Texas Dog Laws | Zinda Law Group PLLC
The facts are startling: while 5 million Americans are bitten by dogs annually, only 16,000 receive insurance compensation. After examining press accounts in the United States and Canada that involved pit bulls, rottweilers and their mixes, the editor of Animal People recently shared that 77% of animal attacks involve bodily harm, 68% result in fatalities and 76% result in maiming. According to a 2010 Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality study, the average cost of a dog bite-related hospital stay was $18,200- 50% higher than the average injury-related hospital stay.
The One Bite Rule
While these accidents are clearly serious and result in many adverse physical and financial repercussions- there is something that could stand in the way of you recovering damages, the One Bite Rule. This rule states that a victim can only receive compensation from an owner if:
- The dog previously bit a person or acted like it wanted to in the past
- The defendant was aware of the dog's previous conduct
- Did the owner violate a Texas animal control law
- Was the owner negligent- did the owner mistreat or harm the animal? Mistreated animals are more likely to harm people.
Seventy-six year old Lillian Stiles was killed by a pack of pit bull-rottweiler mixes while mowing her front yard. Before Lillian's Law, Texas Law did not, in most cases, hold dog owners responsible. Thanks to Lillian's Law, the owner of a loose dog can be prosecuted if the owner is found "criminally negligent." For example, did the owner keep the dog from escaping? If it can be shown that an owner was "criminally negligent," he/she could face serious penalties- two to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. These charges could either be a third-degree felony or a second-degree felony, if the victim died.
Lillian's Law did not get rid of the One Bite Law, however. In order for an owner to face criminal repercussions, a prosecutor must show beyond a reasonable doubt that he/she knew their dog could cause death or severe bodily injury and were negligent in supervising and taking care of their dogs.
Was negligence involved in your case?
After you get medical care for your injuries, you should call animal control and the police department to file a report. Get the owner's name, a description of the dog and tell authorities where the attack took place. It can be difficult to obtain compensation if a dog has never "lashed out" before. Law officials might argue that a dog that attacked you as you walked by its house was simply being protective and perceived you as a threat- and was not acting out of the ordinary in comparison to other dogs.
The violation of leash laws, trespassing or allowing a dog to run around at large could be grounds for negligence, however. Because there are so many laws and unique circumstances, it is important that you talk to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. He/she can help you evaluate all the details of your case to see if negligence or liability can be ascribed to a third party.
Why You Want Zinda Law Group on Your Side
When your current lifestyle and your future have been harmed by a dog attack, you should want aggressive representation, reassuring counsel and a firm with a hard work ethic on your side. Zinda Law Group has received several accolades from previous clients and has the qualifications you are looking for: winner of the prestigious title Texas SuperLawyers,® a member of The National Trial Lawyers' "Top 40 Under 40" and the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, Zinda Law Group is a firm you can trust and a firm that delivers results. If you want a hard-hitting Dallas personal injury attorney on your side throughout the days ahead as you fight for damages- give us a call today! We assure you that you won't regret it.