Dog-related injuries may come as a surprise to some people but it happens more than you think. Individuals across the world and Texans alike are often bitten unexpectedly and suffer injury by another person’s pet. Results showed that approximately 34 dog bite fatalities occurred in Texas between January 2005 and February 2013, leading to more fatal dog attacks in Texas compared to any other state.
Whether the animal is a family pet or belongs to a stranger; the injuries, scarring, and experience from a dog bite can leave adults and children terrified for years.
Many people choose not to file a lawsuit after being bitten or attacked by a dog because the dog who injured them belongs to a neighbor, friend, or family member. Instead of potentially hurting their loved ones feelings or facing rejection from those they care about, victims usually contend with their injury on their own. This results in paying for medical treatment out of pocket while neglecting their emotional wounds acquired from this shocking incident.
It is important for personal injury victims to realize that when they are filing a claim for compensation, they are not directly suing their neighbor, friend, or family member. Instead, they are suing the dog owner’s insurance company if the applicable insurance policy covers the dog. In turn, the insurance company pays for the compensation, not the pet owner.
The compassionate dog bite attorneys at McBell Law have years of experience assisting personal injury victims recover compensation from negligent pet owners and difficult insurance companies.
If you are a dog owner in Texas or an injury victim who is considering filing a dog bite claim, it is important to understand the state’s rule when it comes to pet owners’ liability for harm caused by their animal.
Contrary to many states, Texas does not have a civil statute in place that specifically conveys dog owner’s civil liability for damages caused by their animal’s behavior such as dog bites and other injuries sustained.
However in 1974 in the case ‘Marshall v. Ranne’, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that the state follows the “one bite rule” for purposes of personal injury cases based on dog bites.
You may not be familiar with the term “one bite rule” since dog bite laws vary state to state. In Texas, this term encompasses the idea that a dog’s first bite is free. In reference to the owner’s liability, whoever is bitten after this ‘first’ bite, the dog owner is put on notice of his or her dog’s tendency to bite. Dog owners who have a past history of biting are more likely to be deemed negligent for failing to prevent future bites. Needless to say, a pet owner’s liability could be based on negligence.
Negligence is the lack of ordinary care and the absence of the kind of care that a prudent person would exercise. It is failure to show proper care and reasonable precaution that results in damage or injury to another person. If a person’s conduct in a given situation or circumstance does not measure to the standard of a normal careful person, then the person is deemed negligent. An example of negligence is allowing your dog to walk through the park without a lease knowing that your dog is hostile towards large groups of unknown people.
In a typical Texas dog bite claim, the injured person must show:
We highly recommend seeking medical attention following a dog attack. Medical records will be helpful to establish the dog owner’s negligence.
Injuries resulting from dog bites and volatile attacks range from minor to severe:
The damages that you can recover by filing a personal injury lawsuit from your dog bite case are intended to compensate you for the injuries you suffered. Compensation can cover economic and non-economic losses accrued because of the injury. Victims can have extensive medical bills and invoices can increase if the person has become infected. Dog bites can also affect employment and loss of wages.
Compensatory damages compensate the injured person for monetary loss, pain, and suffering. Monetary loss would be categorized under special or economic damages. Pain and suffering would be classified under general damages or non-economic damages.
On the contrary, punitive damages are implemented to punish the defendant and deter others from similar conduct, in addition to remedying the effects the victim has endured because of the incident. Punitive damages are enforced in cases where the pet owner knew of their dog’s hostile nature or directly commanded the dog to attack the victim.
Recognizing what to do after a dog bite can be critical to your health and any legal action you may take. If you have been bitten, be sure to:
Seek medical attention. Dogs carry a high level of bacteria in their saliva. The Capnocytophaga germs that are common in dogs and cats can be spread to people through a bite. Because of this, puncture wounds from bites can be prone to infection. You may need stitches or a tetanus shot if your injury is severe. We recommend taking photos of your injury to document the level of harm you have endured.
Exchange Information. You should exchange contact information with the dog’s owner or the individual responsible for the dog during the time of the incident. It is important to gather information such as name, address, telephone number, insurance company, and policy.
Contact McBell Law. The dog bite attorneys at McBell Law know that it may be difficult to understand your state laws regarding dog-related personal injury. We urge you to reach out to us with any questions or concerns. All personal injury cases are on a contingency basis. We only get paid if we succeed in recovering damages, and even then we get directly paid by the insurance company.
Call 877-300-5105 for a free consultation. Our expert dog bite attorneys in Texas understand what it takes to make sure you receive fair compensation from your injury.