Any dog will bite, and even a seemingly minor nip that does little physical damage can lead to a serious infection. The size and breed of the dog does not correlate to the likelihood of an attack. Nor does it matter how seriously or how often an owner assures that their dog is friendly and “would never bite.” A scared, stressed, overexcited, ill, or poorly trained dog will bite, sometimes with little warning.
But what can the victim of a dog attack do to have their medical bills paid?
Premises liability is a concept that boils down to giving a property owner a legal duty to keep visitors safe and healthy. Trips on stairs, slips on icy sidewalks, electric shocks, and near-drownings in backyard pools can provide grounds for filing insurance claims or personal injury lawsuits under the theory of premises liability.
Succeeding with a premises liability claim requires showing that the property owner or property manager acted negligently in failing to identify and remove or mitigate a risk for injury. For instance, knowing that a stair step was loose and doing nothing to fix the problem could make a homeowner liable when a party guest trips on the step and breaks their leg.
Since dogs, other pets, and livestock are legally treated as household possessions, a dog’s owner becomes responsible for ensuring that the animal does not injure anyone. When the dog does bite someone, the victim can seek compensation from its owner.
To receive an insurance settlement or win a jury award, a dog bite injury victim in Columbus or elsewhere in Ohio must show both that the dog’s owner was negligent and that a serious injury occurred. Partnering with a Columbus dog bite injury attorney can help with this because strong defenses against a dog bite claim exist.
Negligent behaviors that can make a dog owner liable for a bite include
On the other hand, an owner can defend themselves by arguing that the dog bite victim provoked the animal, was trespassing, or was attacking the owner. A dog owner may also raise questions about how badly the bite hurt the person.
Telling the true story of the attack and its aftereffects could depend on interviewing witnesses, obtaining videos, and presenting medical records. A Columbus dog bite attorney who has experience representing dog bite victims will know how to collect and organize such evidence.
A dog owner is allowed to use the animal to protect themselves and their property, but it is illegal to send a dog after someone who poses no threat to people or property. If someone maliciously sics a dog on you, you may have grounds for reporting an assault to the police and for discussing an intentional tort claim with a personal injury lawyer. “Tort” is the word attorneys use to mean “legally actionable harm.”
Succeeding with an intentional tort claim would require convincing a judge or jury that the dog owner wanted to injure or kill you by setting their dog on you. You would also need to produce evidence that you were not posing a threat or committing a crime such as theft that could merit ordering the dog to attack.
If you need help with a dog bite case, consider contacting an attorney at the Columbus offices of Agee Clymer. Our Columbus dog bite injury attorneys offer free consultations to potential clients, and we are available to help people all across Ohio. Connect with us online or call us at (614) 221-3318 to schedule an appointment.