Dog and Animal Attacks

Nothing can be more frightening than the sudden attack from a dog.   When they do bite, dogs often choose children as their victims.  It is often a mystery why a neighbor's dog suddenly becomes aggressive and attacks someone.   However, once you or a family member are injured by a dog, you want answers and the ability to pay for medical treatment that will minimize the damage.  Criminal ordinances in Lorain, Elyria, Avon Lake, and other Lorain County locations impose criminal penalties against owners of attacking dogs. However, these ordinances normally do not provide a way for victims to recover all of their losses.  An attorney who specializes in helping dog bite victims is usually the only way to obtain full justice.

When their clients are injured by dogs, the attorneys at Miraldi & Barrett lead them through the legal maze to a well-deserved recovery.  The attorneys first analyze the law.  After analyzing the law, the attorneys focus on making sure the client has the opportunity to deal with the physical and emotional scars that often come from a dog attack.

Under the Ohio statute, R.C. 955.28,  dog bite victims can recover their losses  not only from the owner of the dog, but also a person called a keeper (a person who does not own the dog but was in charge of the dog at the time of the attack) or a harborer (a person who does not own or keep the dog, but allows a wild dog to remain on his or her property).   When the dog owner does not have liability insurance or any assets to pay for the damage, an attorney will determine if a recovery can be made against a keeper or harborer.   The statute does not allow a dog bite victim to recover any damages if he or she was  trespassing  or committing a criminal offense at the time of the attack.  The statute also disallows any recovery if the victim was actually teasing or tormenting the dog at the time of the attack.  Under the statute, no dog is allowed one "free" bite.

The same is not true under the case law that allows recovery for punitive damages or damages above actual losses.  Under this law,  dog owners can only be held responsible for a dog attack if their dog had previously shown vicious tendencies which must be proven.  Usually this can be proven by a prior bite or attack.  However, if proven, the victim can recover not only medical bills and damages for pain, mental anxiety, and permanent scarring, but also punitive damages that punish the owner for allowing this situation to occur.

The attorneys at Miraldi and Barrett are here to help you sort through the legal tangle that occurs whenever a dog attacks and causes serious injuries.