No. You just have to prove that he owned, kept or controlled the dog.
So long as you weren’t teasing or tormenting the dog, or trespassing, you ought to be able to recover against the owner’s insurance company.
Normally, in a personal injury lawsuit, you have to prove that the person you are suing did something wrong. Or that he did not do something he was supposed to do.
With dog owners, the old rule was called the “one bite” rule. The idea was that it wasn’t fair to make the dog owner pay for your damages unless he had some reason to think the dog would bite someone.
How would he know this? If the dog had bitten someone before. Accordingly, the dog was allowed one bite before the court would make his owner’s insurance company pay damages.
At some point, the Ohio state legislature decided that dogs were an inherently risky thing; that there was always a chance that a dog might bite someone, even if he’d never bitten anyone before.
So they passed the “strict liability” rule. You don’t need to prove that the owner had any warning that dog would hurt you, in order to collect damages for injury caused by the dog.
You just have to prove that the owner’s dog bit you.
But you still might want to prove that there were problems with the dog before the accident. I had a case in 2011 where I wanted to prove that the dog was dangerous, and that the owner had not done enough to restrain him.
Why? Because I was afraid that the jury would not award significant damages unless they had some reason to punish the owner.
So I talked about this with my client. She told me to contact one of her neighbors. The neighbor gave a deposition stating how bad the dog was, and that the owner knew about it.
The case settled a month before trial. On terms I thought were good.
I have been a lawyer over 30 years. I like representing people who have been injured by dogs. If you have a personal injury case in Cincinnati, Ohio or if you want to know what your lawsuit is worth, talk with an experienced Cincinnati Accident Attorney. Call me, William Strubbe, at 513-621-4775.
Because all situations are different, and because there may be other facts pertaining to your case that I don’t know about, you should not rely on this answer for legal advice. I am not your attorney, and no lawyer client relationship has been formed.