Scales of Justice

Michael Carr Discusses Dog Bite Incidents

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Host: Well, if you are a dog owner, you may wonder what your responsibility would be if your dog bit someone. Michael Carr joins us today to tell us what we should do in that situation. Good morning, Michael. And I feel bad because we literally just showed a dog on here that’s up for adoption at the Tulsa SPCA, and then we talk about dog bites. This dog did not bite anybody, so we’ll clarify that right off the bat. But if you do have a dog that gets out of a fence or somebody comes over, you know, a repairman of some sort and the dog bites them, what kind of responsibility do you have as a homeowner?

Michael Carr: Right, well, it’s good to know what the law is in Oklahoma with respect to dog bites because Oklahoma actually does have one of the stricter laws when it comes to what a dog owner could be responsible for. So in Oklahoma, if you have a dog and the dog bites someone, then you are strictly liable for the damages the dog causes, no matter what. Except there are a couple of exceptions. One would be if someone provokes the dog and causes the dog to bite them. In that instance, the dog owner would not be responsible. But otherwise, the dog owner would be on the hook for whatever the damages are.

Host: Okay, so I watch enough Judge Judy every now and then to see there’s a lot of dog bite cases that they have on there. They’re always kind of weird when somebody else is at fault. You mentioned if you were provoking the dog, but if somebody, let’s say some kids go through your yard, if your yard’s fenced in, your dog’s back there, and some kids are trying to cut through to another yard and they climb over the fence, are you liable in a case like that?

Michael Carr: Well, so you would only be liable if the person who is injured is at the location they’re entitled to be at. So, for example, you took the example of maybe a trespasser. If someone sneaks onto your property and they don’t have a right to be there, and your dog is simply protecting you and your property, then no, you would not be responsible for the injuries the dog bites. You’re only responsible if the dog bites someone where the other person’s lawfully there. So, for example, if you’re at a dog park or something, if you’re on a walk and your dog suddenly bites someone walking next to you, on that occasion, yes, the dog owner would be responsible unless, of course, the pedestrian somehow startles the dog and provokes the dog to bite them.

Host: Now, what are you entitled to if you are bitten by a dog? If you’re the person who’s on a walk and a dog gets off leash and bites you, or if you’re in your own neighborhood and someone’s dog is not on a leash and it bites you, what are you entitled to?

Michael Carr: So, under Oklahoma law, you’ve been entitled to various things. If you’ve been bitten by a dog and you have to go get medical care, well, you’re gonna have medical expenses. And if that happens, then yes, you would be entitled to your medical expenses and any future medical expenses you might need. If you miss time from work because of this, you’d be entitled to your lost wages. It also affords just the pain of suffering from getting bit by a dog. It’s not something to be taken lightly, and the court would allow you to ask for compensation for the pain and suffering that you’ve gone through because of the dog bite.

Host: Okay, so when is it time to call a lawyer in a case like that? Is that as soon as it happens or wait and see how bad it is?

Michael Carr: Well, the law in Oklahoma is not always crystal clear. So if you’ve been injured by a dog and you’re not really sure what you might be entitled to, then yes, give us a call here at Carr & Carr. We’re able to provide you with a free consultation and let you know what you might be entitled to.

Host: All great information. Thank you so much. We appreciate all the information. We’re going to tell folks how to get in touch with you. Thank you, Michael. All right, Carr & Carr, 4416 South Harvard Avenue. Give them a call if you have questions at 918-747-1000 or you can go to their website at carrcarr.com. They’re also on Facebook.

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