Stillwater Dog Bite Lawyer
When a person suffers injuries as a result of being attacked or bitten by a dog, a whole host of questions are likely to arise. In the world of personal injury law, no injuries are perhaps more misunderstood by the general public than those resulting from dog bites or dog attacks.
The truth of the matter is that liability for personal injuries due to a dog bite or attack can be fairly complicated, from the determination of whether or not a person has a valid case, to determining the proper parties that can be held responsible for the injuries. Other perplexing issues involve the monetary value of the case, as it can be difficult to put a price tag on some injuries that involve the cost of future surgeries, the monetary value of permanent scarring and disfigurement or psychological damages.
Because of these complexities, it is essential that victims of a dog bite or dog attack contact a skilled and experienced Stillwater dog bite lawyer immediately.
Establishing a Valid Case Against a Dog Owner:
As a threshold matter, Oklahoma law has a 2 year statute of limitations for personal injuries occurring from a dog bite or dog attack. This means that the injured party must file their case in Court within 2 years of the incident or their case is permanently time-barred, meaning they can no longer pursue an award of damages for their injuries. Thus, it is extremely important that the injured party pursues their case as soon as possible so it is not dismissed by the Courts due to untimely filing. Another reason to initiate the case as soon as possible is the preservation of evidence, as witnesses’ memories often fade, and they become difficult to locate, or even die. Contacting a skilled Stillwater dog bite lawyer immediately will ensure the timely filing of your case, along with the preservation of all of your evidence so it is not loss.
The legal standard for pursuing a dog bite case in Oklahoma varies, depending upon whom the claim is against. Oklahoma has a strict liability statute for claims against dog owners and employs a different standard for claims against negligent landlords and property owners that permit dangerous dogs to be maintained or harbored on their premises.
Oklahoma’s strict liability statute for claims against dog owners states:
“The owner or owners of any dog shall be liable for damages to the full amount of any damages sustained when his dog, without provocation, bites or injures any person while such person is in or on a place where he has a lawful right to be.”
What is important to note is that under this statute is that an injured party need not show proof that the dog owner possessed knowledge of the aggressive dog’s prior dangerous or viscous propensities in order to prevail. In fact it doesn’t even require that the dog ever exhibited any prior vicious tendencies. However, the statute still requires the injured party to prove not only that they were lawfully on the property where the dog bite or dog attack occurred, but also that they did not provoke the dog to attack. While these showings may sound simple and straight-forward upon the face of the statute, factual issues about the meaning of provocation and whether or not the injured party was lawfully upon the premise where the attack occurred are frequently raised by dog owners and their lawyers as defenses to their liability for injuries. If they can show that the injured party was trespassing at the time of the attack or that said party in any way provoked the dog into attacking, they can succeed in getting the injured party’s case thrown out of court. This is why it is essential to consult and retain a skilled Stillwater dog bite lawyer to navigate you through the traps that the at-fault party will stir up in an attempt to dismiss your case.
Establishing a Case Against Property Owner or Landlord:
The ultimate goal or intended outcome of any personal injury claim or lawsuit is the recovery of monetary damages from the party responsible for the injuries, damages, and harm incurred by the aggrieved party. When it comes to dog bite cases, it frequently occurs, for various reasons, that the injured party may wish to pursue their case against the landlord or property owner who allowed the dangerous dog to be maintained or harbored on their premises. For example, it frequently occurs that the dog owner is renting the property upon which the dog attack occurred and they may lack liability insurance, be insolvent, or lack the assets to satisfy the monetary judgment that a court awards to the injured party. In such cases, an injured party may have to pursue their claim against the landlord or property owner, who is often more likely to have the necessary liability insurance, monies, or assets to satisfy an award for personal injuries caused by a tenant’s dog.
Unlike liability for a dog owner, which is strict liability imposed by statute, the liability imposed upon landlords and property owners for injuries caused by tenants dogs is a bit less clear, and established through case law rather than statute. That is to say, in such cases, it is not enough for the injured party to make a mere showing that the injuries from the dog attack occurred on the property of the landlord or land owner. In order to recover an award for injuries and harm against a property owner or landlord, Oklahoma Courts indicate that that the injured party must prove that the absentee landlord had knowledge that the vicious or aggressive dog was harbored or maintained on the premises, and that the absentee landlord failed to have the viscous or dangerous dog removed from the premises or warn invitees of the danger that the vicious dog presented. Under this standard, an injured party must not only prove that a landlord or property owner had knowledge of the dog living upon his premises, but also possess knowledge of the dog’s prior vicious or dangerous tendencies.
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It is important for the injured party to obtain an experienced Stillwater dog bite lawyer to not only assist them in meeting the evidentiary burdens of proving that the landlord or property owner knew of the viscous dog on his property, but also to run asset checks on the parties and verify the parties’ insurance coverage to establish the property parties against whom the injured party should bring their claim. These are tasks that an unrepresented person will likely fail to do.
Damages Available to the Injured Party:
Should an injured party prevail on their injury claim against a dog owner, landlord, or property owner, Oklahoma law permits a party to recover economic damages such as reimbursement for past medical bills, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, as well as the costs of future medical treatment and surgeries deemed necessary by a medical expert. Oklahoma law also permits an injured party to recover non-economic damages as well which include mental anguish, pain and suffering, and awards for permanent disfigurement. However, under Oklahoma law an injured party’s noneconomic damages are generally capped at $350,000.00.
It is vital to contact a seasoned and skilled Stillwater dog bite lawyer immediately to assist you in the compiling and itemization of all of the resulting losses from your injuries. Unrepresented parties often fail to accurately account for all of their losses and damages and insurance carriers are all too eager and willing to make early low-ball offers that fail to take into consideration all of one’s economic and non-economic losses.
Call our Stillwater Dog Bite Lawyer Today
If you or a loved were injured from a dog bite or a dog attack do not hesitate to contact an experienced Stillwater dog bite lawyer at Murray Law Firm immediately to ensure the best possible outcome of your case. Navigating the nuances of the law can be tricky and fraught with traps for the inexperienced and unwary. That is why it is vital that you contact an experienced Stillwater dog bite lawyer at today!