Can You Sue the Owner for a Dog Bite Injury in Oklahoma?

Dogs are called man’s best friend, but they can also be man’s worst enemy.  When powerful, aggressive dogs aren’t properly leashed and restrained by their owners, they can maul children and inflict devastating, sometimes disfiguring or fatal injuries.

If you or your child was attacked or bitten by a dog in Oklahoma City, the owner could be responsible for the resulting injuries, expenses, and losses.  The experienced Oklahoma dog bite lawyers of Hasbrook & Hasbrook may be able to recover compensation for you.  Call our law offices at (405) 698-3040 to set up a free legal consultation today.

Strict Liability: When Pet Owners Are Liable for Animal Attacks

After an Oklahoma City dog attack occurs, one of the first questions to address is whether the dog’s owner is liable for the victim’s injuries.  The answer lies in Oklahoma’s dog bite liability statute, 4 O.S. § 42.1, which provides the following:

“The owner or owners of any dog shall be liable for damages to the full amount of any damages sustained when his [or her] dog, without provocation, bites or injures any person while such person is in or on a place where he [or she] has a lawful right to be.”

In other words, dog owners are liable for bite injuries as long as:

  1. The victim was not trespassing or burglarizing a property.
  2. The victim did not do anything to tease, goad, abuse, or otherwise provoke the dog into biting.

This is known as “strict liability,” or liability that exists even without a finding of fault on the owner’s behalf.  Many states have strict liability laws for dog bites.

Additionally, 4 O.S. § 42.4 makes it unlawful for dog owners to let a dog “run at large” (i.e. off a leash) if the dog has a history of biting without provocation.  Furthermore, 4 O.S. § 43 makes it unlawful for any dogs, even those without a history of biting, to run at large in counties with populations exceeding 200,000.  This includes Oklahoma County, whose population was around 755,000 as of 2013.

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Which Dog Breeds Cause the Most Injuries?

Any type of dog can inflict injuries, even tiny toy dogs like Chihuahuas or Yorkshire Terriers.  However, some breeds have gained notoriety for causing a high number of serious bites and mauling attacks.  While Pitbulls have received most of the media attention for bite injuries in recent years, many other breeds are just as powerful and, with poor training, just as dangerous.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the dog breeds that cause the most bites include:

What to Do After You Are Bitten by a Dog

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every year in the United States.  About one in five of these bites – roughly 900,000 injuries – become infected due to the fact that over 60 types of bacteria live inside a dog’s mouth.

Because dog bites can become infected so easily, it is very important to follow three steps recommended by the CDC after being bitten:

  1. Thoroughly wash the wound out with soap and water.
  2. Apply a layer of antibiotic ointment over the bite.
  3. Cover the bite with clean, sterile gauze, even if the bleeding has already stopped.

You should also seek prompt medical attention, even if the bite seems fairly minor.  What starts as a small puncture or laceration can quickly develop into a serious, even life-threatening injury if infection sets in due to care delays.  Symptoms of a bacterial infection include warmth, redness, swelling, and pus/discharge around the injury site.  Developing a fever is another warning sign of infection.

In addition to seeking medical help, you should also report the bite to Oklahoma City Animal Welfare by calling (405) 297-3100.  Officers will temporarily quarantine and observe the animal to make sure it doesn’t have rabies.

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Free Consultation with Our Oklahoma City Personal Injury Attorney

If you or one of your family members was bitten by a dog in Oklahoma City, you may be able to recover compensation by filing a lawsuit or personal injury claim.  With over 75 years of combined experience, the skilled Oklahoma City dog bite attorneys of Hasbrook & Hasbrook can help.  We have extensive experience fighting for compensation on behalf of dog attack injury victims in Oklahoma City and the surrounding area, including Norman, Edmond, and Moore.  Some common dog bite injuries we handle include:

Don’t wait to start reviewing your claim with our friendly and knowledgeable personal injury attorneys.  Call the law offices of Hasbrook & Hasbrook at (405) 698-3040 right away to set up a free and confidential legal consultation.  You won’t be charged any fees unless we recover compensation for you.