Dog Bites and Strict Liability
In Ohio, if you have been the victim of a dog bite, the dog's owner, keeper, or harborer is strictly liable for your injuries. In contrast to most personal injury cases, this "strict liability" means you do not have to prove that the dog's owner or caretaker was negligent.
According to ORC 955.28(B), the "owner, keeper, or harborer of a dog is liable in damages for any injury, death, or loss to person or property that is caused by the dog," except under certain circumstances. (For example, if the injured party was criminally trespassing or abusing the dog on the owner's, keeper's, or harborer's property.)
Under the above law, any person to whom the dog belonged and/or any person with physical control over the dog at the time of attack (the "keeper") would be held liable for your injury. This also means, however, that if you were attacked by a friend's dog while you were taking it for a walk, you would be considered the dog's "keeper," and would thus be ineligible to recover damages under the law.
Similarly, if you live with another person and that person's dog were to bite you, it is possible that you would be considered a "harborer" of the dog (someone who has possession and control of the premises where the dog lives), and thus also ineligible to recover damages against the owner.
A qualified personal injury attorney can assist you in determining whether or not you have a claim under Ohio law. For a confidential review, please contact our Cincinnati personal injury law office today or call (513) 474-3700.