Texas has some very complicated laws regarding liability during incidents involving an animal attack or bite. Attempting to navigate the muddy waters of the legal system can prove counterproductive for many claimants and could result in injured or impacted individuals not receiving compensation due to them for their damages.
The best approach for those who have been injured or sustained damages due to negligent or irresponsible pet owners is to seek out the advice and assistance of qualified dog bite attorneys who are experienced in animal bite laws for the state of Texas.
If you have been injured from an animal bite or attack, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863 5312 for your 100% free consultation. You will not pay us anything unless we are successful in winning your case.
WHAT DOES STRICT LIABILITY MEAN?
Strict liability exists when an individual is held liable for committing an action, or possessing certain types of animals, regardless of the individual’s intent or mental state.
Although Texas does not have specific statutes indicating strict liability for dog bites, the state does enforce the one bite rule.
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TEXAS’ ONE BITE RULE EXPLAINED
Texas has adopted a one bite rule for those harboring or keeping pets that have a history of biting or causing injury to others. In essence, this allows for compensatory damages to those harmed when the pet has exhibited the same behavior previously.
Unlike other states, this no-nonsense approach places liability and fault in the owner’s lap and helps claimants recover entitlements when the pet owner has an awareness of the pet’s behavior or inclinations.
When pets do not have this documented or noted trait, it can become more challenging to pursue a case and hold owners liable for the damages caused by their pets. Experienced dog bite attorneys at Zinda Law Group can provide insight to help claimants file cases in such instances.
PROVING LIABILITY IN A TEXAS DOG BITE CASE
Below are factors that may help you in proving liability in a Texas dog bite case:
- Proving Dog Owner Responsibility: In San Antonio, dog owners must confine their pet to their property at all times, unless they are on a leash. Furthermore, owners must vaccinate their dogs against rabies by the time they are sixteen weeks of age.
- Demonstrating Failure to Leash: Dog owners sometimes do not put a leash on their pet. An aggressive dog not on a leash may attack individuals without warning. Proving that the dog owner did not leash their pet may be beneficial in your case. This may be shown by pictures, witness statements, or by owner admittance.
- Failure to Provide Adequate Enclosure: Some owners let their dog live in some enclosure outside their home; however, they may have set up fences that are too low or too weak, allowing the animal to escape and attack individuals.
- Owning Dangerous Breeds: Some dog breeds are extremely aggressive and may be more likely to attack strangers. Although the state of Texas does not prohibit certain dog breeds, some cities within Texas do. For instance, the city of Childress will not adopt out pit bulls, chows, wolf hybrids, or any other dog that is considered dangerous or who has a history of biting another person.
If you have been bitten or attacked by a dog, contact Zinda Law Group today. Our team can help investigate your case and determine liability.
WHAT IS NEGLIGENT HANDLING?
When determining if a dog owner has liability for a negligence claim, you must prove that there was a duty owed. For instance, a pet owner has a duty to have his or her dog on a leash when out in public. You must then show that there was a breach of that duty. If the owner did not leash his dog in public, he or she has violated the duty to leash his or her pet.
Next, you must show that the breach caused an injury. For example, if the unleashed dog bites you, then you have shown that the breach caused an injury. Finally, you must show that there was injury, which in this case would be the bite.
If these factors are met, you may have a negligent handling claim against the dog owner.
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If the landlord knows, or should have known, that their tenant’s dog has vicious propensities, but failed to remove the dog or maintain a safe premises, then the landlord may be held liable for any injuries caused by the dog. The dog bite must have occurred on the landlord’s property, however.
COMPARATIVE NEGLIGENCE DEFENSE
After an animal bite occurs, the owner may present a comparative negligence defense, claiming that the victim was at-fault in some way. Within this defense, the defendant is essentially asking the court to assign a percentage of fault to both the victim and the defendant in hopes of lessening the defendant’s liability in whole or in part.
The defendant could argue, for example, that the victim was trespassing or provoking the animal in some manner at the time of the bite.
TEXAS DOG BITE LAWSUIT STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
In Texas, an animal bite case is treated like any other personal injury case, and thus, Texas’ statute of limitations gives you two years from the date of the bite to file a lawsuit. Understanding this statute is important, as failing to file your claim on time may bar you from receiving any kind of compensation for your physical or emotional damages.
IT IS ENOUGH TO POST A ‘BEWARE OF DOG’ SIGN?
Dog bite cases are often very complicated and involve a number of factors and questions. For instance, is posting a ‘beware of dog’ sign enough to divert liability away from the homeowner?
Although you may believe that posting these signs are beneficial, warning strangers not to interact with your pet, courts may take it as an admittance that you know your dog has a propensity for aggression or violence. This is not always the case, however, especially if the dog-bite victim was unlawfully trespassing on your property.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can a Texas dog owner be held responsible for a dog’s injuries?
A pet owner may be sued for negligence if the owner did not take reasonable measures to control his or her dog.
Like any other negligence case, a claimant must show that there was a duty owed, that there was a breach of that duty, that the breach caused the injury, and that there was an actual injury.
What happens when a dog bites someone in Texas?
After being bitten by an animal in Texas, seek medical treatment, especially if the bite draws blood, as dog mouths contain bacteria which may cause infection.
Next, you should report the attack to an animal control agency or police department so they can determine how to handle the dog.
Further, you should speak to a dog bite attorney at Zinda Law Group, as we can help investigate your case and determine whether the owner can be held liable.
Is Texas a one bite rule state?
Yes, Texas is a one bite rule state. One bite claims are different from negligence claims because one bite claims do not require the claimant to show that a pet owner was negligent.
The claimant only needs to show that there was injury and that the dog was known to have been vicious or dangerous.
Do you have to report a dog bite in Texas?
After being bitten by a dog it is important to have evidence to support your claim, so be sure to report the attack. Whether it is to an animal control agency or the police or sheriff department, you should report the attack so that it is properly documented.
Furthermore, Texas law states that you shall report a dog bite to the local authorities if you suspect the dog has rabies. Contact Zinda Law Group today if you have any other questions or concerns regarding reporting a dog bite in Texas.
Can someone sue you if your dog bites them in Texas?
If your dog bites someone else, you may be held liable for the claimant’s injuries. In this case, however, it is important to contact a dog bite injury attorney who can help determine whether the claimant was at-fault for the accident. For instance, if the claimant was trespassing on your property at the time of the dog bite, he or she may be found liable for the injuries sustained.
NEED HELP? CONTACT ZINDA LAW GROUP TODAY
If you have been bitten by an animal, call a Zinda Law Group personal injury attorney today at (800) 863 5312 to set up your free initial consultation. You do not have to worry about paying us anything unless we are able to win you compensation in your case. That is our “No Win, No Fee Guarantee.”