Dog bites can be dangerous and severe and even with the best medical treatments can have a difficult recovery. Since they often involve puncture wounds, these bites can have serious infections, torn skin and muscle and ligament damage. Knowing the laws around dog attacks and what you can do about injuries suffered is imperative.
Dog Bite Facts
Every year according to the CDC, over four and a half million people suffer dog bites. Of these bites, twenty percent (nearly 800,000) require some level of medical attention. Half of the medical attention related to dog attacks is received by children. In general, children suffer the majority of dog bites and are more likely to be severely injured. On average, every year around 40 Americans die from injuries caused by dog attacks.
The One Bite Rule
In Texas, the law is referred to as the “one bite rule.” According to this law, the owner of the animal is liable for any injuries inflicted upon the victim if the dog had either attacked or attempted to attack another person in the past. This means that the victim has the legal right to collect damages when the dog has shown violent tendencies in the past. Not only do these tendencies include previous biting incidents, but also the attempt to bite or attack a person. The courts can come to this conclusion through evidence gathered from testimony of those who have observed the dog acting viciously, jumping or straining at the leash in an attempt to attack someone. While these laws make determining liability and collecting damages more difficult, a legal team experienced in dealing with dog bite cases like Doan Law Firm can be more than capable in successfully getting you the justice you deserve.
Exceptions to the One Bite Rule
Even with the “one bite rule,” there can be potential liability for the owner of a dog who bites another person. When you are injured because of the negligence of anyone who fails to exercise reasonable consideration for others’ safety, that person is potentially liable for damages. There are many county and municipal animal control laws in Texas requiring dogs who are not in a pen or a fenced yard to be on a leash. Dogs kept for security purposes on a property must be restrained and warning signs must be posted to make people aware of the animal’s presence.
Animal Control Laws and Liability
If a person has violated animal control laws and thereby allowed their community to be endangered by a vicious animal and that animal attacks and injures someone, they have also failed in their duty to protect the safety of others. This means that they can be held liable for this violation by the victim or their family. Under the Texas Health and Safety Code, serious bodily injury for animal attacks are considered “severe bite wounds or severe ripping and tearing of muscle that would cause a reasonably prudent person to seek treatment from a medical professional and would require hospitalization.”
Circumstances That Preclude Liability
Dogs that have caused death or serious injury will be seized and destroyed unless there are sufficiently established mitigating circumstances.
These circumstances can include:
Instances of trespassing by the victim onto the dog owner’s property.
Owner posted signs warning of potential danger of the dog.
The owner was under attack by the victim of the dog bite.
Even with these potential instances, it is worthwhile to investigate your options if you are the victim of a dog bite attack. A legal team with an understanding of the laws around dog bites and animal attacks can be an essential ally for your case.
Section 822.005 of the Texas Health and Safety Code considers a person in violation if they have failed to secure the dog and then the dog makes an unprovoked attack on any property besides the owner’s property, including home, vehicle or boat, leading to serious bodily injury or death. As many dog attacks take place away from the owner’s property, this is an important consideration in terms of determining liability and potential damages.
Know Your Rights
If you have been the victim of a vicious dog attack and been seriously injured, it is important to promptly seek legal counsel from a Texas attorney well-versed in the laws around your situation. Treatment costs are high and severe injuries may require many surgeries and years of healing. Because of their shorter height, children often suffer dangerous injuries to the head, neck and face that require specialized and expensive care. These injuries and treatments might cause you to struggle with your normal work, family or leisure activities or worse, have some permanent disability. In the worst cases, an adult or child could potentially die from the wounds caused in the attack. In such cases, a wrongful death suit should be filed against the owner to seek justice and compensation.
Doan Law Firm Can Help
The legal team at the Doan Law Firm serves the State of Texas in dog bite and other animal attack cases involving serious injury or death. If there is negligence on the part of the dog’s owner, you are entitled to receive compensation for the injuries caused to you or your loved one. Contact the firm to discuss you dog bite case and how to proceed with legal action to recover the full compensation for economic, physical and emotional damage.