Animal Attack Lawyers in Columbus, OH
No matter how generally true the newspaper cliché may seem, “Dog Bites Man” is major news when you are that man, woman, or child. Physical injuries from dog attacks can be severe, and 42 people died during 2014 after getting mauled by dogs. According to the victims’ advocacy group DogBite.org three of those fatalities occurred in Ohio.
Unless they are highly trained like police K-9s, dogs do not try to subdue people they perceive as threats or prey; they go for the kill. Were they people, dogs that hospitalize humans or take lives would go to jail and be ordered to pay fines, make restitution, and provide compensation for damages. Since that cannot happen, the animals’ owners bear liability for their dangerous and injurious actions. Holding a negligent pet owner to account can be difficult, however. If you or a family member has suffered an attack by a poorly trained, vicious, or loose dog, you should consider working with a Columbus dog bite attorney.
It is also important to note that some dogs that are not vicious engage in exploratory bites. This happens because a dog’s mouth essentially operates as its hands. Sometimes dogs that are not dangerous or vicious bite a person or animal when attempting to grab the person or animal. Although these exploratory bites may not pose a danger to the person or animal, they can lead to a dog being labeled as “dangerous” or “vicious,” both of which can lead to the imposition of substantial costs to the owner, such as fines, increased insurance premiums and even jail time. Attorneys at Leist Warner Columbus, Ohio office have successfully represented dogs that were not dangerous and saved their owners from the imposition of these substantial costs. The key to successful representation is to involve the attorneys at Leist Warner early in the process to allow time to gather the necessary evidence and make the arguments necessary to prevent the imposition of these costly labels.
All Dogs Bite
A web search for “most dangerous dogs’ returns links to a number of lists with anywhere from 3 to 39 entries. The rankings are somewhat meaningless, though, because any dog will bite when it gets scared or sick enough. Insurance companies maintain this listing of canine breeds likely to be cited in claims for injuries and property damage:
- Pit Bulls and Staffordshire Terriers
- Doberman Pinschers
- German Shepherds
- Great Danes
- Presa Canarios, which resemble mastiffs
- Alaskan Malamutes
- Siberian Huskies
Dog Owners Must Act Responsibly
Owners of dogs labeled as dangerous or vicious typically pay higher premiums for home, renter, and property insurance. Every dog owner in Columbus and Franklin County has the same duties to register and license their dogs, get their dogs vaccinated against rabies and other diseases, keep their dogs fenced, and walk their dogs on leashes. Violating any of those basic animal control laws makes a pet owner negligent and subject to fines or liability. Owners who repeatedly ignore requirements to control and take care of their dogs can have their pets seized, be required to pay substantial fines and even face potential jail time.
Dogs may also get placed in city or county custody after they attack and bite. Proof that a dog’s owner has not fixed a broken fence or gate, refused to get his or her animal its rabies shots, or kept the animal in unhealthy conditions can be used by a Columbus, Ohio, personal injury lawyer to support a claim of irresponsible ownership that made the dog more likely to bite and injure or kill.
Beware More Than the Dog
Recognizing that dogs are not the only animals that can pose threats to people, and in the wake of a bizarre incident in which a distraught private zoo owner opened most of the cages on his property, Ohio passed a series of laws in 2012 limiting ownership of exotic pets. Now, anyone who wants to keep nearly any animal other than a cat, dog, small bird, lizard, or standard farm animal needs to get permission from the state to do so. A partial list of pets considered exotic and, therefore, potentially dangerous if not kept in special conditions includes:
- Monkeys and other primates (but not every species)
- Pythons longer than 12 feet
- All venomous snakes
Attacks by such animals are rare simply because few people come into regular contact with them. When a lion, elephant, or chimpanzee does rampage, however, death, disfigurement, and disabilities are practically guaranteed outcomes. If you remember the story about the Connecticut woman who had her face ripped off by an upset and disoriented chimp, you may not recall that she was treated in an Ohio hospital. The danger and consequences from such unusual events cannot be discounted, so a skilled animal attack attorney in Columbus, Ohio, will know how to handle personal injury and wrongful death cases involving exotic pets.
Get Help From a Personal Injury Attorney in Columbus, Ohio
Injuries and deaths resulting from dog bites and other animal attacks deserve to be taken seriously. The pain, suffering, and disability inflicted by poorly controlled or sick animals are as bad as those caused by car and truck accidents. Lawyers with Leist Warner understand that, and we fight for clients to receive the insurance settlements and damage awards they need to pay for medical bills, make up lost wages, and recover to the maximum extent possible.
A common defense against liability for dog bites and animal attacks is that a victim provoked the animal. Countering that argument requires having solid physical evidence and witness testimony of the kind best collected and presented by an experienced attorney. If you need such services, contact Leist Warner for a no-cost consultation by calling (614) 222-1000 or completing this web form. We are ready to help.