Dog Bites/Injuries Caused by Animals at Large

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of 4.7 million people per year are victims of dog attacks. In Ohio alone, there were nearly 30,000 such victims in 2010 and 2011, a large portion of which were children. Oftentimes, these attacks are unprovoked, and many lead to very serious injuries such as lacerations, puncture wounds, infections and permanent physical and emotional scarring.

Although there are many breeds that attack, German Shepherd, Pit Bull, Doberman Pinscher, Husky, Great Dane, Rottweiler and St. Bernard bites usually inflict the most damage.

Ohio laws are very favorable to victims of dog bites. Unlike some states, Ohio does not allow a dog one "free bite" before liability will attach to its owner. In fact, in many instances, the owner of a dog who attacks or bites another without provocation will be held strictly liable for the dog's actions. This can be true even if the attack took place in the home or on the property of the dog owner.

In addition to statutory and common law remedies against the owners of dangerous animals, the victim of an animal attack is also eligible to participate in Ohio's Victim of Crime Program. This program is especially beneficial in those situations where the animal owner is uninsured and uncollectible, and the victim has outstanding medical bills.

For decades, the attorneys at Klein & Carney have handled dog bite and other animal attack claims on behalf of people all over the State of Ohio. If you have been attacked, bitten or scratched by a vicious dog or other animal, contact Larry Klein or Chris Carney at 216-861-0111 for a free consultation. Call any time, 24/7, and you will have Larry or Chris on the line within minutes.

What To Do If You Are Bitten

  • SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION: It goes without saying that a serious bite should be treated emergently by a local hospital emergency room. However, even where a bite is relatively minor, dog or animal bites pose a serious risk of infection, making it imperative that the victim seek immediate medical attention.
  • IDENTIFY THE DOG AND OWNER: In order to rule out serious disorders such as rabies, it is crucial that the dog and its owner be identified so that health authorities can investigate vaccination records, or can test the dog to determine if it carries disease.
  • REPORT THE ATTACK: Most municipalities/counties maintain records on dog bites and require that bites be reported so that action can be taken in regard to vicious animals involved in more than one attack. This is vital in those cases where the owner or dog cannot be identified as the law enforcement officials will take the steps necessary to locate the animal and its owner. If you are bitten, contact your local law enforcement department and/or department of health to report the incident.
  • DO NOT SPEAK TO THE INSURANCE COMPANY: Every insurance company is in the business of making money. An insurance adjuster's job is to resolve injury claims for the smallest amount of compensation possible. For this reason, adjusters will never tell a dog bite victim that Ohio law makes an owner, keeper or harborer of a dog that bites a person without provocation strictly liable to that person. An insurance company will not tell a victim that he may be entitled to compensation even if the bite occurred on the property of the dog owner. An insurance company will not tell a victim that he may be entitled to be compensated for medical bills, lost wages, scarring and for the physical and emotional pain and suffering that a dog bite can cause. Dealing with an insurance company without the assistance of a seasoned attorney inevitably leads to a settlement that is well below what the victim deserves.