Theories of Liability After a Dog Attack in Ohio

August 16, 2012

Dog Bites

Theories of Liability after a Dog Attack in OhioIn Ohio, a person who suffers injury as the result of a dog attack has two potential theories of liability by which to file a lawsuit.  The first is a common law negligence theory of liability.  The second is a statutory theory of liability, which is codified in the Ohio Revised Code section 955.28.  A dog bite victim may file a lawsuit under either one of these theories of liability or both of them.

Under the common law negligence theory of liability, the Ohio dog bite victim must prove that:

1) The defendant owned or harbored the dog,

2) The dog was vicious,

3) The defendant knew that the dog was vicious; and

4) The dog was kept in a negligent manner after the owner knew of its viciousness.

Under the negligence theory of liability punitive damages may be awarded.  An Ohio dog bite victim has two (2) years from the date of the dog attack to file a lawsuit for negligence.

Under the statutory theory of liability, strict liability is imposed upon the owner, keeper, or harborer of a dog for any injury caused by that dog.  Under the statutory theory, an Ohio dog attack victim does not have to prove that the dog owner had knowledge of the dog’s viciousness.  The victim needs only to show that the person is the owner, keeper, or harborer of the dog and that the dog caused injury to the victim.  Under the Ohio dog bite statute, punitive damages are not recoverable.  An Ohio dog bite victim has six (6) years from the date of the dog attack to file a lawsuit based on a statutory theory of liability.

If you or a loved one has become the victim of a dog attack anywhere in Ohio, please contact the Ohio law firm of Slater & Zurz LLP for a free consultation to learn what actions you can take under Ohio law. Please call 1-800-297-9191 or send a Blog Message to schedule a time to talk.

For more information 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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