Does the “One-Bite” Rule for Dog Attacks Apply in Ohio?

January 17, 2012

Dog Bites

One-Bite Rule of Dog AttacksWhether you are a dog owner or the victim of a dog bite attack, you may have a keen interest in whether the so-called one-bite rule applies. The short answer is, if you live in Ohio, it does NOT.

The one-bite rule in effect in some states says that a dog’s owner cannot be held liable for injuries caused by his dog if the dog does not have a history of attacking people. Because the owner didn’t known about the dog’s dangerous propensity, he could not be expected to take appropriate action. Fortunately for Ohio dog bite victims, we do not have such a law.

Ohio has eradicated this law in recent years and replaced it with a rule of “strict liability.”  This law provides no leeway for a dog owner. If a dog bites someone, the owner is responsible for the injuries incurred by the victim, including medical bills, lost wages, and future expenses. The dog does not have to have a history of attacks, much less be deemed dangerous.

There are exceptions to this law, however. For one, strict liability does not protect a person who breaks and enters a home where a dog lives. Such odd stories of a criminal suing a homeowner when he is injured burgling the property do not apply here. Neither does the law apply to a person who comes onto the property where the dog lives and teases or abuses it. In this latter regard, the law recognizes that a dog may naturally be coerced to attack when it feels threatened.

Some jurisdictions in Ohio have enacted laws that restrict certain breeds. This is in response to specific breeds that tend to attack more viciously and/or were originally developed as attack animals. Just owning a pit bull in these cities is illegal.

If you have questions about liability in Ohio dog attacks or you were injured in a dog attack, contact the Ohio dog bite lawyers at Slater & Zurz LLP for a FREE evaluation of your case by calling 1-800-297-9191 or send a Blog Message to schedule a time to talk.

To learn more about dog bites and dog attacks in Ohio, please visit

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About slaterzurz

Slater & Zurz LLP is an Ohio law firm of highly experienced and respected attorneys. Over the last 40 years, we have developed a reputation for getting positive results for clients. We've been trusted with handling over 20,000 personal injury cases and our clients have received more than $120,000,000.

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