Dog Bite Liability Laws in Texas
Dog bites may cause victims to suffer serious bodily injury or death; therefore, it is necessary to seek medical treatment immediately after any dog bite to protect your health. After you are in stable condition and undergoing treatment
If you want to learn more about dog bite liability laws in Texas, continue reading for an overview. Although Texans love their animals, everyone should be mindful of the potential liability of owning a dog. Dog bite victims should exercise their rights under the law to seek justice and compensation for their injuries with help from a texas dog bite attorney.
Dog Bite Liability Laws in Texas
If you have been the victim of a dog bite in Texas, understanding the laws surrounding dog bite liability in the state is important. Unlike many other states, Texas does not have a specific statute that imposes civil liability on dog owners for injuries due to their pets.
However, there are still legal avenues available for dog bite victims to pursue compensation for their injuries. This is because the courts have ruled on certain aspects of dog owner liability.
First, dog bite cases in Texas fall under the “one-bite rule.” This means that a dog owner may be liable for injuries from their dog if the owner knew or should have known that the dog had a tendency to bite or act aggressively. This rule places a legal duty on dog owners to exercise ordinary care to prevent their dogs from injuring others.
While Texas does not have a strict liability law for dog bites like most states, dog owners can still be liable if their negligence contributes to the attack. This means that if a dog owner fails to secure their dog properly, such as by leaving a gate open or failing to maintain proper control of the dog on a leash, they may be negligent and responsible for the injuries their dog causes.
In addition to the one-bite rule and negligence standards, Texas also has Lillian’s Law, which imposes additional penalties for dog owners whose dogs cause serious bodily injury or death. Under Lillian’s Law, a dog owner can face felony charges and significant fines if their dog attacks and causes serious harm to another person. This law serves as a deterrent and holds dog owners accountable for the actions of their pets.
If you have been the victim of a dog bite in Texas, first seek medical attention immediately and document your injuries. Even minor injuries can worsen, and you might need a tetanus shot or other measures to prevent infections. Also, report the incident to local authorities and gather information about the dog and its owner, if possible.
Contacting a Texas injury attorney as soon as possible will inform you of your legal rights and ensure you have the best chance of receiving the compensation you deserve.
Remember, the laws surrounding dog bite liability in Texas can be complex, so having a knowledgeable and experienced attorney by your side is the best choice. They can guide you through the legal process, handle negotiations with insurance companies, and fight for your rights to obtain the compensation you deserve for your injuries, medical expenses, pain, and suffering.
Texas and Dog Leash Regulations
Safety regulations are necessary to encourage responsible pet ownership and reduce dog bite injuries. In Texas, owners must restrain their pets, and leash laws in Texas are particular to individual municipalities. If you suffered injuries from a dog bite, consult an experienced attorney who will know which leash laws apply to your case. Some counties and cities have stricter leash laws than other counties and towns. Therefore, you must determine if the dog owner violated leash laws immediately before you suffered a dog bite injury.
Reporting a Dog Bite Attack
You must first seek medical attention for any dog bite injury you suffer. Then, you should report the dog bite attack to local animal control officials. However, dog bite victims sometimes do not report attacks because they are friends with the dog’s owner or they are afraid something negative will happen to the dog.
Animal control keeps track of dog bites to help protect other potential victims from the same animal. A dog owner may need to implement extra safety measures to prevent further attacks while taking their dog in public following an aggressive act.
Filing a report with animal control means creating a paper trail regarding the owner’s notice about the animal’s dangerous propensities. This notice can be helpful if you need to file a civil lawsuit against the dog’s owner. Filing a report with the animal control unit will allow you to request records about the owner of the dog and the dog’s vaccine history. During a civil lawsuit, you may need to present this evidence to an insurance company or another party.
Chapter 829.041 of the Texas Health and Safety Code requires certain individuals with knowledge of the bite or scratch to report each injury, including doctors. This law applies if there is any reasonably foreseeable chance of rabies transmission. Such individuals may report the attack in the county where the bite occurred, where the animal resides, or where the victim resides.
Local authorities may also investigate the dog bite attack and require the resident to obtain additional liability insurance or take physical precautions to ensure the public will be safe around the dog. These measures will protect both life and property in the community.
Common Reasons Dog Bite Attacks Occur in Texas
Texas is a large state, and it is home to many dogs, including as part of households, farms, or strays. The following are some of the most common reasons dog bites occur in Texas:
- The owner did not keep the dog on a leash or used an inadequate leash to control the dog.
- The owner did not secure the dog before answering the door for a delivery driver or another stranger.
- The owner did not secure loose boards, latches, or gates, allowing a dog to escape.
- The owner did not properly restrain the dog while a toddler or infant was in the home or yard.
- The owner allowed the dog to roam inside the house while a stranger was present, and the dog became scared or threatened.
- The owner permitted a stranger to be near a dog that had recently undergone surgery or given birth.
Although humans have domesticated dogs, these animals can still react violently without provocation. Sometimes, dogs become aggressive because they are left alone for too long or because they become jealous of one of their owners. Also, dogs can undergo improper socialization, leading to aggressive behavior, including dog bites. A dog may not like a person because of an unknown reason, and the person may suffer serious bodily injury or death if they cannot escape an attack.
If a dog bit you unprovoked because the owner was negligent or knew the dog had a propensity to bite, always consult a Texas dog bite lawyer about a possible case.
Injuries Due to Dog Bites
Dogs can cause a wide range of physical injuries, including the following:
- Fractured bones
- Crush injuries
- Avulsion and tissue loss
It is necessary to consult with a doctor who can determine how best to treat your injuries. Even if a wound looks minor, infections can develop if you do not have a professional cleaning and dressing of the wound. Infections and other complications can often be more serious and costly than the initial bite wound itself.
Getting medical attention not only ensures the best possible prognosis for your injuries but also creates a record of the injuries the dog caused. This helps your dog bite attorney prove your injuries in an insurance claim.
Dog Bites and Psychological Trauma
Dog bite attacks can also cause psychological injuries such as the following:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Anti-social behavior
- Permanent fear of dogs
These injuries may be non-economic damages in a civil lawsuit and must be accounted for even though they are not physical wounds.
The Types of Damages an Accident Victim May Claim In a Dog Bite Injury Case
Dog bite injuries can create both physical and psychological scars, and victims may claim economic damages and non-economic damages as part of their personal injury cases. Also, punitive damages may be available if the injured victim can prove the dog owner acted maliciously or wantonly. Sometimes, the facts associated with dog bite cases are highly convoluted. Therefore, knowing what you can seek as damages in a dog bite case is beneficial.
The following are some of the most important types of damages you can pursue in a dog bite injury case:
- Past, present, and future medical expenses
- Property damage
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- Lost earnings
These are only some damages individuals may claim in dog bite injury cases; thus, consulting with an experienced dog bite attorney who can explain your legal rights is essential.
The Statute of Limitations for Dog Bite Injury Claims in Texas
The statute of limitations for dog bite claims in Texas for adults is two years from the date of the injury. Suppose a minor suffers a dog bite injury. In that case, they have until their 20th birthday to assert a legal claim, and parents or guardians can collect compensation for medical bills until the victim’s 18th birthday. Regaining lost evidence in a dog bite injury case can be difficult; therefore, it is best to bring your legal claims early and preserve any evidence related to your case.
Contact a Dog Bite Lawyer in Texas Today
A dog bite lawyer has experience in this area of law, and these cases are often complex and challenging to prove. Sometimes, there is no surveillance footage or cell phone camera footage of a dog bite attack as it occurs. It is often necessary to hire expert witnesses or to subpoena non-parties who may have information about the events that caused the dog bite attack.
A dog bite lawyer can also provide you with legal advice and tell you what to expect from pursuing different options. Your personal injury attorney in Texas can handle the entire process, including assessing liability, preparing an insurance claim, presenting evidence, and negotiating for fair compensation.
Stay focused on your medical care and physical recovery, while your dog bite lawyer handles your claim. All you have to do is seek a free consultation with a Texas law firm near you.