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Dog bites: Does Ohio allow “one free bite?”

On Behalf of | May 23, 2022 | Dog Bites |

You have reason to be cautious when you come into close contact with a dog. It is estimated there are more than 4 million dog bites annually in the United States.

Dog bites can be severe, even fatal. In an average year, approximately 40 people in the U.S. die each year from dog bites. Ohio had the most dog-bite fatalities in the country in 2017, with four deaths.

Is “one free bite” allowed in Ohio?

There was a time when every state allowed “one free bite” before legal action could be taken. Now the law in a majority of states, including Ohio, says the owner is responsible even if the dog has not shown aggressive behavior in the past.

Are there rules for “dangerous dogs?”

After a dog has bitten someone, the dog must be registered. Owners of dangerous dogs must follow these rules:

  • The dog must be kept on a leash that is shorter than 6 feet (there’s an exception for hunting).
  • The dog must be kept in a locked cage or yard.
  • The dog must always wear a tag with a dangerous dog designation.

Also, the dog must be registered with the county auditor as a dangerous dog.

What are possible damages for dog bites?

Damages for dog bites can include medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and scarring. Punitive damages are possible if the owner acted with gross negligence, which is reckless disregard for the safety of others.

Does insurance cover dog bites?

Homeowners or renters insurance typically covers dog bites, up to the insurance policy’s limits.

Can dog-bite victims sue?

Insurance does not always cover all dog-bite damages. Fortunately, Ohio law allows dog bite victims to pursue compensation for their injuries.

If you have questions regarding the legal ramifications of a dog bite, contact an attorney who is experienced in this area of the law.