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Dog Bite Injury Claim?

Dog Bite Lawyer in Oklahoma

a dog barking at a passer by

Man’s best friend. The old adage about dogs is timeless, reminding us that the furry companions have lived in households across the world for centuries. But while countless canines are friendly and reliable family pets, even the trustiest dog has limits. And when a dog bites, the injuries can be serious and even life-threatening. Contact our McAlester injury lawyers today.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4.5 million people suffer dog bites every year. Over half of those bites take place at home with dogs that know the victims. Roughly 800,000 dog bite victims need medical treatment following the incidents. In a single recent year, there were 31 dog bite fatalities in the United States alone. Tragically, children are the most common victims.

We Can Help After a Dog Attack

In Oklahoma, there are laws that protect people who have been bitten by dogs. Homeowners’ insurance policies typically cover injuries that result from dog bites, but they are notorious for pushing people to accept quick settlements that are much less than what they need to recover fully and make up for things such as medical expenses, rehabilitation, and lost wages.

If you’re in this situation, talking with a dog bite attorney at Edwards & Patterson Law is a good idea. Attorneys Tony Edwards and Matt Patterson can investigate your dog bite and help you seek proper compensation from those responsible for your injuries in Tulsa and McAlester.

Contact us today for a free consultation about your potential dog bite case. Find out your rights and best legal options now.

What are the Dog Bite Laws in Oklahoma?

a viscous dog about to attack a personBecause dog bites often happen at someone’s home, many victims are hesitant to bring a legal claim for fear of ruining valued relationships with friends and neighbors. There are several important things to understand about Oklahoma dog bite laws that may help to ease your mind.

By statute, you do not have to prove that a dog’s owner was negligent to recover compensation for your injuries. The only exception is if the bite occurred in a rural area. In heavily populated Tulsa, that means there is no need to make “he said, she said” allegations that could damage a friendship.

Nor is there any kind of “one-bite rule” in Oklahoma, which would require you to prove that the owner knew the dog was prone to biting before being held responsible. Instead, the state imposes strict liability for dog bites, which means that the owner is automatically liable for any dog bites that occur (without provocation) as long as the victim was lawfully on the premises where the incident happened. That includes people who have been invited onto the property as well as those who come to perform a duty, such as a postal worker or meter reader. Of course, it would also apply if you were bitten at a public park, on a sidewalk or anywhere else you were legally allowed to be.

Remember that hiring a dog bite lawyer to pursue compensation for your dog bite injuries does not mean that you will be taking money straight from your friend’s or neighbor’s wallets. Homeowners’ insurance policies are built with dog-bite contingencies in mind. The challenge is to get them to provide the payout you need.

What are Dangerous and Potentially Dangerous Dogs?

Oklahoma laws also have classifications for dogs with a history of biting and sets forth specific requirements that owners must meet to prevent the dog from injuring others.

A dog may be labeled potentially dangerous if:

  • It bites a human on public or private property without provocation.
  • It attacks or kills a dog on public or private property without being provoked.

A dangerous dog in Oklahoma:

  • When unprovoked, it has inflicted a serious injury on a person on public or private property, such as broken bones or lacerations requiring multiple stitches or cosmetic surgery.
  • It has previously been identified as potentially dangerous by authorities and then attacks either a human or dog again.

Owners of a dangerous dog in Oklahoma must register the pet, make sure that is securely confined and ensure that it always wears a muzzle when out on a leash. They must also have at least $50,000 in liability insurance. If they violate those rules and someone is injured or killed by their dog, they could face jail time and steep fines.

But that’s nothing compared to the suffering you or someone you love has endured after a dog bite injury, especially if you are not compensated fully. And even with money and therapy, the psychological ramifications of suffering a dog bite can last a lifetime.

What Provokes a Dog to Attack?

a dog biting a humanEvery dog is capable of biting. Although many people tend to focus on specific breeds (Pit Bulls, German Shepherds, Chows, and Rottweilers, to name a few), even the goofiest Golden Retriever can reach its boiling point. That’s why it’s critical not to provoke a dog, not just for legal reasons, but also because it’s common sense.

Human behaviors that can provoke dogs to bite might include:

  • Poking
  • Taunting
  • Hitting
  • Wrestling
  • Going near a valued possession, such as a food bowl, favorite toy or resting place
  • Hugging or leaning over the dog
  • Pulling (such as ears or tail)
  • Running or jumping near the dog, triggering a predator/prey instinct

In some cases, provocation is entirely unintentional. That is certainly the case with young children, who may have simply rushed by a dog too fast and startled it or gotten too close. However, adults can also make unintentional errors that could count as a provocation, such as tripping over a dog they did not see or stepping on its tail. The courts will examine the victim’s behavior leading up to the injury and assess whether he or she should reasonably have known it could have led to an attack.

What Are the Statute of Limitations for Dog Bite Injury Cases?

an experienced injury attorneyThe skilled McAlester dog bite injury attorneys at Edwards & Patterson Law understand the physical and emotional scars that can remain after a serious dog attack. You have two years from the date of the injury to pursue compensation to cover costs such as medical bills, lost wages, assistive equipment, long-term care and pain, and suffering.

Don’t risk missing out on your potential right to claim compensation. To find out if you have a case, contact us online or by phone for a free consultation. We represent clients in Tulsa, McAlester and throughout eastern Oklahoma.

Need Help After a Crash? Talk to a Dedicated Car Accident Lawyer Now

If you’ve been involved in a serious car accident resulting in injuries, call on the experienced Tulsa, McAlester, Oklahoma and Arkansas lawyers at Edwards & Patterson Law. We offer free case evaluations with no strings attached. Call us today at 877-761-5059 or contact us online. Our team takes cases on a contingency basis, which means you pay no attorney’s fees unless you recover monetary damages.

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  • Contact Edwards & Patterson Law Firm today for a free consultation.
  • Contact Edwards & Patterson Law Firm today for a free consultation.
  • Contact Edwards & Patterson Law Firm today for a free consultation.
  • Contact Edwards & Patterson Law Firm today for a free consultation.
  • Contact Edwards & Patterson Law Firm today for a free consultation.
  • Contact Edwards & Patterson Law Firm today for a free consultation.
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