Need a dog bite lawyer in Oklahoma City? Keep reading.
Although many people consider dogs friendly, they can sometimes be dangerous under certain circumstances. When a dog acts viciously, it may lash out and bite you. If you suffered a dog bite injury, you should seek medical attention first to ensure your injury is not serious, as even minor dog bites can cause serious infections and illnesses.
Oklahoma offers a variety of public health resources for individuals bitten by dogs or other animals. The Oklahoma State Department of Health advises those bitten by animals to ensure that the animal does not have rabies or other communicable diseases. Individuals can file a complaint with their respective county health departments to do so.
Afterward, you may consider seeking legal recourse for your dog bite injury. An Oklahoma City dog bite lawyer could analyze the facts surrounding your injury to see if seeking legal compensation is a potential option. Then, if you decide to file a lawsuit, a seasoned attorney could help you pursue whatever compensation is available to you.
Steps to Take After You Being Attacked by a Dog
The best course of action for dog bites is to avoid them by staying away from obviously aggressive dogs and choosing a family pet with a good temperament. If you have been bitten, there are some things that you should do to avoid further injuries.
- Stop the bleeding and seek medical assistance
- Obtain the names and addresses of the dog owner and any witnesses.
- Take photographs of the wounds.
- If the injury is severe, you may want to call the police and file a dog bite report. Animal bites should be treated by a doctor and reported to the county health department when the incident occurs.
- Collect the insurance information from the dog owner.
The most important thing, though, is to seek medical attention. Dog bites can be very severe, resulting in lifelong injuries and even death. While many think it is a thing of the past, dogs, even those not displaying symptoms, can be carriers of the deadly rabies virus. Therefore, anytime a dog has bitten you or your child, you should seek medical treatment immediately as well as ask the owners if their dog is up-to-date with their shots.
Potential Compensation From a Dog Bite for Dog Bite Victims
Specific types of possible recovery following a dog bite injury may include the following:
- Compensation for any ensuing medical procedure, such as surgery to repair broken bones or stitches for puncture wounds
- Expenses related to skin grafts or any reconstructive or plastic surgery necessary as the result of a severe bite or laceration
- Damages sufficient to pay for any missed work due to the dog bite injury
- Value of any other pet or livestock injured, maimed or killed by the dog
With respect to livestock, Oklahoma law specifically allows any livestock owner to collect compensation equal to the full extent of any damage caused by someone else’s dog, including reasonable attorney fees and litigation expenses. That same statute also allows property owners to kill dogs chasing their livestock.
Dog Bite Laws in Oklahoma City & How a Law Firm Can Help
If a dog bites someone in Oklahoma City, the injured individual may consider filing a civil lawsuit with the help of an Oklahoma City dog bite attorney. The lawsuit may be against the dog owner or others responsible for the dog bite. Under Oklahoma Statutes §12-95, a two-year statute of limitations exists for all lawsuits claiming any personal injury, including dog bites.
Generally, Oklahoma imposes strict liability for dog bite injuries. According to Oklahoma Statutes §4-42.1, a dog owner is liable for all the damage caused when their dog bites another person without provocation. Depending on the circumstances, however, a dog owner may be able to assert one of two defenses to avoid liability:
- The injured party provoked the dog
- The injured party had no legal right to be in the location where they suffered the injury.
A Dog Owner Has “Strict Liability” in Oklahoma.
Dog owners are legally obligated to restrain, control, or take other safety precautions to prevent harm if they have any indication that their dog may be a physical threat. If a dog is not secured on a leash, properly secured on their owner’s premises, or under reasonable control, a state court can hold the owner liable for any unprovoked attack. Anytime a person has suffered an injury and wants to seek recovery, they must do so under a certain theory of liability. When it comes to dog bites, the theory that is employed in Oklahoma is strict liability for dog bites. This means that if a dog bites a person, their owner is liable for the injury or injuries that the dog causes, regardless if they knew that the dog would bite or behave aggressively.
This theory of liability is the most commonly used in the country regarding dog bite cases. There is another theory of liability that is important to understand if you will be visiting out of state this summer. Some states employ a so-called “one-bite rule.” A one-bite jurisdiction allows the owner to avoid some liability if they did not know or have reason to know that their dog would bite.
What Are the Deadlines for Filing Oklahoma Dog Bite Cases?
Each state has its rules and deadlines for determining when a case can be brought. These laws are known as “statutes of limitations,” and they prescribe a deadline for filing any lawsuit in court. In Oklahoma, the statute of limitations for dog bites and other injury cases gives an injured person two years to file the lawsuit in the state’s civil court system. Typically, this two-year time limit is counted from the date of the injury.
The court will not hear a case not filed after the two-year deadline expires. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand exactly how the statute of limitations applies to your dog bite case and file your case.
If a dog has bitten you, you should consult a dog bite attorney, who can explain the options available to you. Depending on the circumstances, you may be entitled to compensation.
To set up a free, completely confidential legal consultation, call our attorneys in Oklahoma City at the law offices of Hasbrook & Hasbrook at (405) 605-2426. We are here to help you understand your rights as an injury victim caused by a dog attack in Oklahoma.