With nearly 75 million dogs in the United States, it is clear that injuries and deaths resulting from dog bites and attacks are common. However, the statistics regarding dog bites are staggering: more than 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs each year, and 800,000, or 1 in 6, of those injuries are severe enough to require medical treatment. In fact, dog bites are the fifth leading cause of children’s emergency room visits. Additionally, in 2007, there were 33 deaths as a result of mauling.
Oklahoma has strict liability laws in place to hold owners responsible for their dogs’ actions. Oklahoma is not a “one free bite” state. If a dog bites you while you are legally on the owner’s property, or if you are on public property, the owner is fully accountable for your injuries, as long as you are not intentionally and persistently provoking the animal.
While evidence of a dog bite is usually quite obvious because of the nature of the victim’s injuries, there are several other factors which must be considered in bringing a personal injury claim against the dog’s owner. A qualified attorney experienced in dog bite law can help you establish ownership and verify your injuries. If you are bitten, seek medical attention, report the attack to local animal control or the police, and call Lawter & Associates, PLLC for a free consultation and evaluation of your case.
Q: What do I do if I am attacked or bitten by a dog?
A: Seek immediate medical attention if necessary, and make sure you contact the local animal control agency in your community or the police. You may also need to contact an Oklahoma City or Tulsa personal injury attorney familiar with our state's dog bite law to investigate and protect your right to compensation for your injuries.
Q: Does Oklahoma adhere to the “one free bite rule” or hold dog owners to strict liability?
A: While some states do not hold a dog owner liable until after a dog has shown a propensity for vicious behavior, Oklahoma does not follow the “one free bite rule.” Oklahoma dog bite law upholds strict liability, meaning the owner is responsible for any injury the animal causes, regardless of whether the dog has previously shown aggression.
Q: Does a "Beware of Dog" sign negate the owner’s liability?
A: While posting a sign does alert visitors to the presence of the dog, it does not necessarily relieve the dog’s owner of all responsibility. The specific circumstances of the attack determine liability.
Q: What kinds of dogs attack people?
A: All dogs are capable of biting, and any dog may bite or attack. However, some breeds are considered more dangerous and aggressive than others. The breeds responsible for most fatalities include Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Huskies, Malamutes, Doberman Pinschers, Chow Chows, Great Danes, Saint Bernards, and wolf-dog hybrids.
Q: What compensation might I expect to receive if I am bitten by a dog?
A: Homeowner’s insurance often covers dog bites, and the insurance is required to investigate the dog bite claim. If you are bitten while legally on someone’s property, you may receive compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, resulting plastic surgery, and psychological counseling. Contact the expert Oklahoma City and Tulsa personal injury attorneys at Lawter & Associates, PLLC for more information.