Studies estimate that around 1000 people go to the Emergency room every year from dog bites and while many are not fatal, there are dozens that end up dying from attacks. Oklahoma has statutes that are friendly to dog bite victims. This means that there are no “first bite freebies” in Oklahoma and the dog’s owners are liable if it attacks someone. Even if the dog has never been hostile before, the owner is still liable for medical bills and other damages caused by the bite.
Statute §4-42.1 states “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”(1).
STIPULATIONS OF PROTECTION FOR DOG BITES
You will notice that there are some caveats to this statute. The first being “without provocation”. If you were provoking the dog, poking it repeatedly, taunting it, etc. the dog will be expected to act as dogs do and defend itself and its owner will not be expected to be liable. The second caveat here is that you are “in or on a place where [you] have a lawful right to be”. This means that if you are trespassing, breaking and entering, or unlawfully in or on somewhere you shouldn’t be then you cannot hold the owner liable.
However, Oklahoma dog bite laws state that if an attack happens while the victim is legally on private property (as an invited guest, to deliver mail, etc.) or, even while on public property, the owner is typically liable, as long as the victim was not intentionally and repeatedly antagonizing or provoking the animal.
While the owner’s homeowner’s insurance will typically cover any all medical bills and other damages, if the dog escapes the owner’s property and attacks someone it may be difficult to recover damages from them and we have to recover damages from the owner directly.
Your best bet is to hire an experienced attorney that can recover damages for your injuries and help you get back on your feet after recovery.
Contact the experienced and professional personal injury attorneys at Richardson, Richardson, Boudreaux today if you have been injured by a dog bite by calling (918) 492-7674 or contact our Tulsa Dog Bite Attorneys online today.