Do “Beware of Dog” Signs Affect Dog Bite Liability in Ohio?
Ohio is a strict liability state, meaning that if you were bitten by a dog, resulting in injuries, the dog’s owner may be held liable. Even if the property owner posted a “Beware of Dog” sign for potential visitors or trespassers to see, this generally would not shield them from liability. In some cases, a warning sign may even suggest that the owner was aware of their dog’s propensity for violent attacks.
Could a “Beware of Dog” Sign Help a Property Owner?
Although Ohio follows strict liability laws, it is possible for a “Beware of Dog” sign to help property owners defend themselves in a dog bite lawsuit. Having a posted sign could provide the property owner with the defense that the victim was aware of the risks. In most cases, this is not an adequate defense in Ohio, and the property owner would likely still be liable for any resulting injuries.
If the dog were provoked to bite, it would not matter who was bitten unless the victim was a young child. If the victim was expected to be on the property, a neighbor, an invited visitor, or someone who otherwise had good reason to be on the property, the owner would be liable for injuries caused by their dog.
A trespasser is not invited onto the property. Unless a property owner makes it clear that visitors are not allowed onto the property, there is typically an implied invitation for the public to come to the door.
What if a Child is Bitten?
Children are held to different standards than others who might visit a property. There is a reasonable expectation that a child could wander onto a property, especially if they see a dog. It is the legal duty of a property owner to prevent a child from visiting their property or engaging with their dog. Children are not considered trespassers.
What Happens if the Dog Escapes?
It is the responsibility of a dog owner to supervise, fence, leash, and ultimately prevent their dog from escaping the property. If a dog escapes the property, whether or not the owner had a sign posted would not matter if it bit and injured someone.
If the dog was properly leashed or tied on the property and still managed to bite someone, the victim could still sue, as long as they were not trespassing the property, provoking the dog, or committing a crime at the time.
Pursuing an Injury Claim
Pursuing a dog bite injury claim is crucial. Doing so could help you obtain the compensation you deserve, covering medical bills, lost wages, and more, and raise awareness of pet owner negligence. Keep in mind that there is a statute of limitations for filing such claims. In Ohio, you have six years to file a claim, starting on the date of the incident. If time runs out, you will be barred from pursuing compensation.
Contact a Skilled Cleveland Dog Bite Lawyer
If a dog bites you, resulting in injuries, you need an experienced Cleveland dog bite injury attorney to guide you through filing a claim against the negligent owner. At George Mineff, Jr., Attorney at Law, our Cleveland personal injury team has the knowledge and resources to help you achieve the compensation you deserve.
We can provide the sound legal advice and strong representation you need during this difficult time. Let us handle the legal process while you focus on recovery. Call us at (216) 621-3930 to schedule a free initial consultation.