Dog bites can be extremely serious – and scary – especially when children are the victims. Unfortunately, many dog owners have not taken the time to properly train or socialize their dogs, putting both the animal and other people in danger. While we all like to believe our beloved Fido would never do anything to hurt another dog or person, the fact of the matter is that dog bites happen, and more frequently than many realize. In the state of Oklahoma, a dog owner is liable for damages when his or her dog, without provocation, bites or harms a person, as long as the victim is in an area where he had the legal right to be. This means that, in the event another person was assaulting the owner of the dog or trespassing onto private property and the dog attacks, the owner is not held liable.
When someone is the victim of a dog attack or injured by a dog bite, it is important they understand their legal rights. By law, there are a series of damages that a dog bite victim can receive compensation for, including the following:
- Scars and disfigurement
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of earnings
- Medical expenses
Please keep in mind that all dog bite lawsuits differ from one another and there are additional damages that a person may receive compensation for. Now, here is a look at some of the most frequently asked questions pertaining to dog bite lawsuits in Oklahoma:
Q: Who has the right to bring a claim for injuries from a dog bite?
A: The person who was attacked by the dog has the right to bring a claim or lawsuit against the dog’s owner. In the event the victim is under the age of 18, the child’s parent or guardian will need to head the claim on behalf of the minor.
Q: Does insurance cover claims against dog owners?
A: In many cases, either homeowner or renter’s insurance policies will cover attacks and bites by dogs. Keep in mind that this will vary from state to state and policy to policy, so be sure and check with your insurance provider.
Q: Is there a timeline for when a dog bite claim can be filed?
A: Again, this will vary from state to state, but as a general rule the investigation into a potential dog bite lawsuit should begin immediately. This is due in large part to the fact that critical evidence, such as witness statements, may be difficult to gather as time goes on. Some states also require that a dog bite lawsuit is filed within X amount of years, so be sure and check with a knowledgeable Oklahoma dog bite attorney to make sure you are within the statute of limitations.
Q: How long will it take to resolve a dog bite lawsuit?
A: This will vary from case to case and will also depend on the severity of the injuries as well as the victim’s medical treatment and healing. In most cases, the attorney will assess the victim’s medical records and consult with any healthcare providers in order to evaluate the extent of the injuries and the need for future medical treatment. That being said, it is recommended to wait about one year after the incident to file a claim in order to ensure the nature and extent of any injuries are understood.
To learn more about dog bite lawsuits in Oklahoma, please contact Atkins & Markoff today. Our experienced dog bite attorneys will carefully assess your case and are happy to answer any questions you may have.