If you or someone you know has been bitten by a dog in Texas, it's important to take several steps to ensure proper care and legal measures are taken:
• Seek Medical Attention: The first priority is to assess the severity of the bite and seek medical attention if necessary. Even seemingly minor bites can lead to infections, so it's crucial to have a medical professional evaluate the wound.
• Report the Incident: Report the dog bite to the local animal control authorities or police department. They will document the incident and may take further action, such as quarantining the dog if it's suspected of having rabies.
• Exchange Information: If possible, exchange contact information with the dog's owner or the person responsible for the dog at the time of the incident. This information may be useful for legal purposes or insurance claims.
• Document the Incident: Take photographs of the injury and the location where the incident occurred. Documenting the scene can be helpful if legal action becomes necessary.
• Follow Up with Medical Treatment: Follow any instructions given by medical professionals for treating the wound and preventing infection. This may include taking antibiotics or receiving a tetanus shot.
• Consider Legal Action: Depending on the circumstances of the dog bite, you may want to consider seeking legal advice.
• Know the Statute of Limitations: If you're considering legal action, be aware of the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim in Texas.
Usually, if a dog bites you, the first person you might consider suing is the dog's owner. They could be responsible for the bite, especially if they were careless and didn't control their dog properly. For instance, if they didn't follow the leash laws in your area, they might be at fault. Also, if the dog has bitten someone before, the owner might still be responsible for any new bites.
Additionally, if the dog bite happened on someone's property, like a homeowner's, you might also be able to sue them. Often, the homeowner's insurance can cover these kinds of claims. This insurance typically pays for injuries or damages caused by accidents on the homeowner's property, including dog bites.
• Puncture Wounds: Often caused by a dog's sharp teeth piercing the skin.
• Lacerations: Deep cuts or tears in the skin or flesh.
• Abrasions and Contusions: Surface scrapes or bruises often result from being knocked over or dragged by a dog.
• Nerve Damage: Resulting from deeper bites that can affect underlying nerves.
• Bone Fractures: Caused when the force of a bite breaks or fractures bones.
• Infections: Open wounds can become infected if not treated promptly or properly.
• Scarring and Disfigurement: Permanent marks or alterations to one's appearance from a bite.
• Emotional Trauma: The psychological impact of a dog attack, leading to fear or anxiety.
• Risk of Disease Transmission: Potential for diseases like rabies to be transmitted through a bite.
In Texas, the statue of limitation for filing a dog bite claim for personal injury claims, including dog bite cases, is two years from the date of the injury. This means that a victim has two years from the date of the dog bite to file a lawsuit against the responsible party. If the lawsuit is not filed within this time frame, the victim may lose the right to seek compensation through the courts.
In Texas, liability for dog bites is determined through a combination of the one bite rule and negligence-based principles. Here's a detailed breakdown of liability in Texas regarding dog bites:
One Bite Rule: Texas has traditionally followed the "one bite rule." This means a dog owner can be held liable for injuries caused by their dog if:
• The owner knew that the dog had bitten someone before or had a tendency to bite without being provoked; or
• The injury was caused by the negligence of the dog owner. Importantly, the name "one bite rule" is somewhat misleading. The victim does not necessarily need to prove that the dog has bitten someone before; they need to prove that the owner was aware of the dog's aggressive tendencies.
Negligence: If the dog bite occurred because the owner was careless or failed to control their dog, the owner could be held liable under general negligence principles.
Strict Liability: In some cases, strict liability can apply. This means that even if the owner did everything they could to prevent the bite, they could still be held liable if they knew the dog was dangerous.
Landlord Liability: Under certain circumstances, landlords can be held liable for dog bites that occur on their property.
Defenses: Dog owners may have defenses available to them, like provocation. If someone provoked a dog into attacking, the owner might not be liable.
You may still be able to pursue a claim against the property owner, especially if they were negligent in allowing a dangerous dog on their premises or failed to warn visitors about the dog.
If you're pursuing a dog bite claim, whether in Texas or any other jurisdiction, gathering comprehensive evidence and documentation is crucial. These pieces of evidence can help prove the dog owner's liability, the severity of your injuries, and any other relevant circumstances surrounding the incident. Here's a general list of what you may need to provide for a dog bite claim:
• Detailed records of medical treatments you received as a result of the bite.
• Photographs of your injuries both immediately after the bite and as they heal.
• Documentation of any future medical treatments or surgeries you may need due to the bite.
• Names, addresses, and contact information of any witnesses who saw the attack.
• Written statements from those witnesses about what they saw.
Dog Owner Information:
• The dog owner's name, address, and contact details.
• Any known history of the dog's aggressive behavior or previous biting incidents.
• Information about the dog, such as breed, size, age, and any identifying tags or microchip information.
Report of the Incident:
• A detailed written account of the attack from your perspective: where it happened, how it happened, and the events leading up to it.
• If available, a report from animal control or the police if they were called to the scene.
Proof of Loss:
Documentation of any financial losses due to the attack, such as missed work, medical bills, and any property that was damaged during the incident (like torn clothing or broken glasses).
• Any correspondence (letters, emails, texts) between you and the dog owner or their insurance company.
• Any local regulations or laws related to animal ownership and liability (some areas have breed-specific legislation or strict liability laws).
• Pictures of the location where the attack happened.
• Photos of any warning signs, fences, or lack thereof.
If the dog owner has homeowners or renters insurance, details of that policy could be relevant, as these often cover dog bite liabilities.
The statute of limitations for filing a dog bite claim varies by state, but it's typically within one to three years from the date of the incident. It's important to act promptly to preserve your legal rights.
The amount of compensation one can receive for a dog bite varies widely based on several factors. Here are some considerations that can influence the amount:
• Severity of the Injury: More severe injuries, such as those requiring surgery or resulting in permanent disfigurement or disability, will typically command higher compensation:
• Medical Expenses: This includes both immediate treatment costs and anticipated future medical bills, such as physical therapy, plastic surgery, or ongoing treatments:
• Lost Wages: If the victim misses work due to the injury or has a diminished earning capacity because of it, they can seek compensation for these losses:
• Pain and Suffering: This non-economic damage compensates victims for physical pain and emotional distress:
• Property Damage: If personal property (e.g., clothing, glasses) was damaged in the incident, its value can be included in the claim.
How Malone Legal Group
Can Help You With Your Dog Bite Case
Expert Evaluation: Malone Legal Group will assess the details of your case, advising you on its merits and potential outcomes. Contact us for a free consultation
Gather Evidence: We'll meticulously gather evidence, including medical records, witness testimonies, and photographs, to support your claim.
Determine Liability: Malone Legal Group will work to identify the responsible parties, whether it's the dog's owner, a property owner, or another entity.
Negotiate with Insurance Companies: Experienced lawyers from the firm will negotiate with the dog owner's insurance company to ensure you receive a fair settlement.
Litigation: If a fair settlement isn't reached, the firm is prepared to take your case to court to seek the compensation you deserve.
Stay Updated: Malone Legal Group will keep you informed about the progress of your case, ensuring you're involved in every decision.