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Dogs are often referred to as “man’s best friend” for good reason. A good dog can provide years of companionship, joy, and adventure. But even the friendliest dog is capable of injuring someone in a dog bite accident. These accidents result in serious injuries, some of which may require long-term medical care. Thankfully, dog bite victims may be entitled to compensation for their injuries.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a dog bite accident and are interested in filing a claim, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 to receive a free case evaluation with one of our experienced Arlington dog bite lawyers.
TEXAS DOG BITE LAWS
Unlike some states, Texas does not have a civil dog bite statute. Instead, Texas courts have assumed the responsibility of creating dog bite laws. Under judicial precedent, Texas adheres to the “one-bite rule.” Under the one-bite rule, to recover damages for a dog bite, the victim must establish either that
- 1. The dog’s owner knew the dog had previously bitten someone before or had acted aggressively in the past; or
- 2. The dog’s owner was negligent in controlling the dog or preventing the accident from occurring, and that negligence caused the person’s injuries.
Texas dog bite laws are complex and constantly evolve. If you have been injured in a dog bite accident, consider consulting with an experienced dog bite attorney before making any important decisions such as whether to file a lawsuit. A dog bite attorney may be able to help by assessing your situation and determining what options may be available to you.
COMMON CAUSES OF DOG BITE ATTACKS
Many dog bite accidents occur as a direct result of the animal being provoked. Examples of provocation include barking at a dog, hitting a dog, chasing a dog, and preventing a dog from having its food or toys. It is important to remember that even the friendliest dogs may bite if provoked.
A lot of dogs are territorial and instinctively protect their food, property, and owners. A dog bite accident may occur, for instance, when a stranger enters the dog’s home or approaches the dog’s owner.
Dogs enjoy playing with other dogs. Some dogs also enjoy playing with humans. Although playing with a dog can be fun, over-aggressive horseplay may result in a dog bite attack. This is true for all types of breeds and sizes of dog.
Rabid or Wild Dog
Wild, untrained, or rabid dogs may spontaneously attack another animal or person even if unprovoked. Dogs with a history of abuse or neglect are also at risk of attacking. Be careful around loose or stray dogs and avoid dogs that exhibit signs of anger or aggression.
WHAT TO DO AFTER BEING BITTEN BY A DOG
1. Seek Medical Attention
The first and most important step to take after being injured in a dog bite accident is to seek medical attention. Even seemingly small bites may puncture the skin and increase the risk of infection. The dog that attacked may also be carrying harmful diseases, like rabies. Thus, it is critical that you have a trained medical professional examine the bite as soon as possible following an accident.
2. File a Report and Document the Accident
When possible, file an accident report with local law enforcement or with a local animal control agency. Filing a report will create an official record of the accident which may help strengthen the value of any claim you may have. Filing a report may also have the benefit of putting the owner of the dog on notice that the animal is capable of causing injury. When filling out the report, be as detailed as possible, making sure to include important details such as when the accident occurred, how it occurred, and a description of your injuries.
Read More: Arlington Animal Services
3. Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
Finally, you should contact a dog bite attorney. A dog bite attorney may have a thorough understanding of Texas dog bite laws and thus may be able to provide advise you of your rights following an accident. If necessary, a lawyer may file a lawsuit on your behalf and help you navigate your claim from start to finish.
WHO CAN I SUE AFTER BEING INJURED IN A DOG BITE ATTACK?
The most common at-fault party following a dog bite attack in the dog’s owner. Dog owners owe a duty to other people to use reasonable and ordinary care in handling their pets. If a dog owner breaches this duty by failing to properly supervise their dog, the owner may be held liable if the dog bites and injures another person.
However, other parties besides the dog’s owner may also be liable for a dog bite attack. For example, doggy daycares or dog sitters may be at fault if they negligently supervised the animal. Homeowner’s associations or landlords may also be liable if, for instance, they allowed a dangerous dog to walk without a leash on.
Deciding whether you should pursue legal action, and who to file a claim against, ultimately requires a careful analysis of several important factors such as when the attack occurred, the severity of the injuries, and your relationship to the dog owner. Consulting with a personal injury attorney may provide an opportunity for you to receive helpful legal advice regarding your rights and legal options following a dog bite attack.
UNDERSTANDING DOG BITE INJURY COMPENSATION
The owner of a dog may be liable to a victim for damages incurred as a result of a dog bite attack. The types of damages that may be available to a dog bite victim fall into two general categories: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages refer to quantifiable costs incurred by the victim as a result of the dog bite accident. Types of economic damages in a dog bite lawsuit may include:
- Medical and pharmacy bills
- Future medical costs
- Lost income and wages
- Future lost income
- Loss of earning capacity
In contrast, non-economic damages refer to intangible losses that cannot be easily quantified. Rather, a dog bite victim’s non-economic damages are subjectively evaluated by the jury in a lawsuit. Types of non-economic damages in a dog bite lawsuit may include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
LEGAL TIME LIMITS FOR A DOG BITE INJURY CLAIM
A “statute of limitations” is the legal term for the time-limit with which a dog bite victim must file a lawsuit. If the dog bite victim forgets or otherwise neglects to file a lawsuit within the applicable statute of limitations, the dog bite victim may be barred from filing a claim entirely.
Texas has a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims, including claims arising from a dog bite attack. This means that a dog bite victim wishing to file a lawsuit in Texas must do so within two years of the date of the injury. Thus, for example, if a person was injured in a dog bite attack on November 1, 2020, that person must file a lawsuit by November 1, 2022.
In certain, rare situations, the two-year statute of limitations may be extended beyond the two-year period. This extension is referred to as “tolling” the statute of limitations. For example, if a toddler is injured in a dog bite attack, the child may have until the time he or she reaches the age of majority to file a claim.
The significance of a statute of limitations cannot be overemphasized. Because filing a timely lawsuit is critical to the outcome of your claim, it is important to consider discussing your case with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible following an accident. If necessary, an attorney may act on your behalf and ensure that a claim is timely and properly filed.
HOW A ZINDA ATTORNEY CAN HELP YOU
Exemplary Client Service
At Zinda Law Group, our Arlington dog bite attorneys take pride in providing clients with quality representation by giving every aspect of the case the attention to detail it deserves. From the initial consultation up to the end of the case, our attorneys are eager to help clients navigate the claim filing process.
Access to Resources
Access to resources and utilization of those resources can make or break a dog bite claim. Thankfully, Zinda Law Group has access to a wide range of resources to help strengthen a claim. Zinda Law Group has handled large cases, conducted thorough investigations, hired qualified experts, and used state-of-the-art accident reconstruction technology.
Our attorneys have years of experience handling dog bite cases from beginning to end, including litigating cases in front of judges and juries. Because we treat every case as if it is going to trial, we give your case the attention to detail it deserves.
No Win, No Fee Guarantee
Zinda Law Group also believes that an injury victim should never have to worry about being able to afford legal representation. That is why we offer 100% free consultations, and why you pay nothing unless we win your case. That's our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
Meetings with attorneys are by appointment only.