Average Dog Bite Settlement Amounts in Ohio

average dog bite settlement amounts

Dog bites can cause severe injuries and tremendous suffering. If you or a loved one were recently injured in a dog attack in Ohio, you may be entitled to significant compensation. But what kind of compensation are you likely to get?

At The Jones Firm, we have experience in handling dog bite cases in Ohio. We understand how to calculate damages and negotiate fair settlements for our clients. Read on to learn more about average dog bite payouts in Ohio and how an attorney can help maximize your recovery.

Ohio’s Strict Liability Laws

Ohio’s “strict liability” dog bite law applies to most dog bite injury claims whereby the “owner, keeper, or harborer” of the dog is strictly liability for injuries (or wrongful death) caused by the dog. This means the owner (keeper or harborer) is liable for all damages from a dog attack, even if the dog had never shown aggressive behavior before. The “one free bite” rule that exists in some states does not apply in Ohio.

Some key facts about the strict liability law for dog bites in Ohio:

  • Whether or not the owners knew the dog could be dangerous, they still stand to be held accountable. “Strict liability” or “liability without fault” is the term for this.
  • The dog’s previous disposition does not matter. Even “friendly” dogs can inflict severe injuries.
  • Property owners maybe liable if a dog attacks someone on the property.

By employing strict liability, Ohio law emphasizes that the responsibility ultimately falls upon the owner (or those who assume responsibility for the dog) to control their dog’s behavior. Seeking compensation through a dog bite claim helps to hold the dog owner accountable and to increase safety in the community.

Calculating Your Losses After a Dog Bite

When a dog attacks and injures you, the responsible owner may be liable for your damages. You may be entitled to non-economic damages for your “pain and suffering,” in addition to your economic damages for medical expenses and other financial losses.

Economic Damages

Economic damages refer to tangible financial losses you incur directly from the bite. These can include:

  • Medical expenses – All treatment related to the bite, from ER visits to medications, surgeries, physical therapy, and more. Keep track of all bills and receipts.
  • Lost income – Any wages you lost due to missing work during recovery. Your employer may require documentation.
  • Reduced earning capacity – If your injuries impair your ability to work long-term, you can seek compensation for future lost earnings.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages cover intangible losses like:

  • Pain and suffering – Compensation for any physical pain or discomfort resulting from the bite.
  • Emotional distress – Payment for psychological suffering like fear, insomnia, anxiety, PTSD, etc.
  • Disfigurement – Disfiguring scars or wounds may merit compensation for loss of enjoyment of life.

Thoroughly documenting all of your costs and losses will help demonstrate the full value of your claim.

Factors That Influence Settlement Amounts

Not all dog bite cases are valued equally. The possible settlement value may go up or down depending on certain factors.

These include:

  • Breed – Some breeds may be excluded from insurance, which reduces available compensation.
  • Circumstances – Was the dog provoked? Did you trespass on private property? Answers may affect liability and bar your recovery or decrease your damages based on your comparative negligence.

Was it the dog’s first bite incident? Prior attacks may show dangerous propensities.

  • Injuries – Severe injuries lead to higher settlements and jury verdicts. Significant damages are typically awarded in cases involving permanent and severe disability or disfigurement or wrongful death.
  • Insurance – The applicable homeowner’s insurance policy limits or other applicable liability insurance coverage may significantly limit the recoverable monetary damages.

A thorough legal analysis of these factors will help to ensure that you receive full and fair compensation.

Average Dog Bite Settlements in Ohio

According to the Insurance Information Institute, Ohio’s average dog bite claim in 2022 was valued at $50,692. However, settlements can range much higher or lower depending on case specifics. Potential settlement range based on injury severity may include:

  • Minor bite requiring ER visit: $5,000 – $25,000+
  • Permanent disability or disfigurement: $100,000+

Other types of dog bite cases vary significantly based on individual facts. Most dog bite cases fall between these two extremes.

These figures illustrate how payouts correlate to the seriousness of injuries. More severe bites warrant substantially higher compensation.

These numbers may not be complete or accurate because settlements are often unreported. These figures may not apply to your particular case, and we cannot guarantee a particular result.

Filing an Insurance Claim After a Dog Bite

Policies for renters’ and homeowners’ insurance frequently cover liability in the case of a dog bite. The first step is determining if the owner has an active policy at the time of the incident.

Tips for successfully filing a dog bite insurance claim:

  • Find out the insurance company for the dog owner and/or property owner. Ask about liability limits for dog-related incidents. This limit dictates the maximum settlement the insurer will offer.
  • Check if the policy covers dog bites specifically. Some exclude certain breeds.
  • Move quickly – Start the process right away to ensure that your claim moves forward.
  • Provide extensive documentation – the more proof of damages, the better. Include medical bills and records, lost wage reports, and written accounts of the attack. Photograph injuries.
  • Hire a lawyer to help obtain the best possible result for your dog bite case. Especially if the insurance company disputes the claim or offers an unsatisfactory settlement. Legal counsel can negotiate effectively on your behalf.

Taking Legal Action After a Dog Bite

If insurance fails to cover your losses or fully compensate you, taking legal action through a dog bite lawsuit may be your best recourse. Civil lawsuits allow victims to recover damages when the at-fault party – usually the dog’s owner – causes injury through negligence.

Key steps to pursue a dog bite lawsuit include:

Act before the statute of limitations expires

The statute of limitations may vary depending on whether you have a strict liability dog bite claim or whether your cause of action is limited to a theory of negligence. In Ohio, dog bite victims normally have six years from the date of injury to file a lawsuit under the Ohio strict liability dog bite statute codified in Ohio Revised Code Section 955.28.

Whereas, the statute of limitations for ordinary negligence personal injury dog bite claims is generally two years.

Prove Liability

An owner, harborer, or keeper of a dog is strictly liable for your damages for injury or wrongful death caused by the dog. Other parties may be held responsible for your dog bite injury based on a theory of negligence, which is a more difficult legal theory.

Present Evidence of Damages

Evidence that might help establish the amount of your monetary damages may include medical records, bills, lost income reports, and other proof of economic and non-economic losses. Photographs of your bite wounds and any permanent scarring or disfigurement are very persuasive to juries when determining damages.

Send a Demand Letter

This outlines your losses and demands a settlement from the dog’s owner (keeper or harborer) before proceeding to court.

File a Dog Dite Lawsuit

A lawyer can file a complaint in court to initiate a lawsuit against the dog’s owner, harborer, or keeper. A lawsuit will typically be filed if the settlement amount offered before filing suit is unreasonably low.

An attorney experienced in dog bite litigation can help build a strong case and fight for the full fair value of your dog bite claim. Legal action may be the only recourse if your claim is denied or a low settlement amount is offered.

Why Hire a Dog Bite Attorney?

Do not wait to consult with an attorney after a dog bite. Claims may be time limited by the applicable statute of limitations. Don’t wait to consult with an experienced dog bite attorney such as The Jones Firm.

A personal injury lawyer will help to establish liability and to ensure that you are building the strongest possible case. A personal injury lawyer may help with referrals to medical providers and retain experts on your behalf who can help to establish the severity of your injuries and increase your damages. Our firm can:

  • Thoroughly investigate your case and establish liability.
  • Calculate the full value of your damages and losses.
  • Negotiate skillfully with insurance adjusters.
  • Take the case to trial if a fair settlement is not offered.
  • Help you avoid common mistakes that devalue claims.

With an attorney as your advocate, you can focus on recovery while we fight to get you every dollar you deserve. Don’t leave money on the table – contact us today to discuss your case.

Let Our Columbus Dog Bite Attorneys Fight For You

If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a dog bite attack in Ohio, The Jones Firm can help. We have successfully represented dog bite victims across the state for many years. Contact us today for a free consultation – we are here to answer your questions and to start building your claim. Reach us easily online or call to speak with our Columbus office.

With our dedicated legal team by your side, you can confidently secure the maximum compensation available in your case. We handle all aspects of the claims process for you while you take time to heal physically and emotionally. Get the justice you deserve by contacting The Jones Firm to arrange your free case evaluation. Don’t wait.

Author Bio

Geoff Jones is the CEO and Managing Partner of The Jones Firm, a personal injury law firm in Columbus, Ohio. With years of experience in personal injury law, he has zealously represented clients in a wide range of legal matters, including car accidents, medical malpractice, slip and falls, wrongful death, and other cases.

Geoff received his Juris Doctor from the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law and is a member of the Columbus Bar Association. He has received numerous accolades for his work, including being selected to Super Lawyers Rising Stars for 2022-2023.

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