Dog Bite Victims Beware

There is a statute of limitations on animal bite injury claims

While responding to a call on August 28, a Genoa Township police officer in Ohio was attacked by a dog. The officer’s commanding officer, Chief Steve Gammill, wrote in a statement following the incident, “One of our officers responding on a call was bitten by a dog in the same general area Forrest Gump got shot in; so I guess we could say he was bit in the Gump. Fortunately, he is OK and the damage was mostly to his pants, but it’s a good reminder to please control your dogs when officers, or anyone else, is around.”

Although the only injury this officer received was to his pride, some dog attacks have a much more serious impact on the victims’ lives. Gregory S. Young, a personal injury attorney in Cincinnati, Ohio, offers some advice for animal bite victims: “After being bitten by a dog, you should make sure that the attack is well documented. Seek medical attention, your treating physician should file a report with the health department and the dog that bit you will be checked for rabies and quarantined. You should also make a police report to document the bite so that the owner or harborer of the dog is cited under the dog bite statute,” Young said.

If you are seriously injured in an attack, you should be aware of some important legal considerations. Young states, “The statute of limitations on most injury claims is 2 years after the date of the injury. Ohio has adopted a strict liability for dog bites by statute and there is authority that the statute of limitations would be 6 years against someone who is strictly liable.” He added, “However, an owner, or harborer of the dog, may also be liable under common law negligence for the bite and there is still only a 2 year statute of limitations under the common law. Therefore, it is best to treat the statute of limitation as 2 years.”

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