Understanding Dog Bite Cases

Jul 21, 2020
by The AMA Law Team

Understanding Dog Bite Cases

In many American households, dogs are cherished members of families. Millions of families adore these furry four-legged pets. According to a survey in 2017, there were roughly 89.7 million dogs owned throughout the United States. Unfortunately, there are also 4.5 million dog bites in the U.S. each year, resulting in approximately 800,000 injuries that require medical care. While we do hold our pets, especially our dogs, in high esteem, dog bite cases still occur far too often. Not only do the injuries suffered in these cases require medical attention, but some are also even fatal.

Unfortunately, these cases can be quite complicated. Whenever a dog does bite or attack an individual, their owner may be held liable for their pet’s action. Determining liability and filing these claims aren’t as easy as some people would think. These cases not only lead to physical injuries, but they often cause emotional stress, medical bills, and much more. To make the process of filing a dog bite case easier, it would be in the best interest of the victim to employ the assistance of an experienced dog bite attorney, such as the ones at AMA Law.

Dogs are beloved members of millions of American households, but unfortunately, things can go wrong for a host of reasons. Dog attacks do happen. If you were the victim of a dog bite or attack, contact the dog bite law firm at AMA Law and let us help you receive the compensation you deserve.

Common Dog Bite Injuries

We see dogs as cute and friendly members of the family, and we rarely think about the potential dangers they present in certain circumstances. If a dog feels threatened or is not properly trained, they may lash out violently and bite those around them. A dog’s bite is much stronger than people realize. They can cause a lot of damage if you aren’t careful. Some of the most common injuries sustained in dog bite cases include:

  • Scratches
  • Puncture wounds
  • Broken bones
  • Nerve damage
  • Eye injuries
  • Head and neck injuries
  • Face injuries
  • Scarring
  • Emotional trauma
  • Infections

There may be complications after a dog attack. Roughly 10-15% of dog bites lead to infections. The bacteria in a dog’s mouth cause these infections. However, bacteria on the surface of your skin may also lead to an infection. Additionally, rabies is also another cause for concern when it comes to dog bite cases. Infected animals have this virus in their saliva, which then transfers to the victim through broken skin.

Unfortunately, dog attacks can be fatal. In 2019, there were 48 dog-bite related deaths in the United States. Between 2005 and 2019, there was a total of 521 dog-bite related deaths. These cases can be severe if not treated properly.

Oklahoma Dog Bite Statute

If you were a victim of a dog attack, you might be wondering when the deadline for filing a dog bite lawsuit is, otherwise known as the statute of limitations. In the state of Oklahoma, the statute of limitations for dog bites and any other injury cases is up to two years. This statute clarifies that you have two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit in the court’s civil court system. If you do not file the case within the allotted two years, the court will not hear your case.

Oklahoma also has specific laws that govern how liability in dog bite cases works. According to Oklahoma Statutes section 4-42.1, a dog owner is liable for damages and injuries occurred if:

  • The dog bites or injures a person
  • The dog bites another person unprovoked
  • A person was in a place they had a lawful right to be in, such as public spaces like parks or sidewalks

It is also crucial to know that a dog owner may not be liable for injuries if:

  • The injured person provoked the dog, whether by antagonizing it by poking, hitting, or throwing things at it
  • The injured person was in a place illegally when they were attacked (for example, trespassing)

Strict Liability

In Oklahoma, the dog bite laws are “strict liability” laws. Owners have the legal obligation to restrain, control, or take any other safety precautions to ensure that no party is injured. An owner is liable if their dog is not secured on a leash, on their premises, or under reasonable control for any unprovoked attack. A dog owner is held liable for any injuries or damages caused by their dog regardless if they did not know or could not have known that their dog would act in such an aggressive way.

This differs from many states that have a “one bite” rule. This “one bite” rule requires that for an owner to be held liable, they had to know or had reason to know that their dog would react aggressively or bite someone. To navigate these laws and receive the compensation you deserve, you should contact an expert dog bite case lawyer, like the ones at AMA Law.

Steps to Take Following a Dog Bite 

It is best to avoid dogs that behave in an obviously aggressive manner to prevent dog attacks. However, it’s not always possible to know if a dog has a good temperament or not. Dog bites can still occur, and it is vital that you take the appropriate steps to protect your rights. Following a dog attack, you should:

  • Seek medical attention right away, thoroughly cleaning and treating the wound.
  • Collect the names, addresses, and contact information of the dog owner and any witnesses.
  • Take pictures of the injuries, dog, and location.
  • Depending on the injuries, you may want to contact the police to file a police report. This will help put you in contact with the local county health department.
  • Collect insurance information.
  • Contact a trusted dog bite attorney.

Even though dogs are beloved members of millions of families across the United States, they can still act out in certain circumstances. While we never want to believe dogs can cause such damage, it can and does happen. If you were the victim of a dog bite case, contact the dog bite law firm at AMA Law today and let us fight for you.