Every day, 1,000 Americans nationwide require emergency treatment for injuries sustained as the result of dog bites. The Insurance Information Institute ("III") reports that in 2011, the average cost of such dog bites for the respective dog owners was approximately $29,396. This number is 12.3% higher than the average cost of a dog bite in 2010. According to the III, the increase is at least partially attributable to higher jury awards (which corresponds to the necessary medical treatment) given to plaintiffs.
If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, the dog's owner may be held liable to pay various resulting expenses, such as lost wages, pain and suffering, and disfigurement (scarring). Oklahoma law provides that: "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."
When considering what amount of damages to award to a plaintiff, a jury can consider a multitude of factors, including:
- Past and future physical pain and suffering
- Past and future mental pain and suffering
- Physical condition immediately before and after the accident
- The nature and extent of the injuries
- Whether the injuries are permanent
- The physical impairment
- The disfigurement
- The loss of earnings and time
- Impairment of earning capacity
- The reasonable expenses of necessary medical care, treatment, and services, past and future