At Ylla Gosney, Attorneys at Law, we represent victims of dog bites across Oklahoma City. Suffering a dog bite can lead to serious injuries. This is true across Oklahoma City’s population. However, there are some that are much more vulnerable to these types of accidents. Chief among these are children, who can suffer damage that lasts the rest of their lives. If your child has been hurt in a dog bite incident, contact us today for a free consultation.
What Can You Do If Your Child is Bitten by a Dog?
Any dog bite is unfortunate, but even more so if it happens to your child. At the same time, the steps you need to take mirror those of any other accident and injury. The major difference is that you need to protect your child’s health with an even greater zeal because their injuries are likely to be more severe. Still, here’s what you should do:
- Get medical care – Seek immediate medical attention for your child if bitten by a dog. This treatment can prevent complications, and medical records serve as crucial evidence for your claim.
- Identify the dog’s owner – Gather information on the dog’s owner, including their name and contact details, if possible. This information is vital during the claims process, as they are primarily responsible.
- Report the incident – Inform local animal control or law enforcement about the incident. They will likely conduct an investigation to assess the circumstances and ensure public safety.
- Collect supporting evidence – Gather evidence related to the dog bite, including photos of the injuries, the incident location, and any witness statements. This evidence strengthens your case.
- Document your child’s medical treatment – Keep detailed records of your child’s medical treatments and expenses related to the dog bite, including hospital visits, surgeries, medications, and ongoing medical care.
Hiring a Lawyer
The decision to take legal action is entirely yours, and you aren’t even legally required to have a lawyer in Oklahoma. At the same time though, the circumstances that are involved when your child is bitten by a dog usually require legal experience and guidance. If you choose to work with our team, we can help you by:
- Investigating the incident
- Explaining your child’s legal options and the path ahead for it
- Helping you gather evidence
- Handling talks with the insurance company and the other party’s lawyers
Our main goal in supporting your case is to secure financial support and benefits for your child’s injuries and losses. Trust us with your case, so you can focus on your child’s recovery while we handle the responsibilities of your claim.
Does My Child Have the Same Legal Rights in a Dog Bite Case?
In Oklahoma, dog owners are “strictly liable” for any damage caused by their dog. This means that if you or your child is a victim of a dog bite, the owner is responsible for covering the injuries and damages. However, when it comes to injuries to your child, there are slight differences in the process. What remains unchanged are your child’s legal rights. As a parent or guardian, you have the right to file an injury claim on behalf of your child.
Before moving forward, though, it’s crucial to understand the circumstances of the accident. In a normal child dog bite claim, the underlying causes involve the following factors:
- Lack of awareness – Children may not understand how a dog behaves and its body language, increasing the chance of them approaching the dog in a way that seems threatening to the dog.
- Smaller size -nDue to their smaller size, children are more likely to be bitten on the face and neck, as their height aligns their face with a dog’s mouth.
- Impulse control – Children’s unpredictable and excitable behavior can make dogs nervous or agitated, resulting in defensive or fearful reactions.
- Lack of supervision – If children are unsupervised around dogs, there is a higher risk of incidents due to potential misunderstandings.
Under normal circumstances, strict liability may not apply if the victim was trespassing on private property or provoked the dog into the attack. In cases involving children, they aren’t held to the same standard. However, if the child wasn’t supervised during the bite, it could be considered “comparative negligence.”
Despite this, you still have the legal right to file a claim. Considering the potential for serious injury to your child after a dog bite, this process is highly important.
Damages in a Dog Bite Claim Involving a Child
What separates dog bites on children from other dog bites is the fact that the injuries and damage can last well after the initial bite. While certain injuries can be taken care of, it’s often the emotional trauma and scarring from the incident that can last for the rest of your child’s life. Add in the fact that your child’s body is still developing, and the potential for lifelong damage becomes clear. Oklahoma law tries to take this into account when factoring in the available damages in a dog bite claim. So, here’s a look at the damages that are generally available in these claims:
- Medical bills and expenses – These cover immediate and future medical costs, including initial treatment and potential upcoming needs like surgeries, therapies, or medications for recovery.
- Lost wages – While a child may not have direct earnings, it can impact parents or guardians who might lose income due to taking time off work to care for the child during recovery, affecting the family’s finances. These damages relate to that loss.
- Permanent disability – If a dog bite results in permanent disfigurement or disability for a child, it involves not only the physical and emotional toll but also potential long-term care, adaptive technologies, and changes to living spaces.
- Pain and suffering – These damages consider the child’s physical pain and emotional distress when determining an amount. So the more impactful and traumatic the incident, the larger this number could be.
- Loss of enjoyment of life – These damages cover the impact on a child’s ability to enjoy aspects like playing and socializing, as well as the overall effect the incident has had on their quality of life.
- Wrongful death expenses – In the unfortunate event of a fatal injury, considering funeral and burial expenses, along with the emotional toll on the family, is part of the damages.
It’s important to note that the statute of limitations for an injury claim in Oklahoma is usually two years from the date of the accident. However, when a child is involved, it changes things slightly. Under the law, when a child is bitten by a dog, they have one year after reaching “majority status” to file a claim. This is generally understood to be turning 18 years of age.
Trusted Oklahoma City Lawyers for Child Dog Bite Cases
When a dog bites your child, it’s a highly traumatic experience with lasting mental and emotional impact, even if the injuries are minor. At Ylla Gosney, Attorneys at Law, we recognize how important your child’s health and well-being are and we share that dedication. Contact us today to set up a free, no-obligation consultation to learn more about your child’s legal options.