Dogs are often friendly, loyal and happy family pets. However, even the best of dogs can bite and, unfortunately, not all dogs are “the best of dogs.” Whether a dog bite is from a friendly pet that had a bad moment or from an animal that always seemed dangerous, it is important to have a basic understanding of the steps to take if injured from a dog bite.
What happens when dogs bite?
A victim of a dog bite attack can generally hold the dog owner responsible. In Ohio, state law generally holds dog owners accountable through the legal theory of strict liability. This essentially means that the owner is responsible, regardless of whether or not they thought the dog would bite.
After seeking medical care as needed, victims who wish to hold the dog owner responsible should get the dog owner’s contact information. Record the date and location of the incident, the names of any witnesses and the medical treatment needed. It is also important to keep track of any bills, missed work or future medical needs that may be needed as a result of the incident.
After taking these initial steps, the victim may file a complaint with the court. In order to hold the dog owner liable for the dog bite, the victim will likely need to establish the following:
- Ownership or keeper. First, that the individual who is facing the accusations was the owner or otherwise responsible for the dog at the time of the incident.
- Injury. Second, that the victim was injured by the dog during the incident.
- Damages. And finally, that there was actual damage due to the bite. Evidence of medical bills can help meet this last claim.
The exact process will vary for each case, depending on the details of the incident.