Compensation For Victims Of Dog Bites And Animal Attacks
Some people think that certain breeds of dogs are automatically considered vicious.
That is not our experience at The Zimmerman Law Firm, located in Waco.
We know many Pit Bulls, Rottweilers and Doberman Pinschers that are wonderful, well-behaved pets. But when these dogs do attack, there can be serious consequences.
Our experience is that almost any dog, even a lap dog, even a dog with no history of biting, can do serious injury to a person, but especially children, older, or disabled people.
Studies have shown about half of dog bite victims are children between 5 and 9 who are typically bitten in the face.
The dog bite injuries they suffer can require multiple reconstructive surgeries to minimize scarring and lifelong disfiguration.
What Are Texas Dog Bite Laws?
While most states have a specific law for dog owner liability in the event of a dog attack, Texas does not.
However, there are multiple avenues for an injured victim to pursue compensation from a dog owner in the event of a dog attack.
One Bite Rule
Texas law adheres to the “one bite rule” when it comes to dog bites. The “one bite rule” means that an injured victim may hold a dog owner liable for injuries resulting from a dog bite if the following elements exist:
- The dog previously bit a person or was aggressive toward others and
- The dog owner knew of the dog’s prior behavior.
In other words, a dog owner is probably free of liability if their dog bites someone for the first time.
Therefore, in these lawsuits, you will most certainly have to prove that the dog owner knew their dog was or was aggressive.
But after a dog has acted aggressively toward others, the owner is said to be “on notice” of the dog’s violent tendencies and will more likely be held liable for their dog’s subsequent aggressive acts.
Liability in these cases also extends to encounters other than dog bites.
For example, consider a dog that knocks a person down on the sidewalk and causes severe injuries due to their fall.
The injured victim must show that the dog owner knew that their dog jumped on people or could cause harm to others.
Negligence Per Se
In certain situations, an injured victim may pursue compensation from a dog owner under the theory of “negligence per se.”
Your attorney may advise pursuing a lawsuit under negligence per se when a dog owner violates a statute or ordinance, and that violation caused your injury.
For example, if a dog bit you when it was required to be leashed at the time, your Waco dog bite lawyer may argue the dog owner is liable regardless of whether the dog owner knew the dog was aggressive.
Are There Defenses to Dog Bite Liability?
Limited defenses may be available to a dog owner in the event of a dog bite lawsuit, including the following:
- Asserting a lack of knowledge of the dog’s aggressive behavior or biting history,
- Presenting evidence that at the time of the dog attack, the injured victim was trespassing, or
- Arguing that the victim provoked the attack and is (at least) partially responsible for it.
Anticipating any possible defenses strengthens your case and your compensation claim.
On review of your case, experienced dog bite attorneys in Waco understand the ways a dog owner may attempt to escape responsibility for your injuries.
What to Do If a Dog Bites You
A dog attack can be an incredibly traumatic experience.
However, understanding what to do in the immediate aftermath of an attack may help preserve your rights in the event of a potential lawsuit:
- Identify the dog’s owner
- Collect the owner’s contact information,
- Contact animal control to report the attack,
- Seek medical treatment immediately and save all paperwork,
- Gather evidence of the attack (including photographs of the dog, your injuries, and the scene of the attack),
- Contact an experienced attorney.
Your Waco dog bite attorney uses the information gathered from these steps to fight for compensation on your behalf. To get started, please contact us today.
Who Is Responsible For Medical Bills?
Animal attacks can happen anywhere — in the dog’s own yard, in the victim’s yard, or in a public park.
Dog lovers, and neighbors of the dog owner, are especially conflicted by these injuries.
That is all the more reason to give the case to an experienced lawyer who can obtain recovery for your injuries.
We can deal with insurance companies to cover your injuries and do our best to make it easy on you and the dog owner. These are civil cases, so there are no accusations of criminal wrongdoing.
Other Animals That Have Been Known To Injure People In Texas
The vast majority of animal-caused injury lawsuits in our state involve dogs. Nevertheless, in a state like Texas there are sometimes other culprits.
We are aware of injury lawsuits filed against owners of:
Ostriches and Rheas
If you or a family member has been attacked by a dog or any of these other creatures, talk to an experienced animal attack attorney.