Approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur each year according to the CDC. Sadly, many of the victims of dog bites are children. Medical bills are just the tip of the iceberg compared to the emotional and physical scars that our clients experience as the result of irresponsible dog owners. A person attacked by a dog may have a claim against the dog owner, a landlord, property owner, homeowners association, or other entity. Often, dog attack victims are unsure how to proceed after a dog bite.
You should consult with an attorney who has experience handling dog bite cases. An inexperienced attorney may leave money on the table because:
The attorneys at Jacobs O’Hara McMullen, P.C. have represented many clients who were injured by dogs. Some of these cases came from clients who were poorly represented by previous attorneys that did not understand that there were other responsible parties besides the dog owner.
Children often have future medical needs as a result of dog attacks. We help parents recover compensation for their child that may be used for future medical care as an adult. We also help parents find medical care for their child if they are having difficulty locating a medical provider.
Texas follows the common law principle that a victim of a dog bite may recover compensation from the owner or keeper of a dog if: (1) the dog previously bite a person or showed aggression towards a person; and (2) the owner of keeper of the dog was aware of the dog’s conduct prior to biting the victim. This doctrine is grounds for recovery if both elements are met.
A victim may also pursue a claim against an owner or handler of a dog if the person was negligent, failed to use ordinary care. An example of negligent behavior would be allowing a newly adopted dog to play with young children unsupervised. Under a negligence theory, it is not necessary to prove that the dog bit someone else in the past or exhibited aggressive behavior.
Texas Health and Safety Code has government procedures for declaring a dog a “dangerous dog.” A “dangerous dog” is a dog that makes an unprovoked attack on a person that causes bodily injury and occurs in a place other than an enclosure in which the dog was being kept. If a dog is declared a “dangerous dog,” the owner must carry $100,000 of liability insurance, and it is easy for a victim to prove liability if the dog was already declared dangerous before the attack.
Counties and cities across Texas have their own laws regarding restraining and leashing pets. If a dog is unrestrained and bites someone in a jurisdiction that requires a dog to be leashed, the victim may sue the dog owner or person in charge of the dog under the theory of negligence per se. The dog owner violated a Texas statute that was designed to prevent harm to citizens from dogs roaming unrestrained.
Learn more about dog bites by clicking the links below: