In Oklahoma, Dog Bite Liability Varies Based on Where the Incident Happens
Suffering a severe dog bite can inflict not only gruesome injuries but persistent anxiety and a lifetime of painful memories. Thankfully, Oklahoma law allows dog bite victims are to recover financial compensation for the losses and pain they’ve suffered. However, many people don’t realize liability for a dog bite depends on where the attack happened, which can make an injury claim for a dog bite significantly more complicated.
Keep reading to learn more about dog bite law in Oklahoma and find out who is liable for your injuries. And if you’ve been bitten by a dog or any other domestic animal, seek immediate medical assistance and then contact a skilled and experienced personal injury attorney for help.
Understanding Dog Bite Laws in Oklahoma
In Oklahoma, dog owners are often — but not always — considered responsible when their animal attacks an individual. Many Oklahoma dog bite incidents fall under the category of “strict liability.” Generally, when attacks occur within city limits, victims don’t need to prove the owner’s negligence contributed to their injuries; they only need to prove that the dog bit them.
However, Oklahoma’s dog bite law also includes a provision that says the law doesn’t apply to rural areas of the state or to cities or towns that don’t have U.S. mail delivery service. So, if the attack occurred in a rural area outside city limits, the victim will often need to prove negligence to receive compensation for their injuries.
Proving negligence in a dog bite case involves demonstrating four elements:
- The dog owner owed the victim a “duty of care” (in other words, they had an obligation to look out for the victim’s well-being).
- The owner failed to live up to their duty of care through their actions (or lack of action).
- The owner’s failure to live up to the duty of care caused the dog attack.
- The dog attack caused harm to the victim.
Establishing these four elements requires investigation and compelling evidence, which is why it’s especially important to work with an experienced attorney if your dog bite claim requires you to prove negligence.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim When You’ve Been Bitten by a Dog or Other Domestic Animal
Dog bite victims can file personal injury claims against the animal’s owner and his or her insurance company, usually through the owner’s homeowner’s or renter’s coverage policy. However, some owners have specific animal attack coverage through landlord insurance or a general commercial liability policy.
Certain dog breeds are considered especially dangerous in Oklahoma, and owners of these breeds must carry at least $50,000 in liability insurance through some form of legal and legitimate policy. However, many insurance companies will not cover certain breeds. So, a lawsuit will probably prove necessary if you or someone you love was attacked and injured by one of these breeds (pit bull, rottweiler, German shepherd, etc.) since the owner will have no insurance coverage to address your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
After a dog attack, insurance companies often try to offer the victim a small settlement. While this settlement may seem generous at first, it usually doesn’t provide enough compensation to address the true costs of the injuries. Instead, it’s just a tactic by the insurance company to try and make the claim go away quickly and cheaply. And in some instances, owners lie about their available insurance coverage to avoid filing a claim and potentially facing increased premiums or cancellation of coverage.
If you suspect the animal’s owner is being dishonest about their coverage, you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney right away. Identifying available insurance policies and filing the relevant claims can take time, and the statute of limitations to pursue a dog bite injury claim in Oklahoma is only two years from the date of the incident.
Contact Atkins & Markoff if You’ve Been Attacked and Injured by a Dog or Other Animal in Oklahoma
If you’ve suffered serious injuries from a dog bite or any kind of domestic animal attack, you’re not alone. The skilled and experienced attorneys and support staff at Atkins & Markoff have years of experience successfully handling dog bite claims for victims in Oklahoma, and we’ here to help you find justice and recover fair compensation in the wake of your physical and emotional ordeal.
To schedule your free, no-obligation consultation where you can speak directly with an attorney about your rights and legal options, please contact Atkins & Markoff by calling (405) 607-8757 or completing our quick and convenient online contact form.