If you’re injured from a dog bite in Oklahoma there are certain things you should be careful to think about. A dog may be man’s best friend, yet these creatures are known to cause vicious and traumatizing attacks which could result in life-threatening injuries. If a dog mauled you, then you can’t sue the dog. However, depending on the circumstances, you could sue others who are responsible for it including the owner of the dog and the owner of the property where the incident occurs. Here’s more on dog bite laws in Oklahoma and what you can do from a legal standpoint if you have been injured.
The Law On Dog Bites In Oklahoma.
If you are bitten by someone’s dog, then you generally have the right to sue that person for any damages that you sustain. More specifically, the owner of a dog is liable to you for damages that you sustain as long as you have not provoked the dog and the dog bites or injures you while you are in a place that you have a right to be in.
In Oklahoma, dog owners are strictly liable to their victims. You don’t need to prove that the owner was negligent, careless or had intended for their dog to hurt you. Oklahoma, unlike other states, does not consider the past behavior of the dog to matter as it relates to liability. This means that as the victim, you do not need to show that the owner knew about the dog’s past behavior (dangerous propensity) – you only need to prove that you were bitten without provocation in a place where you were legally allowed to be such as a public park.
More often than not, attacks come from Rottweilers, Pit Bulls, and other large and naturally aggressive dogs. But don’t let the size of a dog fool you. Even a Chihuahua can cause serious personal injuries.
What Does It Mean To Be Lawfully On Someone’s Private Property?
- Working on the property at the owner’s request
- Leasing the property as a tenant
- Attending a party or event as a guest of the owner
- Performing a duty as required by federal or state law
- Delivering mail
- Reading meters
- Making repairs to a public utility or service situated on the property
What Does It Mean To Be Lawfully On Someone’s Public Property?
- You are on a public street, alleyway, sidewalk, building, park, playground or recreational facility
- You are at a business which is privately owned but where property, merchandise, entertainment, services or facilities are offered for use, lease, hire or sale
When Are You Not Protected?
- You trespass on someone’s land
- You provoke the dog including striking, hitting or abusing it
- You live in a rural area where the United States Post Office does not deliver mail
Is There Liability For Landlords?
Under Oklahoma law, a landlord has a duty to maintain leased premises in a reasonably safe condition. This includes the areas that are under the control or use of a tenant. This means that a landlord who is knowledgeable about a dangerous or vicious dog’s presence could be liable to you if you are attacked by a dog that is owned by one of the landlord’s tenants.
Injuries Could Be Permanent, Life-Threatening.
Dogs could cause lacerations, broken bones, disfigurement, scarring, puncture wounds, severed body parts, nerve damage, infections, convulsions, extreme pain, emotional distress and even death. Children and elderly people are particularly vulnerable to traumatic, life-threatening injuries to their head, face and neck.
Types Of Damages From Dog Bites.
- Medical expenses (e.g. doctor’s services, hospital fees, surgeries, medications, physical therapy)
- Lost wages and reduced earning capacity (e.g. inability to work now or in the future)
- Pain and suffering (physical pain, emotional distress and mental illness)
- Loss of consortium (lack of companionship or intimacy)
- Property damage (damage to personal and real property)
- Punitive damages (meant to punish the defendant for egregious conduct)
Not surprisingly, the more extensive and permanent the injury, the more compensation you should expect to receive. Keep in mind that even if you have a pre-existing condition, if a dog bite exacerbates that condition, then you could still recover damages.
I’ve Been Attacked By an Animal. Now What?
To the extent that you have been attacked by a dog and have sustained injuries, then you should seek medical attention first. Next, get in touch with a personal injury attorney who can bring a lawsuit against all of those who are responsible for causing your injuries. An attorney can help negotiate a resolution to your matter so that you get the compensation that you deserve.
Be sure to gather as much evidence as possible, and get the contact information of the owner of the dog, owner or controller of the property, and everyone’s insurance policy information. You may also want to make Oklahoma Animal Control aware of the issue and find out whether there have been other attacks by the dog.
Tulsa Dog Bite Attorneys Near You
Critically, it is important to get an attorney involved since on many occasions, you might be dealing with an insurance company who seeks to deny or devalue your claim and who might try to offer you much less compensation than your case is worth. The attorneys at Kania Law Office have extensive experience in protecting the rights of our Oklahoma clients who have been injured in dog bites. For a free consultation, reach out to Kania Law Office today by calling (918) 743-2233 or by contacting us online.