Over 800,00 people receive medical treatment annually for dog bite injuries. Additionally, hundreds of people across the United States have died from dog bites and related injuries. In fact, nearly 1,000 people visit the emergency room everyday due to dog bites.
If you or a loved one is a victim of a dog bite injury, you need to know what to do, as this can affect your chances of claiming the full compensation you deserve. Below, we discuss what you need to know to build a convincing personal injury claim.
What to Do After A Dog Attack
The first major consideration when you are attacked by a dog is your safety. It is recommended that you should do everything you can to get away from the dog and get to safety.
Once the dog has been contained or you have broken free and safely in a secured area, call 911 and inform the dispatcher of the nature of the accident and the injuries sustained. Ask for medical assistance and inform the dispatcher whether the dog has been secured or is running loose. The operator may dispatch an ambulance or in the worst-case scenarios, the police and a local animal control personnel.
After you have been attended to by the paramedics, seek immediate medical attention from a primary care doctor, an urgent care center, or a local emergency department.
If it hasn’t already been done, make sure to alert animal control to report the accident. The investigators will handle contact with the dog owner to demand information including proof of current rabies vaccination and other health issues.
After contacting the animal control officers, they have the authority to carry out the following:
- Order the dog to be muzzled, confined, or put on a leash by the owner
- Order the dog to be tested for rabies and other viruses
- Issue citations to the dog owner along with fines
- Remove the dog for evaluation purposes
It is important to collect the following information after a dog bite:
- Get the dog owner’s information
- Take photographs
- Obtain statements from eyewitnesses
- Take detailed notes.
Proving Liability in a Dog Bite Case
Proving liability in such a case as this can be difficult. Different states, counties, cities, and even public housing authorities have diverse rules governing the approach to dog bite cases.
To better improve your chances, you need to understand dog bite liability and negligence. Liability refers to who takes responsibility, whether you live in a one-bite or strict liability state, the owner is held responsible.
Negligence on the other hand happens when the dog owner’s actions or inactions can be established to have caused the dog bite accident.
The One Bite Rule
Some states in the country adopt the one bite rule which gives the dog owner a free pass, especially when the owner had no reason to believe the dog would attack anyone. However, if the owner is established to be negligent, this rule does not apply.
Under the strict liability rule, the owner is always held responsible when their dog attacks anyone. However, the liability may shift to the victim if it is established that such a person was trespassing or had deliberately provoked the dog.
Oklahoma Dog Bite Laws
Victims of dog bites in Oklahoma are not required to prove negligence or intent to prove legal liability in dog bite cases. When it comes to dog bites, Oklahoma is a statutory strict liability state. As stated above, that means Oklahoma does not allow the “one bite” rule. Dog owners in Oklahoma are fully responsible for the injuries caused by their dogs. Oklahoma dog bite laws state the following:
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.
OKLA. STAT. tit. 4 Section 42.1
Dog owners in Oklahoma are still liable for the medical bills and other damages caused as a result of a dog bite, even for dogs that have never been known to be dangerous, display a single sign of hostility, or even bark aggressively. In most instances, Oklahoma homeowner’s insurance is responsible for paying injury claims as a result of dog attacks. Dog owners in Oklahoma are typically equally responsible for dog bites on private property for invited guests and public property, unless the victim was intentionally and continuously provoking the dog.
Elements of Negligence
For every dog bite claim, four elements of negligence need to be proven to convince the insurance company, insurance adjuster, or court that the dog owner is indeed liable for the accident. These elements include;
- Duty of care – that the dog owner had the duty to prevent the dog from harming others
- Breach of duty – that the dog owner failed to act in a certain manner to prevent the dog from attacking.
- Cause – that the actions or inactions of the dog owner caused your injuries
- Damages – that you have verifiable injuries from the attack.
Contact – Cannon & Associates: Oklahoma Fierce Advocates for Dog Bite Injury Victims
Getting attacked and injured by a dog can leave you with extensive injuries, sizable medical bills, and other damages. At Cannon & Associates, our attorneys have the experience and expertise needed to navigate the complex world of dog bite insurance claims in Oklahoma.
Founder John Cannon has been recognized as a Super Lawyer and Top 40 under 40. Contact Cannon & Associates by completing the CONTACT FORM ON THIS PAGE NOW or CALL at 405-657-2323 for a free confidential case evaluation.