Many homeowners in Ohio never pause to consider this question: If my dog attacks a guest or someone on my property, will I be held liable? If so, what does that mean?
If you own a dog and own or rent a home in Ohio, now is the time ask yourself these questions.
Dog Attacks Cause Millions in Homeowners Claims
Did you know that in 2003, dog bites represented one fourth of all homeowners insurance liability claims? The total cost of these claims totaled an alarming $321.6 million. In summary, dog attacks are more common that many people think.
Dog Bites & Ohio Law
An owner and keeper of a dog in the State of Ohio is strictly liable for damages caused by the dog on the owner’s property or in a public place. Whether the owner of the dog knew of the dog’s vicious tendencies (or had reason to believe the dog would act viciously) is not a valid defense. In such case, the dog owner is still liable. The only defenses available to the dog owner include cases where the injured party trespassed on the dog owner’s property, engaged in criminal conduct, or teased, tormented or abused the dog on the owner’s property.
Victims in Ohio are not required to prove that the owner had knowledge that the dog was vicious. Nor must the victim prove that the dog was vicious or that the dog was kept in a negligent manner.
If You’re a Victim of a Dog Attack
No one ever expects to be the victim of a dog attack. That’s why it’s important to always be prepared for the unlikely situation that a dog bites you or someone in your family.
Here are some helpful tips if you happen to become a victim of a dog bite:
(1) gather witnesses’ names, addresses, and contact information;
(2) request the homeowners’ insurance information;
(3) take photographs of your bites and injuries;
(4) seek medical attention as soon as you can;
(5) keep a journal with all of your notes about the attack.
Serving the People of Ohio
Do you have a question about a recent dog attack in which you were the victim or an attack that occurred on your property? Our firm is available to answer your questions. Stop by our office in Columbus, Ohio or give us a call. A knowledgeable team member will listen to your questions and help you find the answers that you’re seeking.