In the next year, there is a 1 in 50 chance that you’ll be attacked by a dog. If you are attacked, then there is a 1 in 6 chance that you’ll have to go to the hospital, and perhaps even require surgery and multiple hospital visits. If you’re under 14, your chances of being bitten are substantially higher, as are your chances of sustaining more serious and scarring injuries to the face, hands, arms, and legs.
Most people don’t know how to get their lives back on track after a serious dog bite injury. Our mission is to create individualized plans to get our clients back to health quicker, get the bills paid, and live the lives they want to live.
There are approximately 52 million dogs living in the United States today, and a surprising number of them can pose serious threats to innocent adults and children. In fact, during the past ten years, several studies claim that there’s been a 30 percent increase in reports of dog bites, despite only a negligible increase in the total dog population. Today, some estimates claim that 13,000 dog bites occur daily and that more than $100 million in medical expenses result annually. When dog bites do occur, a Toledo dog bite lawyer can assist in recovering damages and walking the injured party through the legal claims process. An experienced personal injury lawyer in Toledo can also assist by advocating on behalf of the injured party in court and ensuring that all evidence is taken into account.
Part of the reason for the recent surge in dog attacks is no doubt because “attack” dogs – Pit Bulls, Canary Dogs, Rottweilers, Bulldogs, German Shepherds, Siberian Huskies, and Alaskan Malamutes – have become a popular choice of pets for many Americans. When properly trained and raised in homes prepared for their needs, these dogs can be as friendly and obedient as any other breed of dogs. The problem is that many owners get these types of dogs for all the wrong reasons.
Like parents who abuse or neglect their children, dog owners who aren’t prepared for the responsibilities of the role often end up with dogs that will routinely demonstrate violent, unpredictable and aggressive behavior. But unlike a rebellious teenager, a troubled pit bull can have the biting power of 2600 lbs. per square inch (psi), easily enough strength to maim or kill a grown man. While negligent dog owners happily pay hundreds or thousands of dollars to own a pure breed Pit Bull or Huskie, they are less willing to make the investment in time that it takes to become caring and responsible owners of these potentially dangerous breeds.
An important part of a personal injury claim is identifying the correct defendants. Of course, the animal’s owner is responsible for any attack their animal commits. However, other parties could also share the liability.
If the dog owner was a tenant leasing their apartment, the owner of the building could be held liable for allowing a dangerous animal to live on their premises. This especially applies to cases involving injured delivery workers or utility servicepeople. Every landowner has a duty to keep their land safe for visitors, so allowing a dangerous dog to live there could be creating an unnecessary risk of harm.
When negligent ownership of a dog erupts into an injury for an innocent person, the victim with the help of a Toledo dog bite lawyer has a right to pursue damages against the owner equal to the pain and suffering their dog has inflicted. A dog bite victim may incur many different kinds of damages and losses, from medical bills and emotional damage to loss of the opportunity to earn income in the future because of disfigurement. As for children, the segment of the population most frequently attacked by dogs, the emotional and psychological damage that an attack by a wild dog can scar for a lifetime.
Most laws concerning dog ownership and dog owner liability when attacked by a dog are enforced at the county level. Akron, for example, has ordinances in place that ban ownership of several breeds of “vicious” dogs within city limits. Other counties in Ohio have very strict definitions of a dog owner’s responsibility and what the law considers owner negligence when a dog attack occurs.
Many property owners in Toledo obtain homeowner’s insurance protecting them against accidental injury. Since most dog bites are accidental, it is possible a claim for damages could be covered through their policy.
However, some insurance companies could deny responsibility. These policies typically only cover incidents that happen on a homeowner’s property. If the attack happened on a sidewalk, the insurance policy may not apply. Additionally, some policies require an owner to disclose whether they have an animal on the property or even prohibit ownership of certain breeds of dogs. If an owner violates this policy, the insurance company could deny payment. A Toledo dog attack attorney could help to determine if filing a claim against a homeowner’s insurance policy is a valid option to seek compensation.
Traditional laws governing owner liability following a dog bite are known as one-bite rules. In short, these laws allow an owner to escape liability if they did not have reason to know that their dog was vicious or dangerous.
Thankfully, the laws in Toledo and throughout the state have done away with this concept. Ohio Revised Code §955.28(B) states that the owner of a dog is always liable for any damage that the animal causes, even on the first bite. This explicitly includes bodily injuries or death. The lone exception to this rule is that the animal can protect its own home. An owner could argue that the plaintiff in the case was trespassing or tormenting the animal, provoking an attack. A Toledo dog bite attorney could provide more information about the laws that govern dog attacks.
Toledo dog bite attorney Charles E. Boyk has helped people who’ve been injured by wild and uncontrollable dogs. He’s made sure that negligent owners face the proper consequences when a lack of care for dogs results in preventable injury.
Boyk represents dog bite attack victims who have suffered rabies, puncture wounds and scarring, emotional trauma and wrongful death as a result of the attack. Contact Chuck Boyk today if you or a loved one is seeking legal help for your injury. If you have been attacked by a dog in the following areas: Oregon, Perrysburg, Rossford or Whitehouse, consult a dog bite attorney.
Charles E. Boyk Law Offices, LLC