How often do you read a gut wrenching headline in a newspaper of a child, or postal worker, viciously attacked by a dog running loose. Under the law, one who owns or keeps a dog that bites another is liable in damages for the injury caused. The owner or keeper’s homeowners insurance is a source of recovery for the claim. The statutory cause of action under the Revised Code is not dependent upon a showing of negligence, meaning that the owner is liable under the law without regard to fault when the dog bites.So long as the victim was not teasing or trespassing, the owner is responsible for the damages caused.
Another cause of action for a dog bite claim arises under the common law. This cause of action is different in that the victim must prove that the owner of the dog knew of the dog’s viciousness and negligently failed to restrain the dog. Under this cause of action, both compensatory damages and punitive damages are available. Compensatory damages reimburse the victim for his/her medical bills, lost wages, permanent injury. Punitive damages are awarded to punish the owner for his reckless conduct in failing to restrain a dog known by him to be vicious.
A recent decision of the Ohio Supreme Court, Beckett v. Warren, 124 Ohio St.3d 256, held that the injured victim has the right to bring both a statutory and common law cause of action in the same lawsuit, and pursue the appropriate damages if the burden of proof is met.
Proving that an owner has knowledge of his/her dog’s vicious propensities is not the easiest of tasks. At the Law Offices Of Mitchell Alter, LLC we have handled multiple dog bite claims and have received both settlements and jury awards compensating victims of vicious dog bite attacks. Through thorough investigations into a dog’s history of prior attacks, vet records, records of agencies that record prior bites, we have been successful in obtaining large awards on behalf of our clients. Please visit our website or follow up with us for a free consultation.