Almost 70 percent of U.S. households own a pet, according to the 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey, and almost 90 million of those pets are dogs. Oklahoma ranks as the 10th-highest in the nation for dog ownership, as more than 43 percent of households in our state have at least one dog.
Although most dogs are well-behaved and controlled by their owners, some dogs can get out of control and cause injury to humans. If you have been injured by a dog, an Oklahoma City dog bite lawyer at Stephens, Anderson & Cummings is ready to discuss your case with you. We will go over the details of your claim and determine whether you are entitled to compensation for your injuries.
Our Oklahoma City personal injury lawyers have decades of experience handling cases just like yours, and we have helped our clients obtain millions of dollars in compensation for what they have suffered. Contact us today to see what we can do for you.
Schedule a free consultation with an Oklahoma City dog bite lawyer by calling (877) 920-9009.
Oklahoma Dog Bite Law
Oklahoma follows the rule of strict liability for dog bite cases, which places full responsibility for a dog bite or attack on the dog’s owner. Oklahoma statute § 4-42.1 states:
“The owner or owners of any dog shall be liable for damages to the full amount of any damages sustained when his dog, without provocation, bites or injures any person while such person is in or on a place where he has a lawful right to be.”
This means that as long as the injury victim was legally on the property or in a public place and was not provoking or taunting the dog at the time of the incident, the dog’s owner will be responsible for injuries caused by the dog.
The law does not require that the owner acted negligently in handling the dog or preventing the bite. It also does not require proof that the dog has bitten someone before or that it was acting in an aggressive manner.
However, if the dog is a dangerous dog that has caused severe injury to someone or created “an imminent threat of injury or death” in the past, it is illegal for the owner to allow the dog to run at large off of a leash, according to Oklahoma statute § 4-42.4. If this happens and the animal causes harm to someone, the owner will not only be liable for the incident, but also may face criminal charges, fines and possible jail time. The City of Oklahoma City also has additional restrictions on dangerous dogs.
Our Oklahoma City dog bite attorneys are well-versed in Oklahoma’s dog bite laws and can advise you of how they apply to your dog bite. Contact us today for a free, no obligation consultation to learn more.
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How Can I Get Compensation for a Dog Bite Injury?
Holding a dog owner liable for the injuries from a dog bite will require filing a claim for compensation against the owner. Our Oklahoma City dog bite lawyers can help you determine the best option for recovering compensation for your injuries and other damages. Depending on the details of your case, this may include filing a claim with the owner’s:
- Homeowner’s insurance
- Renter’s insurance
- Auto insurance
- Animal insurance
In some cases, it may be in your best interest to file a personal injury lawsuit to obtain the compensation you need.
We understand that dog bites can lead to debilitating injuries that can require extensive medical expenses and missed work, which may seem overwhelming. For this reason, we are committed to helping you obtain fair compensation that will help cover these costs.
Some types of compensation you may be entitled to include:
- Doctors’ bills
- Emergency room visits
- Medically necessary surgery
- Reconstructive surgery
- Rehabilitation services
- Lost wages
- Lost future income
- Pain and suffering
Our dog bite lawyers in Oklahoma City will handle the dog owner’s insurance company on your behalf so you can focus on getting your life back to normal and healing from your injuries. We will fully investigate the dog owner’s insurance policies that apply to your incident, and we will fight for your right to compensation for what you have endured.
Our staff is ready to schedule your free consultation: (877) 920-9009
Common Injuries from Dog Bites
Some of the most common dog bite injuries include:
- Puncture wounds
- Torn skin or muscles
- Broken bones
- Damaged nerves
- Severed fingers
- Infections (tetanus, rabies, etc.)
- Permanent scarring
- Emotional distress
Depending on how and where you were bitten, your injuries may be temporary and heal quickly or they may cause permanent damage – interfering with your ability to do normal activities. For example, damaged nerves can cause numbness, which can affect your ability to move or feel sensation in that part of your body. Permanent scarring can also interfere with your ability to work and live normally.
Our Oklahoma City dog bite lawyers are experienced in determining an accurate value of the injuries that dog bite victims experience, and we will work with you to determine the compensation you are owed for your injuries. We will take care of all the details on your behalf so you can focus on healing.
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How to Prevent Dog Bites
Your actions leading up to a dog bite will affect your ability to obtain compensation. If you act inappropriately toward a dog by provoking or intimidating it, you will not be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
Because of this, you should always use caution when interacting with a dog. The American Kennel Club recommends 10 tips to avoid being bitten by a dog:
- Stand “like a tree,” still and straight, when around a loose dog. Do not make eye contact with the dog. This can help prevent the dog from becoming excited or feeling threatened by you.
- Do not pet a service dog. Service dogs are working and should not be distracted, or they may react in an adverse manner.
- Always ask an owner’s permission before petting a dog. Never assume that a dog is friendly.
- Remember that every dog can bite, so always respect its space and do not allow children to approach an unknown or aggressive dog.
- Never bark, growl or yell at a dog. If you provoke it or act aggressively and the dog bites you, you may be considered liable for your injuries.
- Do not run toward a dog or allow children to do so. This behavior can make a dog feel threatened, so the dog may react defensively by biting.
- Never leave small children and dogs together unattended by an adult. Even a friendly dog can become threatened if a child pokes or teases it, so always keep a watchful eye over your children to ensure their safety.
- If an owner has approved that you pet a dog, first present the back of your hand in front of the dog’s nose. The dog will then get your scent and know that you are not aggressive. If the dog begins to growl or acts threatened, do not pet it.
- Teach proper manners to family members who interact with your dog. Do not let children ride your dog, sit on it, or pull its ears or tail.
- Remember that a dog is not a human. Any dog can bite if it feels scared. Do not expect a dog to have the same intelligence and understanding that a person would.
Similarly, dog owners should also take steps to prevent a canine bite, including:
- Socializing the dog so it is at ease around people and other animals
- Not putting the dog into situations where it feels threatened or teased
- Obeying leash laws
- Never encouraging the animal to be aggressive or attack
- Training the dog to obey basic commands
- Never leaving a dog unattended with a child
An Oklahoma City dog bite lawyer can review your case and determine whether you are entitled to compensation.
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What to Do After a Dog Bite
The steps you take following a dog bite can have an impact on your ability to recover from your injuries and obtain compensation for your suffering. It is generally recommended that you take the following steps after a dog bite:
- Seek immediate medical care – The most important thing you should do following any type of injury is to get medical care. You need to ensure your injuries are properly cared for to prevent infection and further harm.
- Report the incident – Call 911 to report an emergency. You should include the location and time the bite occurred along with information about the resulting injuries. If an official report is created, obtain a copy.
- Take pictures – If possible, photograph the dog, the location where the attack took place and your injuries.
- Identify the dog’s owner – If the owner was present at the scene of the attack, be sure to get his or her name and contact information. If he or she was not present, attempt to determine who owns the animal.
- Identify witnesses – If anyone witnessed the attack, get their names and contact information.
- Keep your medical records – It is important that you follow through with all recommended medical treatment and that you obtain copies of all of your medical records related to the incident.
- Contact an Oklahoma City dog bite lawyer – Contacting a lawyer as soon as possible following a dog bite can help protect your legal rights.
Our Oklahoma City dog bite attorneys are experienced in handling these types of cases and will advise you of what you can do to help support your claim. To get started, contact Stephens, Anderson & Cummings today for a free consultation.
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Dangerous Dog Breeds
According to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, some of the more aggressive dog breeds that tend to be highly represented in biting incidents include:
- German shepherd
- Mixed breed (mutt)
- Pit bull
- Jack Russell terrier
- Chow chow
- Saint Bernard
- Labrador retriever
Although some dog breeds can be more aggressive than others, a dog’s personality and behavior are largely based on how it is treated by its owners and handlers. This is part of the reason these individuals can be held liable for a dog’s aggressive behavior.
To learn more about who is liable for your injuries, contact our dog bite attorneys in Oklahoma City for a free, no-obligation consultation. We will analyze your claim and review your legal options with you.
Call (877) 920-9009 today to schedule your free case evaluation.
Contact an Oklahoma City Dog Bite Attorney Today
If you were attacked by a dog, an experienced lawyer at the offices of Stephens, Anderson & Cummings is ready to help. You may feel confused and unsure what to do, but our successful attorneys can evaluate the situation and handle all of the details for you.
We offer a free, no-obligation consultation, so there is no risk to you to talk to a dog bite lawyer in Oklahoma City about your case. We charge no upfront costs, and we only get paid if we are able to help you obtain compensation. Our discussion with you is completely confidential. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.