While laws relating to dog bites vary widely from one state to another, Oklahoma is relatively favorable to victims of dog-related injuries. Victims can generally recover damages to cover medical treatments, medications, future medical treatments, psychological counseling, and lost wages. Claims can be made against the dog’s owner, his or her insurance company and, in certain situations, third parties whose negligence may have contributed to the injuries.
However, the recovery process for victims of dog-related injuries can still be long, painful, and expensive – especially when you are simply trying to recuperate from your wounds. The attorneys of Hasbrook & Hasbrook are here to help you through the process. We have years of experience fighting for maximum compensation on behalf of animal attack victims in Oklahoma City, and offer free initial consultations.
Don’t worry if you aren’t sure about your legal options, or don’t know whether you have a case. We are here to listen to your questions and provide you with the answers you need. To set up your free, private case evaluation, call the law offices of Hasbrook & Hasbrook today at (405) 698-3040.
What to Do After an Animal Attack
What should you do if a dog or other animal has injured you? Here are some tips:
- Seek immediate medical attention.
- Even if your injuries seem minor, it’s still important to get them checked out by a physician. Dog bites can easily become infected, which can lead to serious medical complications that are worse than the original bite. You may need antibiotics or other medications.
- Contact the police about your injury and request a copy of their report.
- To get a copy of a police report from the Oklahoma City Police Department, call (405) 297-1000 or (405) 297-1112.
- Obtain the name, address, phone number and other contact information of the dog’s owner, if possible.
- You’re probably feeling angry with the owner, but it’s very important to refrain from taking any actions that could be seen as harassment or retaliation. Do not do anything which could invite criminal charges or undermine the strength of your personal injury claim.
- Attempt to get names and contact information from any witnesses to the attack.
- Take photographs of the animal responsible, and the area where the attack occurred.
- Take photographs of your injuries.
- While getting photographs is important, do not delay medical treatment for the sake of documenting your wounds. Your health and safety are the number one priorities.
- Set aside and save any clothing, personal property or other items that were damaged in the attack.
- The position and size of tears in your clothing, blood stains in the fabric, etc. can help investigators piece together the sequence of events during the attack.
What Are the Most Dangerous Breeds?
When you say the term “dangerous dog breeds,” most people will automatically imagine a pit bull. In truth, no single breed of dog is inherently vicious – yet certain breeds are more statistically likely to be involved in serious bites and attacks. Issues like poor training, animal abuse, animal neglect, and genetic defects can all increase the likelihood that an individual dog will “snap” and attack somebody. In some instances, owners will even deliberately allow their dogs to be aggressive, which we will address later.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AMVA), some dog breeds most likely to bite humans or be involved in attacks include the following:
- Chow Chows
- German Shepherds
- Jack Russell Terriers
- Labrador Retrievers
- Mutts (Mixed-Breed)
- Saint Bernards
While large dogs are a greater cause for concern due to their power and bite force, even tiny “toy” dogs can still inflict serious damage with their sharp fangs. This is especially true with regard to children and elderly individuals, whose slower reflexes, reduced muscle density, and fragile immune systems make them more susceptible to sustaining catastrophic injuries.
Oklahoma Dog Bite Laws: Owner Liability for Dangerous Pets
Several of Oklahoma’s legal statutes address the issue of liability for dog bites. For injury victims, the relevant statutes are § 4-42.1, which deals with owner liability, and § 4-42.4, which deals with penalties for the owners of vicious dogs.
- 4-42.1 clearly states 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.”
To put it another way: if you were bitten by a dog in Oklahoma City, the owner can potentially be held responsible for compensating you as long as you weren’t trespassing and were not hurting or taunting the dog.
- 4-42.4 discusses the penalties for owners of dangerous pets. Under this statute, if a dog has either inflicted unprovoked bites in the past (whether on public or private property), or even so much as “created an imminent threat of injury or death” in the past, then it is unlawful for the dog’s owner to allow the dog to “run at large” (i.e. be off a leash) or “aggressively bite or attack any person” who is not trespassing.
If an owner does allow a vicious dog to roam freely or maul harmless people, then the dog’s owner can be criminally charged with a misdemeanor subject to one year in jail and up to $5,000 in fines.
If you were bitten by a dog in Oklahoma City, you may be entitled to significant compensation for your medical bills, lost income, damage to your personal property, and other expenses arising from your dog bite injuries. To start discussing your case in a free and completely confidential legal consultation, call the attorneys of Hasbrook & Hasbrook at (405) 698-3040 today.