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Insurance Issues for Your Ohio Dog Bite Lawyer

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Why is there a need for your dog bite lawyer in Ohio? According to the Center for Disease Control, more than 4.5 million people are victims of a dog bite attack in the United States each year. Of those, over 800,000 require some form of medical treatment. The Insurance Information Institute stated 21 percent of homeowners adopted dogs in 2020. Based on common sense, the increase in dog ownership means more personal injury cases from animal attacks against the dog’s owner.

How does your experienced attorney get fair compensation for the victim’s injuries?

One of the biggest issues for your Ohio dog bite lawyer is collecting all types of compensation. This usually means the experienced dog bite lawyer must track down insurance coverage. In a car crash, your lawyer often uses your uninsured motorist coverage if the at-fault party doesn’t have insurance. Unfortunately, no such thing exists for a dog bite case. As such, you normally must collect your financial compensation from the animal’s owner, the person with the animal control or the property owner where the dog bite injury occurred.

Firstly, most people don’t have the personal assets to pay the victim of a dog bite for serious injuries. Secondly, the average dog bite claim has increased by over 7 percent from 2019 to 2020. While the average payout slightly dropped in 2021, it increased by 31.7% in 2022. Approximately $853,700,000 was paid on personal injury cases from dog related events in 2020. Moreover, the average cost per insurance claim increased 12.3% in 2020. In 2021, that amount increased to $881,900,000; and, in 2022, it was over $1,136,000,000. Thirdly, many dog liability claims cause serious injuries, permanent injuries. Lastly, many people liable to dog bite victims don’t tell the injured victims who insures the dog owner. These owners are afraid of their dog being labeled a dangerous dog or a vicious dog. The dog’s owner often wrongly thinks he/she has no liability because it is the first time his/her dog hurt someone. (Ohio does not have a one bite rule). Also, the dog’s owner often fears legal action (such as leash law charges).

What does this mean for the victim?

None of these concerns are valid. And none of these matter to victims of dog bites. Ohio is a strict liability state for most injuries from dogs. Therefore, with few exceptions, those hurt have legal rights. The last thing you and your Ohio dog bite lawyer want is for you to suffer serious injury and emotional trauma without compensation for medical bills, lost wages and other damages. Some insurance companies find reasons to exclude the personal injury claim. This is one reason you need an experienced dog bite lawyer.

For Your Dog Attack Lawyer in Ohio, the breed of dog doesn’t matter; but, for some insurance companies it does!

On my dog bite page, I write about there being no bad breeds of dogs, just bad owners. While this is very true, some insurance companies see it differently. They exclude specific breed types from coverage. For instance, Nationwide Insurance Company wrote, in one of my client’s policies:

“Bodily injury” arising out of any of the following animals owned by or in the care, custody or control of an “insured”: (a) The following types of purebred dogs or a mixed breed including one of these types:

  1. American Staffordshire Terriers. American Pit Bull Terriers, or Staffordshire Bull Terriers, all commonly known as Pit Bulls;
  2. Doberman Pinschers;
  3. Rottwielers;
  4. Chow Chows; or
  5. Presa Canarios

This coverage exclusion leaves many dog owners unknowingly unprotected. Many dogs are rescued from humane societies after temperament testing. DNA testing for many dogs shows some percentage of one or more of these breeds. Then, the dog hurts someone by:

  • biting;
  • jumping;
  • scratching;
  • running into traffic; or,
  • knocking over young children.

Now, the insurer refuses to defend or pay the personal injury claim because of the dog breed exclusion. The insurer doesn’t care that the dog and property owner thought they were covered at the time of the attack.

Ohio is a Strict Liability State

Ohio Rev. Code Sec. 955.28(B) reads in part: “The owner, keeper, or harborer of a dog is liable in damages for any injury, death, or loss to person or property that is caused by the dog.” This means that whomever either owns or has control of a dog is liable for any damages caused by that dog. It makes no difference if the dog had a history of aggressiveness or not. It does not even matter if the victim was somehow negligent.

The code also provides for two defenses for the dog owner, keeper or harborer. One is if the victim commits a criminal act or criminal trespass on the owner’s property. The other is when the victim teased or tormented the dog on the owner’s property. By the language in the statute, both defenses only work if the attack was on the owner, keeper or harborer’s property. The dog owner can also be liable under common law. But, the common law claims have a shorter statute of limitations, and are usually harder to prove.

What if there is no renter or homeowner liability insurance?

Your experienced dog bite attorney will give you great legal advice. Once you seek legal advice and establish an attorney-client relationship, your dog bite lawyer searches for insurance. Your personal injury attorney also completes an asset check on individuals. An experienced dog bite attorney fights to get you full compensation.

Have you been hurt by a dog

If you’ve been hurt by a dog in Ohio, contact me for your free case evaluation. I use my years of experience and fight for fair and full compensation. There is no fee unless there is a recovery on most cases.

Are you a victim of dog bites or animal attack? Learn your legal rights and options. Call ME, Michael Eisner, your dog bite lawyer serving all of Ohio.   Call me personally at (216) 905-2200 or email me.

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