Ohio has a dog bite statute, which provides that the “owner, keeper, or harborer” of an animal is strictly liable for any injuries caused by that animal. The statute does not require the owner’s knowledge of the dog’s viciousness. An action under this statute establishes liability without regard to fault or negligence of the owner, keeper, or harborer of the dog.

What is a keeper?  A “keeper” is someone who maintains physical control over the animal.  For example, the dog’s owner leaves a dog with a friend while he or she goes out of town. That friend is the keeper of the dog and has liability if the dog attacks someone.

What is a harborer? A “harborer” is someone who controls the property that the animal resides on. For example, an adult who lives with their parents owns a dog. These parents are harborers and would have liability if the dog bites someone.

The three exceptions to this strict liability rule are when the injured person was teasing or tormenting the dog, trespassing, or committing a criminal offense on the owner’s property.

What does a Dog Bite Victim have to prove?

A victim hurt by a dog must prove three elements to recover under this statute:

  • the defendant was the owner, keeper, or harborer of the dog;
  • the dog’s actions proximately caused the injury claimed; and
  • damages.

What are Damages?

Dog bite victims are entitled to compensation for all medical bills, lost wages, damaged clothing or shoes and other personal items linked to the dog bite.

A dog bite victim may also receive compensation for the pain and suffering associated with the dog bite.

Statute of Limitations

In Ohio, a dog bite victim has two years from the date of the bite to either settle their claim or file a lawsuit against the dog’s owner, harborer, or keeper. If the dog bite victim is under the age of 18 at the time of the injury, the injured party will have two (2) years from the date of their 18th birthday to settle or file a claim.

If you or a loved one were bitten by a dog, please contact the dog bite attorneys at Dworken & Bernstein Co, LPA.

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