Are you concerned that the insurance company will not treat your family fairly after your child was bitten by a neighborhood dog? If you are unsure of your rights, or how to negotiate for the settlement that is entitled to you through the insurance company for your child’s injuries, you should read on. The lawyers in our Oklahoma City office will travel statewide to work with your on your dog bit claim on a contingency fee basis, meaning we don’t get paid unless you receive compensation.
Scenario: My six (6) year old daughter, Julie, was bitten by her friend’s Chow dog, “Precious’ in Oklahoma City when she was spending the night at her friend’s house. The girls were just playing dolls when “Precious” got spooked and bit Julie on the face and legs. We have incurred $15,000 in medical bills and a plastic surgeon has told us that Julie my need plastic surgery when she is older. Julie has suffered some scarring on her face and, unfortunately, her friends are starting to make fun of her.
Question: How do we receive compensation for Julie’s injuries?
Opinion: Under Oklahoma law, a dog owner is strictly liable for dog bite injuries if the incident takes place in the city limits of a city or town that has leash laws and the injured person is in a place where he or she has a right to be. Most home owners carry homeowner’s liability insurance to compensate persons who are injured on their property do to their negligent acts and dog bite incidents such as in the present case.
The first thing to do is to contact the homeowner’s insurance company of the owner of the dog and make a claim under both the “medical payments” and “liability” portion of the policy. Next, you need to provide all the medical bills to the claims representative of the insurance company once they have contacted you about the claim. You should also ask the plastic surgeon to give you a letter report estimating all the costs of the future surgery. You should also try to determine if your child needs some counseling about the scar issues and provide those bills to the claims representative as well.
Of course, in Oklahoma, your damages and recovery from the insurance company are not limited to reimbursement for medical bills. Injured persons are entitled to recover all out of pocket losses, including medical bills and lost income plus money for pain and suffering, permanent injury, impairment of future earning capacity and any other losses that can be calculated with reasonable certainty. In the present case, Julie is entitled to be reimbursed for her incurred medical bills and to receive money for pain and suffering, permanent injury, and future damages such as future scar revision surgery.
Action: Always hire an attorney to represent you in serious cases to ensure that your rights are protected and to make sure that the insurance companies are treating you fairly. A lawyer will help you to properly obtain and present your proof of loss and will assist you to properly evaluate how much compensation you are entitled to receive.