance policy will cover your injuries.
  • Lost Wages – If your injuries are serious, you may miss some time from work. If this is the case, your personal injury lawyer in Cincinnati can demand compensation or lost wages.
  • Property Damage – If you somehow suffer a property loss as the result of your dog bite, you can demand reimbursement for that as well.
  • Pain and Suffering – Thankfully, most dog bites don’t leave the victim with very serious injuries. However, if your injuries are extensive, your Cincinnati injury attorney can demand damages for pain and suffering as well.

dog bite injury

What Defenses Can the Defendant Raise in Court?

The general rule in Ohio is that anyone who is bitten or attacked by a dog can sue the dog’s owner for damages. However, there are certain situations in which the defendant can be found not liable. These cases are few and far between.

It is important that you be aware of these exceptions before you get your hopes up about collecting damages.

In Ohio, a dog owner is not liable for damages if they can prove any of the following conditions existed at the time of the attack:

  • The victim was trespassing at the time of the incident
  • You were antagonizing or provoking the dog prior to the attack
  • You are in the commission of a crime at the time the dog attacks you

It may seem like these are far-fetched exceptions to the rule. However, they arise more frequently than you may think.

For example, if you or your child attempt to pet a dog while it is on private property, you may be considered a trespasser. If that’s the case, you won’t be able to sue for damages. The same is true if you taunt the dog or somehow provoke the animal.

Whether or not your behavior amounts to provocation is something that will be determined in court. Keep in mind, however, that there is a good chance your Cincinnati injury attorney will settle the case long before it goes to trial.

Unless the defendant’s attorney is absolutely confident that they will win in court, they may be willing to cover your out-of-pocket medical bills.

Does it Matter if This is the First Time the Dog Has Harmed Someone?

In many states, a dog’s owner is only liable for damages if they are aware that their dog was vicious or dangerous. In other words, the dog and its owner will get a pass the first time the dog bites or attacks someone.

Ohio is different. The dog bite laws in Ohio do not require the dog’s owner to be on notice that their dog is vicious.

You can sue the dog’s owner for damages even if it’s the first time their dog has ever harmed anyone. Still, if your Cincinnati injury attorney can prove that the defendant’s dog has bitten someone before, it will certainly help your case.

In fact, if the dog is known to be vicious, there is a possibility that your personal injury lawyer in Cincinnati will be able to demand punitive damages in your initial complaint.

Call One of Our Cincinnati Injury Attorneys if You Have Any Questions About Your Own Dog Bite Lawsuit

If you still have any questions about how the dog bite laws work in Ohio, contact our office. You can sit down and meet with one of our experienced Cincinnati injury attorneys free of charge.

Since the dog bite laws in Ohio are so strict, there’s a good chance your personal injury lawyer in Cincinnati will be able to secure you damages. As long as your case doesn’t meet one of the exceptions spelled out here, you shouldn’t have a hard time proving your case.

We do offer our new clients a free, initial consultation. We suggest you call our office and set up a date and time that works for you. If you’re unable to physically come into the office, we can always conduct your consultation by telephone or video call.

Jay A. Bolotin is a partner at the injury law firm of Young, Reverman & Bolotin. Serving the people of Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio, Jay dedicates his career to helping clients in the tri-state area obtain financial compensation after suffering serious injuries. He focuses his practice on cases involving car accidents, trucking accidents, dog bites and animal attacks, and other types of personal injury incidents.

Years of Experience: More than 25 years
Registration Status:: Active
Bar Admissions: Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, and Cincinati Bar Association