How to Recover Compensation For Your Dog Bite Injury
There are actually several ways to approach a Waco dog bite case. Owners can be strictly liable for a dog bite or held accountable on the grounds of negligence, violation of an animal control ordinance, or failure to stop a dog attack in progress. Our attorneys will thoroughly review and analyze the circumstances surrounding your attack to determine the strongest cause of action for your case.
The “One Bite” Rule
Even though there’s no “one bite” law on the books, Texas does have a “one bite” rule. A one-bite rule means that a dog owner can be strictly liable for a dog attack if they knew, or should have known, that their dog had a history of dangerous or vicious behavior.
You can recover compensation under the Texas one-bite law if:
- The dog that bit you had bitten someone else in the past or acted like it wanted to, AND
- The owner had knowledge about the dog’s history of aggression.
The one-bite law typically lets dog owners off the hook for their dog’s first bite or injury. As one Texas court explained, “the owner of a dog is not liable for injuries caused by it, unless it is vicious and knowledge or constructive notice of that fact is shown or brought home to the owner.”
However, once a dog has a history of aggression, the owner is strictly liable for all future attacks.
Proving Negligence in a Texas Dog Bite Case
Under the one-bite rule, owners aren’t usually responsible for harm caused by their dog’s very first show of aggression. However, this is only true if those owners are vigilant in caring for their dogs and protecting others.
A dog owner can be liable for a dog bite, regardless of that dog’s history, if they are negligent in handling that animal. In other words, dog owners have to take reasonable steps and measures to prevent their animals from attacking others or causing harm. This might include keeping a dog on a leash and not allowing a dog to wander around a neighborhood.
If you’ve been injured because of a dog bite, you can pursue compensation on the grounds of negligence. To win, you’ll have to prove that the dog’s owner:
- Possessed or owned the animal
- Owed a duty to exercise reasonable care to prevent the dog from hurting others
- Breached that duty of care, which caused your injury.
Simply put, the dog’s owner wasn’t careful and, as a result, you’ve been injured.
Violation of an Animal Safety Ordinance
The city of Waco has certain ordinances in place to protect the public from animal attacks. Owners have a legal obligation to comply with these laws. If an owner violates a Waco safety ordinance that’s intended to keep you safe, you can use this as grounds to recover compensation.
Failure to Stop a Dog Attack in Progress
A dog owner has a duty to intervene and stop an attack while it’s in progress. While this may not prevent injury, it can help to limit the extent and severity of those injuries. A Texas court held that a dog owner can be liable for dog bite injuries if he or she fails to step in, even if this is the dog’s first attack or a defendant can’t prove negligence.