According to Forbes, dogs are the most common household pets in America, with over 89 million households owning at least one dog. With such high numbers of these animals, dog attacks are inevitable.
Texas has one of the highest numbers of dog bite injuries recorded every year. The cost of medication for these animal attacks can be quite high, which is something dog owners in the state need to be aware of.
There are no specific Texas dog bite laws that places the liability for the victim's damages on the dog's owner. However, any victim of a dog attack can sue the Texas dog owner and receive compensation for their medical bills and other damages.
To ensure that victims get the compensation they deserve, they can hire an experienced dog bite lawyer in Houston TX to fight for their rights. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys is available for a free consultation at its Houston law firm.
When Can Victims Sue the Dog Owner?
If a victim suffers injuries caused by a dog attack, personal injury lawyers can help them sue the Texas dog owners for the damages the animal has caused. During the Texas dog bite case, the lawyer has to prove the following:
The dog's owner knew that their dog was dangerous or had that it had bitten someone before.
The owner of the dog failed to provide reasonable care and control over the animal which resulted in the victim being bitten.
To help give credibility to such dog bite claims, the victim can gather evidence to support their case, such as photos of the scene, witness statements, and medical reports detailing the extent of their dog bite injuries. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can also help with questions like What is the statute of limitations for dog bite in Texas?
What Is a Vicious or Dangerous Dog Under Texas Law?
Dogs with aggressive tendencies or a history of prior attacks are usually classified as either vicious or dangerous in the eyes of the law in Texas. It is the owner's responsibility to prevent the dog from biting innocent victims.
A dog will be classified as dangerous if:
It has been classified as dangerous by the courts or animal control
The dog has bitten someone in the past and the owner knows about the incident
On the other hand, Texas laws classify a dog as vicious if:
It has killed or severely injured another dog, cat, domestic pet, or livestock at least once.
The dog has scratched or bitten someone and a doctor submitted an affidavit stating that the victim's life was at risk.
There have been three separate occasions of biting or scratching.
Typical Dog Bite Injuries Victims Suffer
There are many factors that determine the extent of the injuries caused by dog attacks, such as the number of dogs involved in the attack, size of dogs, duration of the attack, age of the victims, and the bite force of the dog.
Being attacked by certain breeds that are known to exert very strong bite forces can be very dangerous or even fatal. The following are some of the common dog bite injuries that victims can suffer from:
Two Types of Dog Bite Claims in Texas
In the aftermath of a dog bite, liability can be placed on the dog owner, caretaker, dog walker, or the property management company/landlord of the premises where the attack occurred. There are generally two types of dog bite claims that the victim can make, and these are:
The dog owner is responsible for providing reasonable care to prevent their dog from biting anyone. This includes any of the following:
Intervening to prevent the dog attack
Ensuring the dog is properly trained
Keeping the dog in a secure enclosure
Restraining the dog
Failure to do any of this resulting in a dog attack can be deemed as negligence by the law in Texas, which entitles the victim to sue for damages.
Strict Liability Claims
In cases where the dog's owner knew about their animal's aggressive behavior or history of attacking people, but failed to do anything to prevent the dog bite, victims can file a strict liability claim. This often has more serious consequences to the dog's owner than a simple negligence lawsuit.
Common Defenses to a Dog Bite Claim
Even in cases where the victim has been seriously injured, the dog owner may deny any civil liability in the personal injury lawsuit, and launch a defense to be absolved of any wrong-doing. The following are the common arguments used by defense lawyers in dog bite cases:
The dog owner can argue that Texas's one-bite rule does not apply because the victim is unable to prove that the owner was knowledgeable about the dog's dangerous behavior or history of attacking people.
Thanks to modified comparative negligence laws in Texas, dog owners can argue that the victim was more than 50% negligent in causing the dog bite. This would effectively mean the victim is not entitled to any compensation.
The owners of the dog can accuse the victim of trespassing on private property. Under Texas law, trespassers are not entitled to sue for damages unless there are aggravating circumstances, such as the owner intentionally making the dog attack the victims.
Tips For Filing a Dog Bite Lawsuit
When trying to prove liability in personal injury lawsuits involving dog bites, the following tips may be helpful to the victims:
Always follow the doctor's recommendations
Do not agree to the first settlement offer
Hire an experienced personal injury lawyer
Do not talk to the insurance company
Call the police to report the dog attack
Seek medical treatment as soon as possible
Recoverable Damages After a Dog Attack
Dog bite victims can recover compensation for the following damages:
Pain and suffering
Loss of consortium
Cost of rehabilitation and physical therapy
Loss of enjoyment of life
A Good Lawyer Will Go to War in a Texas Dog Bite Lawsuit
"Can you sue for a dog bite in Texas?" This is the question many victims want answered. Well, with the right dog bite lawyer on the case, victims can be awarded massive damages for the injuries sustained after being attracted by the negligent owner's dog.
Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys will make sure that the at-fault party is held liable for the actions of their pet. Victims can call and request a free consultation.