Dallas Dog Bite Injury Attorney
A dog bite incident is one of the most traumatic personal injury events that a person can go through. Dog bites not only cause extensive physical injury, scarring, and disfigurement, but also mental and emotional issues (such as post-traumatic stress disorder and a lifelong fear of dogs). Each state abides by its own dog bite laws in these cases. Learn how Texas handles dog bite incidents to fight against negligent owners.
Texas Dog Bite Law
From 2005 to 2015, dogs killed 360 Americans, most of whom were children or the elderly. Many debate whether nature or nurture causes canine aggression. In either case, however, an owner is responsible for taking the necessary measures to prevent a dog bite attack. The serious nature of dog bite attacks requires that they have their own regulations. In Texas, the law follows a “one bite rule” statute.
In essence, the one bite rule is a negligence law. If an owner fails to take due care to prevent his or her dog from injuring someone, the courts can hold the owner liable for damages. To obtain compensation for a dog bite injury in Texas, a plaintiff must prove that the owner knew or reasonably should have known about the dog’s propensity for violence. If the dog bit someone else in the past, for example, this would serve as proof of the dog’s tendencies.
The one bite rule does not only apply to prior biting incidents. If a dog has a history of jumping on people, for example, a stranger whom the dog knocks down can potentially sue for damages. Any sign that the dog may be prone to aggression, including growling or excessive barking at strangers, may serve as evidence that the owner had reason to know about the dog’s risks. Proving the neighbor had reason to foresee the dog bite collision is the first step in a dog bite case.
To recover damages under Texas dog bite law, the plaintiff must also show that the dog owner was negligent in preventing the bite from occurring. In other words, if the dog owner failed to restrain an aggressive dog and the dog bit a neighbor, the neighbor could potentially sue for damages. If the plaintiff can prove these two elements, the courts will most likely award compensation for injuries, including medical costs, pain and suffering, and emotional distress.
Other Facts About Dog Bite Incidents
In some cases, a plaintiff may want to sue a dog owner for damages caused when a dog attacks another dog. According to Texas’ Health and Safety Codes, this is possible if the plaintiff can show that the attacking dog has done this before, or has killed, attacked, or bothered domestic animals, fowl, or livestock. The plaintiff can gather this information with the help of lawyer, who might interview neighbors and other people who can testify to the dog’s aggressive behaviors. The plaintiff must also demonstrate that the dog owner failed to prevent the dog from attacking the plaintiff’s dog.
Texas also recognizes the right for bystanders to recover damages for witnessing an collision. These damages include mental anguish and emotional distress. To recover damages as a witness to a dog bite incident, the bystander must be related to victim closely, such as the victim’s child or parent, and the victim must have sustained a serious injury or death.
Let Our Firm Represent Your Dog Bite Case
Dog bite injuries can be severe, and they often leave long-lasting damages. If a dog in Dallas has bitten you, contact the Law Office of Stephen W. Shoultz. Our experienced attorneys have an in-depth understanding of state and county laws regarding dog bite incidents and will walk you through the steps of filing a personal injury claim against the dog’s owner.