Oklahoma Dog Bite Statute - Strict Liability on a Dog Owner | Dakota Low 1

Oklahoma Dog Bite Statutes 2024: Dog Bite Strict Liability

Table of Contents

Oklahoma Dog Bite Statute imposes Strict Liability on a Dog Owner whose Dog bites an unprovoking person.

Have you or someone you know been a victim of a dog bite in Oklahoma? Understanding your rights and the legal implications surrounding dog bites is crucial. Oklahoma imposes Dog Bite strict liability on dog owners when their furry companions cause harm to others, even without provocation.

Let’s delve into the specifics of the Oklahoma Dog Bite Statute and how it can impact those affected by these unfortunate incidents.

An Overview of Dog Bite Lawsuits in Oklahoma

In Oklahoma, the dog bite strict liability statute regarding dog bites holds the owner of a dog strictly liable for any injuries the dog causes. This means that the owner is legally responsible for the damages and injuries inflicted by their dog, regardless of whether they had prior knowledge or belief that the dog might act in an injurious manner.

Oklahoma takes dog bite incidents seriously. The strict liability statute in the state ensures that dog owners are held accountable for any injuries caused by their pets, no matter what. Whether the owner was aware of their dog’s aggressive tendencies or not, they bear responsibility for the harm inflicted. This approach aims to protect individuals from potential dog-related injuries and promote responsible pet ownership throughout Oklahoma.

The law eliminates the need to prove prior knowledge or intent on behalf of the owner – if a dog bites someone without provocation, the owner is liable. This means that victims can seek compensation for their injuries without facing unnecessary hurdles or doubts about accountability. By imposing strict liability on dog owners, Oklahoma prioritizes victim protection and emphasizes the importance of preventing dangerous situations involving pets.

Key Points About Oklahoma’s Strict Liability Statute on Dog Bites:

  1. Strict Liability: The owner is liable without the need for the injured party to prove negligence or prior knowledge of the dog’s dangerous behavior.
  2. Applicability: The statute applies to injuries caused by a dog bite or other harmful actions by the dog.
  3. Defenses: There are limited defenses under this statute. Common defenses might include provocation by the injured party or trespassing at the time of the incident.

Oklahoma’s strict liability statute on dog bites is crystal clear: the owner holds responsibility, no questions asked. This means that if a dog causes harm, the owner is on the hook, regardless of prior knowledge or negligence. The law extends beyond just bites to cover any harmful actions by the dog.

When it comes to defenses, options are limited under this statute. Provocation by the injured party or trespassing at the time of the incident might be common arguments raised in defense by the owner. However, these defenses have their limits in light of Oklahoma’s stringent approach towards dog-related injuries.

OSCN 2019 – Section 42.1

Oklahoma’s dog bite law, specifically covered under 4 O.S. Section 42.1 (OSCN 2019), establishes strict liability for dog owners. Here is a summary of the key aspects of this statute:

Oklahoma’s dog bite law, outlined in 4 O.S. Section 42.1 (OSCN 2019), sets a clear standard for accountability when it comes to dog-related injuries. This statute places the responsibility squarely on the shoulders of dog owners for any harm caused by their pets, regardless of prior knowledge or beliefs about the dog’s behavior.

Under this law, strict liability is imposed on owners, meaning they are held accountable without the need for proof of negligence or previous aggressive tendencies in their dogs. This approach aims to protect individuals from unpredictable pet behaviors and ensure that victims receive appropriate compensation for their dog bite injuries.

Whether an incident occurs on public property or within a private residence where the injured party has lawful access, this statute applies uniformly to hold owners liable for damages resulting from unprovoked attacks.

1. Dog Bite Strict Liability: Under Section 42.1

The owner of a dog is strictly liable for any injuries the dog inflicts on a person, regardless of the owner’s knowledge of the dog’s previous behavior or any belief about whether the dog might act aggressively.

Oklahoma’s dog bite strict liability statute on dog bites is crystal clear: if a dog injures someone, the owner is held accountable. This means that whether the owner knew about their dog’s aggressive tendencies or not, they are still responsible for any harm caused by their pet. It’s all about ensuring that individuals are protected from potential dog bite injuries.

This approach differs from other jurisdictions where prior knowledge of a dog’s dangerous behavior might be required to establish liability. In Oklahoma, it’s straightforward – if the injury occurs due to a dog bite or harmful action by the dog, the owner bears responsibility. This law aims to promote responsible pet ownership and safeguard the public from unforeseen incidents involving dogs.

Strict liability under Section 42.1 emphasizes accountability and reinforces the importance of owners taking necessary precautions with their pets at all times.

2. No Requirement for Prior Knowledge

The injured party does not need to prove that the owner had any prior knowledge of the dog’s propensity to bite or cause harm. This differs from the “one-bite rule” used in some other jurisdictions, where an owner may only be liable if they knew or should have known of the dog’s dangerous tendencies.

In Oklahoma, when it comes to dog bites, the law takes a straightforward approach. Unlike some jurisdictions that follow the “one-bite rule,” where owners may escape liability if they claim ignorance of their dog’s aggressive tendencies, Oklahoma holds owners strictly accountable regardless of prior knowledge.

This means that whether or not an owner knew about their dog’s potential to cause harm is irrelevant in determining liability. The focus shifts from proving what the owner knew to addressing the fact that harm was caused by their pet.

By eliminating the burden of proving prior knowledge, Oklahoma’s law places a strong emphasis on protecting individuals who have been injured by dogs. This approach underscores the importance of responsible pet ownership and upholding accountability for any resulting damages inflicted by dogs under an owner’s care.

3. Public and Private Property – Dog Bite Injuries

The law applies to dog bite injuries that occur both on public property and when the injured person is lawfully on private property, including the property of the dog’s owner.

When it comes to dog bite incidents in Oklahoma, the law makes no distinction between public and private property. Whether you’re walking down a city street or visiting a friend’s backyard, if a dog bite injures you without provocation, the owner is liable. This means that even on someone’s personal property, where you have every right to be present, the dog bite strict liability statute still applies.

It’s essential for dog owners to understand their responsibility regardless of where an incident occurs. Being aware of this legal framework can help prevent potential risks and promote safer interactions between dogs and people. Remember, whether it’s a park or someone’s home, if an unprovoked dog bite happens, the owner holds the responsibility for any resulting dog bite injuries under Oklahoma law.

4. Limited Defenses

Potential defenses available to the dog owner might include:

  • Provocation: If the injured person provoked the dog, this could potentially mitigate the owner’s liability.
  • Trespassing: If the injured person was unlawfully on the dog owner’s property, this could also serve as a defense.

When it comes to dog bite cases in Oklahoma, there are limited defenses available for the dog owner. One potential defense is provocation – if the injured person provoked the dog, it could lessen the owner’s liability. This highlights the importance of understanding how interactions with dogs can influence their behavior.

Another possible defense is trespassing. If the injured person was unlawfully on the property of the dog owner at the time of the incident, this could be used as a defense against liability. It underscores the significance of respecting private property boundaries to avoid such situations.

These defenses play a crucial role in determining liability and accountability in dog bite cases, emphasizing that circumstances surrounding an incident can impact legal outcomes significantly.

When a dog injures a person. The specific statute, 4 O.S. Section 42.1 (OSCN 2019), outlines the conditions under which the owner is held responsible. Here are the key points summarized:

  1. Strict Liability: Dog owners are held strictly liable for any injuries their dog causes by biting or otherwise harming a person. This means that the owner is responsible regardless of whether they knew or had any reason to believe the dog might act aggressively.
  2. Injury Occurs When the Person is Lawfully Present: The injured person must be in a place where they have a lawful right to be at the time of the incident. This includes public spaces as well as private property where the person is permitted to be.
  3. Without Provocation: The injury must occur without provocation. If the dog was provoked by the injured person, this can be a defense against liability for the dog owner.

The exact text of the statute is:

  • 4-42.1. Owner liable for damages “The owner of any dog shall be liable for damages to the full amount of any injuries 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.”

This statute ensures that dog owners are accountable for their pets’ actions, promoting responsible ownership and providing protection for individuals who are injured by dogs.

Oklahoma Dog owners are liable for damages when:

  1. Their dog bites or otherwise injures a person
  2. The injured person did not provoke the dog,
  3. The injured person was in a place he or she had a lawful right to be
  4. O.S. Section 42.1 (OSCN 2019) What are the steps to take to file a dog bite lawsuit in Oklahoma under the dog bite statute to obtain damages for a dog bite?

Filing a dog bite lawsuit in Oklahoma under the dog bite statute (4 O.S. Section 42.1) involves several steps. Here is a detailed guide:

Oklahoma Dog Bite Statute - Strict Liability on a Dog Owner | Dakota Low 2

Steps to File a Dog Bite Lawsuit in Oklahoma

1. Seek Medical Attention:

  • Immediate Care: Ensure that you receive prompt medical treatment for your injuries. Document all medical visits, treatments, and expenses.

2. Gather Evidence:

  • Photographs: Take pictures of your injuries, the location of the incident, and any visible damage caused by the dog.
  • Witness Statements: Collect contact information and statements from anyone who witnessed the attack.
  • Dog Owner Information: Obtain the name, address, and contact information of the dog owner.

3. Document the Incident:

  • Incident Report: File a report with local animal control or law enforcement. This creates an official record of the event.
  • Medical Records: Keep detailed records of all medical treatments and expenses related to the injury.

4. Consult an Attorney:

  • Legal Advice: Consult with an attorney who specializes in personal injury or dog bite cases. They can provide guidance on the viability of your case and the potential damages you may be entitled to.

5. File a Dog Bite Claim:

  • Demand Letter: Your attorney may send a demand letter to the dog owner or their insurance company outlining your injuries, damages, and the compensation you seek.
  • Negotiations: Often, the insurance company may attempt to settle the dog bite claim out of court. Your attorney can negotiate on your behalf.

6. File a Lawsuit:

  • Complaint: If a settlement cannot be reached, your attorney will file a formal complaint in the appropriate court. This document outlines the details of the incident, your injuries, and the damages you are seeking.
  • Serve the Defendant: The dog owner (defendant) must be formally notified of the lawsuit through a process server or other legal means.

7. Pre-Trial Process:

  • Discovery: Both sides will exchange information and evidence through discovery. This may include depositions, interrogatories, and requests for documents.
  • Motions: Either party may file pre-trial motions to resolve certain issues before trial.

8. Trial:

  • Present Case: If the case goes to trial, both sides will present their evidence and arguments before a judge or jury.
  • Judgment: The judge or jury will render a decision regarding liability and the amount of damages to be awarded.

9. Collect Damages:

  • Enforcement: If you win the case, your attorney will assist in collecting the awarded damages from the dog owner or their insurance company.

Considerations for a Successful Dog Bite Claim – Oklahoma Dog Bite Attorney

  • Timeliness: Be aware of the statute of limitations for personal injury claims – dog bite claims in Oklahoma. Generally, you have two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit.
  • Provocation and Lawful Presence: Ensure you can demonstrate that you did not provoke the dog and that you were lawfully present at the location where the bite occurred.
  • Documentation: Thorough documentation of the incident, injuries, and associated costs will strengthen your case.

By following these steps and working with a qualified Oklahoma Dog Bite Attorney, you can navigate the legal process and seek compensation for injuries sustained from a dog bite in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma City Personal Injury Lawyer | Dakota Low
Dakota Low – Oklahoma Personal Injury Attorney
Millions Recovered - Dakota Low

Why Hire Dakota Low?


You Don't Pay Unless We Win

We Get You The Medical Treatment You Need With Or Without Insurance


We Get You A Rental Car Immediately


With over 11 years of trial experience, we stand ready to go to the courthouse for you.

Get Started on Your Case Today

Contact Dakota Low – Oklahoma Personal Injury Attorney

As Seen On

When you hire Dakota Low, he devotes himself to seeing your case through to the end. Dakota Low handles personal injury matters exclusively in Oklahoma. He is the trusted advocate, and skilled litigator to turn to whether you have a commercial case, real estate case, or criminal defense, or you have been harmed in a traffic accident or other related injury caused by someone else’s careless actions. Contact us or Call now with the button below.

Free 24/7 Case Consultation
with Oklahoma Personal Injury Lawyer