What To Know About Pursuing A Dog Bite Case

Aggressive dog shows dangerous teeth. German sheperd attack head detail concept.

Being bitten by any animal is a terrifying incident that frequently leaves the sufferer unsure of their legal rights. Some dog bite injuries can cause large medical bills and perhaps scarring that lasts the victim's entire life.

Dog bites are not uncommon. According to the CDC, there are over 4 million dog bites in the US annually. Roughly 800,000 bites require medical intervention each year.

If you or a loved one was severely injured after a dog bite in Texas, you should get legal assistance as soon as possible. You may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, disfigurement, physical handicap, and emotional agony.

McKinney Vos can assist you in obtaining the money you require to recover from your attack. Our Texas dog bite lawyers will analyze your situation and assist you in understanding all your legal choices.

This blog post will go over the following:

  1. The deadline for filing dog bite claims in Texas courts (statute of limitations);
  2. Texas's "one-bite" rule; and
  3. Defenses that dog owners may be able to use in a personal injury claim based on a dog bite.

Texas Time Limits for Dog Bite Lawsuits

A law known as the "statute of limitations" in every state establishes a timeframe for launching a civil case.

In the context of a dog bite case, Texas law states that dog bite cases have to be filed in court within two years from the day of the bite or other accident in which someone else's dog hurt you.

If you do not file your Texas dog bite claim within two years, you will most likely lose your ability to hold the owner accountable for your losses.

Texas Dog Bite Law

Unlike other jurisdictions, Texas doesn’t have a civil statute defining a dog owner's civil culpability for injuries when their dog bites or harms someone. However, the Texas Supreme Court declared in 1974 that Texas observes the "one bite rule" regarding personal injury responsibility resulting from canine bites.

The "one bite rule" refers to the belief that a canine’s first bite is "free" in terms of the owner's duty to the person who was bitten; following this first bite, the owner is aware of their dog's proclivity to bite.

In other words, a person whose animal has previously bitten someone will potentially be held liable for failing to stop a subsequent bite. As a result, Texas's civil responsibility provisions for dog owners might be argued to be founded on negligence.

Proving Liability When Bitten By a Dog

To obtain damages from a pet owner following an incident in which their dog harms you, you must normally demonstrate that:

  1. The owner was aware that the animal had previously behaved aggressively or bitten someone; and
  2. The owner carelessly failed to take proper care to handle the dog or avoid the attack, and you were harmed as a result.

Remember that dog owner responsibility laws also apply to non-bite damages.

For instance, if a big dog pushes you over and you injure your arm, you could sue the owner of the dog.

Potential Liability Defenses for Dog Bite Lawsuits in Texas

To defend against a dog bite claim, a Texas dog owner may, among other things, claim that the plaintiff was trespassing when the attack happened or that the dog owner had no notice or knowledge of the dog's dangerousness.

The first defense is that the plaintiff failed to demonstrate that the owner was aware of the dog’s propensity to attack or that the owner was negligent in preventing the plaintiff’s injuries.

For the second offense, suppose the injured claimant did not have the owner's permission to be on their land at the time of the attack or other harm.

In that case, the dog’s owner may be able to assert that the plaintiff bears some degree of responsibility for what took place.

What to Do if a Dog Bites You in Texas

When bitten by a dog, you will need to call the police or authorities to report it. Any victim who has been bitten must seek medical assistance. Failure to address bite wounds may result in infections or other complications.

Furthermore, refusal to seek medical attention frequently leads to an insurer disputing the seriousness of a claimant's injuries. In other circumstances, insurers will contend that pauses in treatment demonstrate that the wounds were minor.

Complete All Treatments

It is critical that you follow all advice from your physician. Some dog bite cases require prompt wound care, antibiotic therapy, and a rabies risk assessment.

Get in Touch with a Texas Dog Bite Attorney

Some may think that they don’t need a lawyer to manage their dog bite lawsuits. However, victims must recognize that pursuing a dog bite lawsuit without legal representation can make recovering damages much more challenging and reduce the chance of success.

Likewise, insurers representing dog owners are aware that unrepresented victims are more likely to settle their claims for less cash because such people are sometimes unaware of the true value of their cases. Because of this lack of understanding, insurers can aggressively pursue settlements that are frequently far below what plaintiffs are qualified for.

If a dog in Texas has bitten you, contact McKinney Vos for an assessment of your situation. Our attorneys can evaluate your circumstances, advise you on your legal choices, and help you seek compensation for your damages, including medical expenses, lost earnings, and pain and suffering.

Categories: Personal Injury