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Does A Beware Of Dog Sign Protect The Owner From A Lawsuit

On Behalf of | May 10, 2024 | Dog Bite

Advocating For Justice In Ohio Dog Bite Cases

Navigating the legal landscape can be as tricky as deciphering a treasure map, especially when it comes to dog bites in Ohio. Picture this: you’re strolling down the quaint streets, and suddenly a furry neighbor decides to make an unexpected introduction—teeth first. That’s where the importance of a “beware of dog” sign comes into play.

It’s not just a decorative piece for your yard. It’s a legal precaution. However, even with the sign, legal intricacies can be as puzzling as a Rubik’s Cube in the dark. Navigating the labyrinth of dog bite cases, Karp Steiger Co., LPA brings clarity to the chaos. Our legal prowess isn’t just a feather in their cap.

Brief Overview

Here’s what you need to know about beware of dog signs and the legal implications surrounding them:

  • “Beware of dog” signs serve as legal precautions, but their effectiveness can vary.
  • Dogs may bite for various reasons, and recognizing warning signals is crucial to prevent bites.
  • Ohio’s common law and statutory liability for dog bites are explained, with Ohio holding owners accountable for every bite.
  • Dangerous dog restrictions in Ohio include leash requirements, registration, and liability insurance.
  • Exceptions to Ohio’s dog bite law are outlined, including cases of trespassing and provocation.
  • Liability factors and ways to prove fault in a dog bite injury claim in Ohio are discussed.
  • In most cases, a sign may be enough to protect the dog owner, but there are exceptions.
  • Ohio’s statute of limitations means there is a six-year window for filing.
  • Compensation options for dog bite injury claims in Ohio are outlined, including medical expenses, lost wages, and punitive damages.

If you’ve found yourself on the wrong end of a dog’s playful nip, don’t let legal complexities muddle your path to justice. Take the first step. Reach out to Karp Steiger Co., LPA for a risk-free consultation and let us turn your legal puzzle into a masterpiece of justice. Your story deserves to be told, and we’re here to make sure it’s heard loud and clear.

Why Does A Dog Bite?

Any dog has the potential to bite. Although certain breeds, such as Pit Bulls, Doberman Pinschers, Rottweilers, and others labeled as “bully breeds,” may unfairly carry a reputation for aggression, it’s essential to recognize that dogs, regardless of their size or breed, can exhibit biting behavior. Dogs bite for a variety of reasons:

  • Guarding their territory
  • Protecting something they cherish, such as food or a toy
  • Reacting out of fear or surprise
  • Expressing discomfort or pain when sick or injured and desiring space
  • Exhibiting overexcitement during play, leading to behaviors like nipping during activities such as tug-of-war

In the realm of dog bites, it’s crucial to recognize the indicators. In almost all situations, dogs resort to biting only when other warnings go unheeded. Before a bite, there are clear signs signaling that approaching the dog is not advisable. Familiarizing yourself and your children with these warning signals can help prevent potential disasters.

What Is The Common Law Dog Bite In Ohio?

In most cases, dogs are given one instance of biting without immediate consequences for their owners. This allows for a chance to rectify and enhance the dog’s training and restraint. However, if a dog in a common law jurisdiction bites, proving that it has bitten or attempted to bite someone else in the past becomes necessary.

Additionally, establishing that the owner was aware of such an incident is a challenging task in court, prompting many states to implement specific laws addressing dog bites. Ohio takes a stringent approach with statutory liability for dog bites. In simpler terms, the dog bite law in Ohio holds owners accountable for every bite, even the initial one.

This means that owners in Ohio are explicitly responsible for their dog’s actions from the first bite onward.

What Are Ohio Dangerous Dog Restrictions?

In Ohio, a dog that has caused harm to another person through biting, attacking, or any other means must be officially labeled as a “dangerous dog,” according to Ohio Revised Code Section 955.22.

Once designated as dangerous, these dogs face stringent regulations, including being required to remain on a leash shorter than 6 feet, except during hunting activities. They must also be kept in a securely locked cage or yard. Additionally, dangerous dogs need to be registered with the county auditor and wear a specific tag identifying their status.

For those involved in selling dangerous dogs, it’s mandatory to inform the buyer about the dog’s dangerous classification and report the sale to the county auditor within 10 days, under Ohio Revised Code Section 955.

If an individual is convicted three times for failing to control their dangerous dog, they are obligated to obtain liability insurance to cover potential harm caused by the dog. Ohio law also prohibits the debarking or surgical silencing of dangerous dogs, and individuals with felony convictions may not own such dogs.

What Are The Exceptions To Ohio Dog Bite Law?

Ohio’s stringent dog bite law includes a few exceptions outlined in Ohio Revised Code Section 955.28 (B). These exceptions relieve the owner, harborer, or keeper from liability if the victim was criminally trespassing, committing a criminal offense (other than a minor misdemeanor), or provoking, teasing, tormenting, or abusing the dog at the time of the bite.

However, for a person to seek damages for a dog bite in Ohio, they must demonstrate lawful presence at the location and a legitimate reason for being there, avoiding trespassing or engaging in activities that provoke the dog.

In Ohio, if a dog is provoked to bite, the circumstances leading to the provocation take precedence over the victim’s innocence or unintentional actions, except in the case of small children. Even if a dog, in a friendly manner, knocks someone over, the cause behind the dog’s actions doesn’t absolve the owner, harborer, or keeper from liability in a lawsuit.

Unlike some states where the victim may be considered to have “assumed the risk” by willingly approaching a dog despite warnings, Ohio doesn’t accept the assumption of risk as a defense against dog bite claims. Owners remain liable for injuries, even if the injured person knowingly took a risk that led to the injury.

What To Do Following A Dog Bite On Someone’s Property?

When you’re at someone else’s place and notice a “beware of dog” sign, exercising caution is vital. While these signs serve as warnings, unpredictable situations can still arise in the presence of an aggressive animal.

Should you experience a dog bite on someone else’s property, keeping calm is key. Take the following steps to both seek assistance and gather evidence for any potential legal actions in the future.

  1. Promptly Seek Medical Care. Ideally, ask someone to cleanse the wound with warm water and soap, apply antibacterial ointment, and dress it with clean bandages. Urgently visit the hospital for emergency medical attention.
  2. Document Evidence and Gather Information. Capture photographs of your injuries, the involved animal, and the location of the attack. Exchange contact details with the animal’s owner and any witnesses who observed the incident.
  3. File a Report With Your County’s Animal Control Agency. This step may prompt an investigation by the agency, potentially strengthening your case in the future.

Once you’ve received medical attention for your injuries, contact our dog bite attorney in Ohio at your earliest convenience. We are ready to advocate for your case against the owner of the animal and assist you in obtaining the compensation necessary for your recovery.

Who Can Be Held Liable For My Dog Bite?

In Ohio, the law imposes strict liability on dog owners for a dog bite, but this accountability is contingent upon specific conditions:

  • The person harmed was not engaged in (or attempting) criminal activities.
  • The individual injured was not trespassing on the property.
  • The harmed person did not intentionally provoke the dog through teasing, torment, or abuse.

If you or someone you care about has experienced a dog bite, understand that you can hold the owner accountable. Reporting the incident to animal control or the public health department is an option, preventing potential future attacks. Additionally, you have the right to file a personal injury claim to seek compensation for all the expenses and injuries resulting from the dog bite.

How Can I Prove Fault In My Dog Bite Injury Claim?

Additional compensation might be granted if the owner was aware of the dog’s tendency to bite or display aggression, yet the dog was still given the chance to attack. Ways to establish fault include:

Breed And Size Considerations

Generally, larger animals pose a higher risk of causing injury. The specific species and breed may be significant if it can be demonstrated that certain breeds, like pit bulls or Rottweilers, are more likely to cause severe damage due to their physiological characteristics, such as a higher bite force.

Purpose Of Animal Keeping

If an animal is kept for protection and trained to attack unknown individuals, it can be inferred that the owner should have been aware of the potential for an attack.

History Of Snapping And Biting

A track record of aggressive behavior serves as evidence that the owner was aware of the animal’s violent tendencies.

Owner’s Response To Complaints

If previous complaints were brought to the owner’s attention, and no adequate preventive measures were taken, it can be used as evidence that the owner knew the animal could be a threat.

Fighting With Other Animals

Even if the animal hasn’t attacked a human before, a history of fighting with other animals can indicate a potentially dangerous nature.

Frequent Confinement

If the owner consistently keeps the animal confined, whether in a cage or on a tight leash or chain, it may suggest an awareness of the animal’s potential danger.

Occasional Muzzling

The occasional use of a muzzle during walks or when people are nearby can be seen as evidence that the owner recognizes the animal’s dangerous tendencies.

Owner’s Statements About Animal’s Character

Any statements made by the owner regarding past bites, fights, or aggressive behavior are relevant in establishing the owner’s awareness of the likelihood of future attacks.

Owner’s Warnings To Strangers

Verbal warnings given by the owner to others indicate a concern that the animal might pose a threat, adding to the owner’s knowledge of the potential for harm to others.

The owner could be held responsible for battery if they command their dog to attack someone without a valid reason, like self-defense or preventing a crime. Unwarranted, orchestrated attacks leading to severe bodily harm or death may also lead to criminal charges.

Does A Beware Of Dog Sign Protect The Owner From A Lawsuit?

Concerned about the potential for your dog to bite someone? Can displaying a “beware of dog” sign on your property provide legal protection in the event of a dog bite lawsuit? There are situations where such a sign might work against you, suggesting you were aware of your dog’s aggressive tendencies.

In most cases, alerting people about the potential danger of a dog on your premises can aid in defending yourself from a dog bite lawsuit. Let’s explore the potential legal implications of having a “beware of dog” sign with a general overview:

The Sign May Indicate The Owner Was Aware Of The Dog’s Aggressive Tendencies

Laws regarding animal bites differ across states, and some states enforce strict liability for dog owners in cases of injuries caused by bites. In states without such strict liability laws, individuals suing for injuries often need to demonstrate that the owner was aware or had reason to know about the dog’s aggressive tendencies.

One piece of evidence a plaintiff might use to establish this awareness is the presence of a warning sign on the owner’s property. While the sign alone doesn’t prove knowledge of aggressive tendencies, when combined with factors like previous bites, complaints brought to the owner’s attention, or other signs of aggression, it can contribute to building a case.

The Sign Might Imply That The Victim Willingly Accepted The Risk

However, a sign can also work in favor of a dog owner, indicating that the person bitten knew about the potential risk and willingly accepted that risk by approaching the dog. Even in states with strict liability laws for animal bites, the assumption of risk can serve as a defense.

The decision to display a sign ultimately rests with the individual dog owner, but a warning sign’s ability to prevent a dog bite in the first place can be the most effective legal safeguard.

If you find yourself facing a potential dog bite lawsuit, seeking guidance from our trusted Ohio personal injury lawyer can help clarify the laws and explore your legal options.

What Is Ohio’s Statute Of Limitations For Dog Bite Injury Claims?

Similar to other offenses, there is a time limit within which you must initiate a claim for compensation regarding injuries resulting from a dog bite or attack. In Ohio, you have a window of six years from the date of the incident to file a lawsuit.

However, if the bite occurs before you turn 18, you are granted six years from your 18th birthday to take legal action. Failure to file within this timeframe results in the forfeiture of your right to sue and seek compensation.

For assistance with your case, don’t hesitate to reach out to Karp Steiger Co., LPA. Whether through a phone call or a website message, we are dedicated advocates for individuals who have suffered injuries from dog bites throughout Ohio.

What Compensation Can I Get From My Dog Bite Injury Claim?

If a dog bites you in Ohio, you generally have the right to seek compensation from the owner. This compensation should encompass medical expenses resulting from the dog bite, property damage, and, if the bite was severe enough to cause you to miss work, compensation for lost wages.

Additionally, you may be eligible for compensation for “non-economic” losses, including scarringpain and suffering, and psychological damage. If you discover that you can’t file a claim under Ohio’s specific dog bite statutes, consider pursuing a claim under a different legal theory based on common law.

For instance, you might demonstrate that the dog owner acted negligently or recklessly, knowing that you could be harmed. For instance, allowing a dog to roam freely in a kindergarten is likely negligent behavior. Opting for a claim under common law might open the possibility of winning punitive damages.

Unlike compensatory damages meant to cover specific losses, punitive damages are designed to punish the dog owner. This means that, in some cases, pursuing a claim under common law might result in higher financial recovery compared to the dog bite statute.

Securing Your Legal Rights Following A Dog Bite In Ohio

In the realm of dog bites in Ohio, the “beware of dog sign” serves as a silent sentinel, a reminder that legal complexities can lurk in the aftermath of a canine encounter. As we navigate this legal terrain, one truth becomes evident—having a reliable legal companion is not just an option; it’s a necessity.

Our Ohio dog bite lawyer from Karp Steiger Co., LPA, emerges as the beacon in this legal journey, cutting through the confusion and ensuring that justice isn’t a distant dream but a tangible reality. If you or a loved one has faced the sharp end of a dog’s bite, it’s time to take the leash and lead the way towards justice.

Karp Steiger Co., LPA, stands ready to be your legal ally, unraveling the complexities, and advocating for your rights. Beyond mere legal representation, we offer a lifeline for those navigating the emotional aftermath of such incidents. Your story deserves to be heard, and with Karp Steiger Co., LPA, you’re not just hiring personal injury lawyers.

You’re securing a partner dedicated to turning the page from canine chaos to legal clarity. Our law firm can also represent you in Car Accidents, Motorcycle Accidents, Truck Accidents, and Workers’ Compensation. Reach out today for a risk-free consultation. Because in the face of personal injury cases in Ohio, justice is not a luxury—it’s a right.