SKILLED IN DOG BITE & DOG ATTACK CASES
A DOG BITE CAN LEAD TO A LIFELONG FEAR OF ANIMALS
While most of our furry, four-legged friends are gentle and loving, some dogs can bite or attack, causing serious injuries to a victim. Children are especially at risk, since they love to pet dogs and are close in height alignment. Still, dog bite injuries can be devastating for victims of all ages. Plastic surgery is often necessary for severe facial injuries or trauma to extremities. Plus, the emotional impact is significant, as a dog bite can lead to lifelong fear of animals.
At Groth & Associates, our attorneys understand that being attacked by a dog can be extremely traumatizing. We are dedicated to getting you the compensation you deserve for your losses, and you have multiple options for pursuing your rights. Please contact our firm to schedule a free consultation with a Bowling Green, OH dog bite lawyer, and read on for important information.
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PROVING A DOG BITE CASE
To recover compensation for your injuries as the victim of a dog bite, you need to establish that the owner is legally liable. In Ohio, liability in a dog bite case is based upon two different theories.
- Statutory Strict Liability: State lawmakers have enacted a statute regarding dogs and other animals that can be dangerous to humans. The Ohio dog bite law states that the owner or keeper may be liable for injuries to a victim if:
- The dog’s behavior was a direct cause of the injuries;
- The victim was not engaged in criminal activity or attempting to commit a crime at the time of the attack;
- The victim was not trespassing on private property; and,
- The victim did not instigate the attack by teasing, abusing, annoying, or provoking the animal.
Under the statute’s strict liability, you do not have to prove that the dog had bitten someone else in the past. You also do not need to present evidence showing that the animal’s owner or keeper was negligent, such as by leaving a fence open or not providing a warning to others.
It is also important to note that the statute covers all types of injuries that a dog can cause, so it is not limited to dog bites only. You may still have the right to compensation if you were injured because you were knocked down, mauled, or otherwise attacked.
- Negligence in Dog Bite Cases: You may also have a claim based upon negligence in a dog bite case, which may be an alternative legal remedy if you cannot prove the essential elements of a claim based upon strict liability. To recover compensation in a negligence dog bite case, you must show that:
- The dog’s owner or keeper had a duty to exercise reasonable care in handling the animal;
- The responsible party breached this duty of care, perhaps by not having the dog on leash or controlling the animal;
- The breach of duty caused the dog bite, leading you to suffer injuries;
- You sustained losses as a result of your injuries.
Our dog bite lawyers at Groth & Associates have extensive knowledge of the laws and legal concepts that apply to both strict liability and negligence-based animal attack cases. We also have access to resources to help with our burden of proof, including investigators, medical experts, and economists. Our attorneys are dedicated to getting the full amount of compensation you deserve by law, whether we are negotiating settlement with an insurance company or representing you in court.
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RECOVERING COMPENSATION FOR YOUR LOSSES
GROSS NEGLIGENCE INCLUDES RECKLESSNESS OR WILLFUL MISCONDUCT BY THE DOG’S OWNER
Regardless of the theory of liability in a dog bite case, you are entitled to seek monetary damages for the losses you experience due to your injuries. Depending on your unique circumstances, you may be able to recover compensation for:
- Your medical bills, including costs of surgery, emergency care, physical therapy, psychiatric treatment, cosmetic procedures, and other healthcare costs;
- Lost wages, if your dog bite injuries cause you to miss work;
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress, which can be significant since many dog bite victims suffer serious psychological trauma and debilitating fear of animals;
- Losses based upon your relationships with your spouse, children, and other loved ones; and,
- Many other damages.
Punitive Damages: Ohio is one state that allows a dog bite victim to pursue punitive damages, which could increase your compensation considerably. You must prove that the dog’s owner acted with gross negligence, which goes above and beyond mere negligence. Gross negligence includes recklessness or willful misconduct by the dog’s owner. It is only possible to recover punitive damages if you file a claim based upon negligence; this type of monetary award is not available under Ohio’s dog bite statute.
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CHALLENGES WITH DOG BITE CLAIMS
Any dog bite case can be complicated, but there are some legal concepts that may affect your compensation. Our dog bite attorneys at Groth & Associates can explain them in more detail as they may be relevant to your situation:
Statute of Limitations: Ohio has a statute of limitations that applies to all cases based upon personal injury, including dog bite cases. By law, you must file a lawsuit against the dog’s owner within two years after the attack. If you fail to do so, your claim is forever barred and you cannot recover compensation.
Contributory Negligence and Defenses: Your own conduct may be the focus in either a strict liability or negligence dog bite case. The statute provides that you cannot recover at all if you were engaged in criminal activity or trespassing. This is a complete defense that the dog’s owner may claim.
However, if you file a claim based upon negligence, your conduct can also affect your compensation under Ohio’s statute on contributory fault. If your acts were a factor in your dog bite injuries, your damages are reduced by the amount of fault attributable to you.
SCHEDULE A CONSULTATION WITH A DOG BITE ATTORNEY IN BOWLING GREEN, OH TODAY
For more information your legal remedies as the victim of a dog bite, please contact Groth & Associates to set up a free case evaluation. You can call to speak with a dog bite attorney in Bowling Green, OH and learn more about our legal services. Our team represents clients throughout Northwest Ohio and Southeastern Michigan from our conveniently located office in Toledo, OH.