If you or someone you love has been bitten by a dog and suffered serious injuries in Oklahoma, you probably have lots of questions about how Oklahoma law handles dog bites and whether you can hold the owner responsible.
In many cases, the answer is yes, you can absolutely hold the owner accountable and receive compensation for your injuries with help from a lawyer.
The value of your claim and your chances of successfully getting a settlement or winning in court depend on your unique situation. But in general, Oklahoma law is favorable toward victims who suffer bites from aggressive and vicious dogs.
Read on to learn more about how Oklahoma law handles dog bite cases, including whether the dog’s owner is always at fault and what the deadlines are for filing a lawsuit after a dog bite.
Is the Dog’s Owner Always Liable for Dog Bite Injuries?
One of the first questions people often want to know if they’re thinking about filing a dog bite lawsuit is, “Is the dog’s owner automatically at fault if I was bitten by a dog?”
The answer is: almost always. Oklahoma Statutes section 4-42.1 says that a dog’s owner is liable for any damages that result if the following three things are true:
- A dog bites or otherwise injures you
- You didn’t provoke the dog
- You had a lawful right to be in the place where the bite or injury happened
The only circumstances under Oklahoma law where a dog owner may not be liable for the dog biting or injuring someone involve the victim trespassing onto private property or provoking the dog. Actions that a court might consider provoking a dog could include throwing things at the dog or striking it. Attacking or physically threatening the dog’s owner might also count as provoking the dog.
Outside of these very specific circumstances, Oklahoma has a strict liability law for dog attack cases. This means the dog’s owner is fully liable for any injuries their dog causes. And not knowing that the dog had any tendency to bite or act aggressively is no defense.
In other words, if you weren’t breaking into the dog owner’s home, trying to attack the owner, hurling rocks at the dog, or doing something similarly outrageous that could reasonably provoke the dog to bite you, there’s a good chance that the dog owner will have no valid defense against your claim. That means the dog owner and their insurance company (usually their homeowner’s insurance) will have to pay all damages in your case, including your medical bills, lost wages, and other losses.
What Are the Deadlines for Filing a Dog Bite Lawsuit?
In Oklahoma, the statute of limitations (the deadline for filing a civil lawsuit) for dog bites and other injury cases is two years from the date of the injury. This means that you only have two years from the date a dog bit you to file a lawsuit. After that, any chance of receiving compensation for your medical bills and other losses will be gone forever. In some very specific circumstances, the statute of limitations can be extended, but you shouldn’t count on this happening in your case.
Plus, filing a lawsuit takes time and preparation, which means that waiting until the last minute to contact a lawyer is a very bad idea (not to mention that it will make it much harder for your lawyer to gather evidence in your case, since much of it may be gone by that point).
If you or someone you love has been bitten or otherwise hurt by a dog, you should contact an experienced dog bite lawyer right away to make sure your rights are protected and all the evidence that could affect your case is preserved.
Contact Atkins & Markoff if You’ve Suffered a Dog Bite Injury in Oklahoma
If you’ve been seriously injured in a dog attack, you may be wondering where to turn for help. The experienced team of dog bite lawyers at Atkins & Markoff is ready to listen to your story with compassion and give you advice about your situation. If we’re able to take your case, we’ll fight for you with an aggressive and efficient approach that’s tailored to your unique needs.
To speak with a lawyer right away at no cost to you, please schedule your free initial consultation by calling 405-607-8757 or filling out our quick and easy online contact form. We handle all personal injury cases on a “no recovery, no fee” basis, so there’s no risk to speaking with one of our attorneys today.
Personal injury by dog – Liability of owner. Okla. Stat. tit. 4, § 42.1. Retrieved from http://www.oklegislature.gov/osstatuestitle.html
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.