If you have sustained physical harm due to a dog bite, you might be able to pursue a civil lawsuit against the owner of the animal. In many cases, financial compensation could be available with the help of a dedicated personal injury attorney.
There are unique challenges that come with dog bite lawsuits that are not present with other types of civil litigation. Despite these challenges, a favorable outcome could be possible in your case if you have the right person working with you. An Altus dog bite lawyer could help you maximize your financial compensation after an animal attack.
Dog Owners and Civil Liability
As is the case in many states, there is a statute (4 Oklahoma Statutes § 42.1)that applies to dog bites in Oklahoma. The statute spells out how liability is determined following a dog attack. For many people, the first question following a dog bite is whether or not the owner of the animal is responsible for their injuries. In many cases, the answer to that question is yes.
State law applies a doctrine known as strict liability to dog bite injury cases. Under a strict liability standard, you do not have to prove that the owner of the animal acted negligently in allowing the attack to occur. Instead, you only need to establish that you suffered a bite injury from a dog owned by the defendant.
This is a low standard that is usually fairly easy to meet but there are some important defenses that a dog owner can rely on. First, a plaintiff is not entitled to recover compensation from a dog bite if they provoked the animal. It is also a potential defense if the person bit by the dog was somewhere that they were not legally allowed to be at the time of the attack. This is designed to protect dog owners against claims when their dog bites a trespasser.
Navigating these dog bite laws can be a complex and time-consuming process. The good news is that you do not have to pursue a dog bite case on your own. A dog bite attorney in Altus could help you pursue fair compensation for the losses that you have endured.
Owner Liability in Rural Areas
4 O.S. § 42.3 provides an exception for the strict liability rule for dog owners who live in rural areas of Oklahoma, which includes small towns that do not receive mail from the United States Postal Service. However, this provision does not automatically excuse any owners from injuries caused by their dog.
The Time Limit to File a Dog Bite Lawsuit
There are limits on the amount of time that a person has to file suit after being bitten by a dog. This limit—commonly referred to as the statute of limitations—could result in the dismissal of a case if it is filed after time expires. A dog bite attorney in Altus could help ensure that you are able to properly file your lawsuit before the statute runs out.
For animal attack claims, the statute of limitations covers a two-year period that begins the day of the attack. The consequences of not complying with the statute can be steep, as courts generally dismiss these cases with prejudice if they are filed after the two-year deadline. A dismissal with prejudice would bring an end to a case even if there was little doubt that it would have been successful under the strict liability standard.
Reach Out to an Altus Dog Bite Attorney Right Away
If you are healing from a dog bite wound, you could be entitled to a monetary award from the owner of the animal. Pursuing these claims can be challenging, especially if you are immediately unclear on the identity of the dog owner. An Altus dog bite lawyer could help you investigate your claim and pursue fair compensation. Call right away to speak with us about your situation during a free consultation.