Austin Dog Bite Lawyer
Austin is one of the most dog-friendly cities in the country. However, dogs can be unpredictable at times. If a dog feels threatened, there’s a good chance that they’ll bite or attack. There are hundreds of reported dog bites in Austin every year. A dog bite can cause severe injuries. In rare cases, dog bites and attacks can even be fatal.
Have you suffered an injury because of a dog bite in Austin? You may be entitled to compensation from the dog’s owner. The personal injury lawyers at Lorenz & Lorenz, LLP can help. Contact our Austin law firm today to schedule a free consultation. When you call, we’ll review your case and explain your legal options.
Dog Bite Statistics
Dogs may be man’s best friend, but there’s always a risk involved when dealing with animals.
How Common Are Dog Bites in Austin?
Every year, there are more than 4.7 million reported dog bites in the United States. Many of those attacks happen right here in Austin and Travis County.
In recent years, dog bite rates in the area have been on the rise. In 2012, there were 1,560 dog bites in the county. By 2015, there were 1,696 bites reported, an increase of nearly 9 percent.
Where Do Dog Bites Occur?
Dog bites can happen on private property, in public parks, or on the sidewalk. However, dog bites don’t happen in public too often. In fact, the vast majority of dog bites happen at the dog’s own home. A study of fatal Texas dog bites found that 80 percent of those attacks were at the dog owner’s property.
Who Are Victims of Dog Bites?
Children tend to be victims of dog bites more than adults. In one study, 68 percent of the bite victims were children under the age of 11. More than half of those kids were under the age of three.
Dogs tend to get defensive when they feel provoked or threatened. Kids, especially very young kids, don’t always understand how to interact with animals safely. They also may not fully understand that their actions will elicit a response from a dog. As a result, a child may take a dog’s food, pull its tail, or taunt the animal. Some dogs may be prone to snap at the child in defense. This may help to explain why children tend to be involved in dog attacks more than adults.
Does Texas Have a One Bite Rule?
Some states have laws on the books that say a dog owner can be liable for any injuries caused by a dog bite, regardless of that dog’s history of aggression. Others, including Texas, say that an owner isn’t automatically responsible for a dog’s violent behavior the first time around. Instead, under the one-bite rule, an owner is liable only if they knew that the dog had dangerous or vicious propensities.
In other words, the owner can avoid liability for the dog’s first bite. After that, the owner knows that the dog has a tendency to bite and has an obligation to try to prevent that from happening again. If they’re not successful and the dog does bite another person, the owner can be on the hook for resulting injuries and damages.
Negligence vs. Strict Liability in Austin Dog Bite Cases
If you’ve been injured because of a dog bite in Austin, you may be entitled to compensation. There are two ways to frame your dog bite lawsuit. You can base your case on either negligence or strict liability.
A dog owner might be liable for dog bite injuries if their own negligence contributed to the attack. Negligence occurs when:
- A person has and breaches a duty of care to others, and
- That breach causes an injury.
Owners have a responsibility to limit the potential harm their dog could cause others. If an owner fails to control their dog, keep them in a fenced yard, or secure them on a leash, they may be considered negligent. When that negligence is a substantial factor in an injury or attack, the owner can be at fault and responsible for damages.
Owners can also be strictly liable for injuries caused by their dog. Strict liability means that liability exists even when dog owners take precautions to control their dogs and keep others safe. Victims don’t have to prove that the owner was negligent. Instead, the victim just has to show:
- They were injured because of a dog bite or attack, and
- The dog’s owner knew – or should have known – about the dog’s history or propensity to be vicious.
If a dog has been violent or attacked someone in the past, the owner can be strictly liable for all future attacks.
It’s important to note that your ability to recover compensation may be limited if you provoked the dog or contributed to your injury in some way. These exceptions may not apply if the dog bite victim is a young child.
Damages Available in Dog Bite Cases
Dog bites can do a lot of damage. Many injuries require extensive and costly medical care. Some injuries are so severe that victims are forced to miss a significant chunk of time at work. Others cause disabilities or emotional suffering that prevent victims from working in the same capacity ever again. Fortunately, dog owners can be held personally responsible for these (and other) costs.
When you file a dog bite lawsuit, you may be entitled to compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages and income
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Emotional distress
- Chronic pain
- Suffering, and more.
The Austin dog bite lawyers at Lorenz & Lorenz will aggressively pursue compensation on your behalf. We’ll work hard to make sure that you are able to recover every dollar you deserve.
Common Dog Bite Injuries
Dog bites can be both physically and emotionally devastating. In 2016, there were nearly 1,700 reported dog bites in Travis County. Of these,
- 75 percent caused minor injuries
- 15 percent caused moderate injuries, and
- 3 percent cause severe injuries.
Some law firms will only agree to handle cases involving severe injuries. At Lorenz & Lorenz, no case is too big or too small. We’re here to help you recover compensation for all of your dog bite injuries, including, but not limited to:
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue damage
- Amputation, and
- Wrongful death.
Our goal is to hold negligent dog owners responsible for your injuries. Call our law offices today to learn more about how we can help.
Statute of Limitations for Austin Dog Bite Lawsuits
You’ll only have a limited period of time in which you can file a dog bite lawsuit. Texas state law imposes a strict statute of limitations on all personal injury cases. Generally speaking, you will have two years from the date of the dog attack to file your claim. You will lose the right to obtain compensation from the dog’s owner if you wait too long.
You can protect this right by contacting Lorenz & Lorenz for help immediately after your dog attack.
Call Our Austin Dog Bite Lawyers for Help Today
A dog bite can be devastating. Injuries can cause significant pain and suffering. The last thing you need to do is handle a complex dog bite injury claim on your own. Insurance companies will fight you every step of the way and do whatever they can to prevent you from getting the money you deserve.
Hiring an attorney can give you the time you need to get better. Contact our experienced Austin dog bite lawyer to schedule a free, no-obligation case assessment. You have a limited amount of time to act, so call for help today.