Melissa E. Webb

Attorney at Graves McLain Injury Lawyers

Practice Areas: Wrongful Death, Medical Malpractice

In April of this year, a Tulsa mother and son were both attacked by a neighbor’s dogs. Melinda Daniel had two emergency surgeries on her nose the day of the attack, and needed additional reconstructive surgery. Her son Brandon was attacked in a separate incident. Although he was able to fend off the attacking dogs by covering his face and neck with a jacket, he suffered cuts and bruising on his arms. 

Oklahoma’s dog bite laws operate under the mixed negligence and strict liability theory. Victims of dog bites can seek compensation if they prove the dog owner’s negligence or if the dog has a history of aggression. State laws classify dogs as personal property, and owners are responsible for their pets’ actions. In cases where a dog bites someone unprovoked, especially in a public place or lawfully in a private place, the owner might be held strictly liable. However, if the victim provoked the dog or trespassed, the owner’s liability may be reduced. Oklahoma also adheres to a statute of limitations, setting a specific timeframe for victims to file a lawsuit. These laws aim to balance dog owners’ rights with the public’s protection from dangerous animals. Understanding these regulations helps individuals grasp their legal position following a dog bite incident in Oklahoma.

First Actions After a Dog Bite: Essential Steps for Safety and Legal Protection

After a dog bite, immediate medical care is paramount for the victim’s health and for documenting the incident. Cleaning the wound thoroughly to prevent infection is a first step, followed by seeking professional medical attention, even for minor bites. Medical records play a significant role in documenting the extent of injuries and the required treatment, which is vital for any legal considerations. Reporting the incident to local authorities or animal control is also important. It ensures the event is officially recorded and aids in checking the dog’s vaccination history and any past aggressive behavior. Victims should gather contact information from the dog owner and any witnesses, as these details are helpful for any future legal processes. It’s also beneficial to take photos of the injuries and the location where the incident occurred. These actions lay a foundation for addressing the aftermath of a dog bite effectively and responsibly.

Gathering Evidence for a Dog Bite Claim: What You Need to Know

Gathering evidence for a dog bite claim is a methodical process that significantly impacts the outcome. Medical records are a cornerstone, detailing the extent of injuries and the treatment required. These records offer a clear picture of the physical impact of the bite. Photographs of injuries immediately after the incident and during the healing process serve as visual evidence of the severity and impact of the bite.

Witness statements add credibility to the claim. Individuals who saw the incident can provide an objective account, which is especially useful in cases where the details are disputed. Information about the dog and its owner, including previous aggressive behavior or attacks, is crucial. This can establish a pattern of negligence if the dog has a history of violence.

Documenting any communication with the dog owner or their insurance company is also important. This includes any admissions of fault or offers of compensation. All these pieces of evidence collectively strengthen a dog bite claim, ensuring a comprehensive representation of the event and its consequences.

Medical Attention and Documentation: Building a Strong Dog Bite Case

In building a strong dog bite case, medical attention and documentation play a pivotal role. Immediate medical care is necessary not just for the well-being of the victim, but also for creating an official record of the injuries. A thorough medical evaluation and treatment establish the severity of the bite, which can range from superficial wounds to serious injuries requiring extensive medical intervention.

Detailed medical records are a key component of the evidence. These records should include the initial examination, any treatments or surgeries, and the prognosis. They often contain descriptions of the wounds, which can be correlated with the nature of the attack.

Follow-up visits and any ongoing treatments also need documentation. They provide evidence of the duration and extent of the recovery process. If there are long-term effects such as scarring or psychological trauma, these too should be documented by healthcare professionals.

In sum, medical attention ensures the health and safety of the victim, while the accompanying documentation forms the backbone of a compelling dog bite case, illustrating the direct consequences of the incident.

Navigating Oklahoma’s Liability Laws in Dog Bite Cases

Oklahoma’s liability laws in dog bite cases are multifaceted and can impact the outcome of a lawsuit. The state follows a combination of strict liability and negligence principles. In cases where the dog has no prior history of aggression or biting, the owner might be held liable under negligence if it is proven that they failed to take reasonable care to prevent the bite.

Strict liability applies when a dog has a known history of aggression. In such instances, the owner may be held liable regardless of the precautions they took. For victims, proving the dog’s past aggressive behavior becomes a key factor in these cases.

Another aspect is the consideration of the victim’s actions. If the victim provoked the dog or was trespassing, these circumstances might reduce or eliminate the owner’s liability.

It’s important to note that local ordinances can also influence liability. For instance, some areas might have leash laws or specific rules regarding dangerous breeds. These local regulations can play a role in determining liability in dog bite cases.

Compensation in Dog Bite Cases: What Can Victims Expect?

Dog Bite Injury

In dog bite cases, victims can expect various forms of compensation, depending on the specifics of their situation. The compensation often covers medical expenses, which include the cost of treatment immediately after the bite and any ongoing medical care related to the injury. This can range from emergency room charges to costs for surgeries, physical therapy, and any future medical treatments necessitated by the bite.

Lost wages are another area of compensation. If the victim misses work due to the injury, they may be entitled to recover the income lost during this period. This is especially relevant in cases where the injuries are severe enough to impact the victim’s ability to work over the long term.

Pain and suffering compensation is also common in dog bite cases. This covers the physical pain and emotional distress caused by the incident. The psychological impact, such as fear, anxiety, and trauma, is taken into account.

In some cases, if the dog owner’s actions were particularly negligent or reckless, punitive damages might be awarded. These are intended to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar negligent behavior in the future.

The exact amount and type of compensation depend on the case’s details, including the severity of the injury, the circumstances of the attack, and the applicable laws in Oklahoma.

If you are have suffered a dog big injury, contact us or call us at 918-359-6600 today for a free consultation. 

When injury victims need a law firm with a reputation for excellence, turn to Graves McLain Injury Lawyers. We are a top-rated personal injury firm determined to be the best. With decades of award-winning representation, our clients recover the compensation they need to put their lives back together.

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