According to the United States Postal Service (USPS), mail delivery was temporarily suspended on a street in Youngstown, Ohio, after an unrestrained dog attacked a mail carrier. The USPS stated that the service had been suspended as there were aggressive animals that posed a serious threat to letter carriers. Service to the area was stated to resume once the area was deemed safe and the issue had been resolved with the animal’s owner.
Dog Bites – Your Rights and Responsibilities
According to the USPS, more than 5,400 postal employees were attacked by dogs in the United States in the past year. These incidents include nips, bites, and vicious attacks. Unrestrained and aggressive dogs pose a safety threat to not only postal workers but also to the public at large.
If you were bitten by a dog, your rights and the owner’s responsibilities may be of interest to you. Each state has a statute of limitations period to file a claim and limits the length of time a dog owner may be liable for the injury caused.
The Statute of Limitations for Dog Bite Injury Lawsuits
Statute of limitations provide a limit on how long you have a right to file a lawsuit in your state’s civil court. Depending on the type of case, different timelines are set in place, but they all have the same consequences. If you miss the deadline, the court will almost certainly dismiss the case unless there are rare extenuating circumstances.
Dog bite cases constitute a personal injury under Ohio law and state that any lawsuit seeking a legal remedy for “injury to the person” must be filed within two years (meaning filing a personal injury claim in court). This two-year period usually starts when the bite or other injury occurs. So, if you are attacked or bitten by a dog, after seeking medical attention and reporting the incident to proper authorities, you should contact an attorney so they can take the proper steps to protect and preserve your claim.
Liability Laws for Dog Bites
Ohio has liability laws that govern liability when an incident occurs. Ohio law states (Ohio Revised Code Section 955.28, B) that an “owner, keeper, or Harborer” of a dog is liable for any injury caused by the animal if:
- the dog’s behavior caused the injury
- the injured person was not “committing or attempting to commit criminal trespass or another criminal offense other than a minor misdemeanor,” and
- the injured person was not “teasing, tormenting, or abusing the dog.”
If someone else’s dog injures you, they are liable to compensate you for your medical bills, time off work, lost income, and any other damages resulting from the incident. Ohio law does not require the injured party to prove that the dog owner was negligent or failed to act in controlling the dog or preventing the bite from occurring. The owner is liable for your claims if the above criteria are met.
A dog owner may try to defend against the claim by stating that the injured party was teasing the animal or trespassing if you are a door-to-door salesperson or solicitor. Even if a solicitor or door-to-door salesperson does not have a permit to conduct sales, the dog owner will not be cleared of liability simply because the injured party had no permit. Ohio law states that the owner is not liable if the injured party committed a crime (other than a “minor misdemeanor” as the statute differentiates) or tried to commit one when the dog bit them.
Contact an Attorney If You Were Injured in an Animal Attack
If you were bitten or attacked by a dog, contact an attorney that has experience handling dog bite cases. These cases can be complex based on the extent of your injuries and the dog owner’s defense for why the incident occurred. The lawyers at Charles Boyk Law Offices have handled many of these claims and understand that many of these incidents can seriously harm and injure the victim. Contact us today today for a free consultation of your case.