Dogs are man’s best friend for a reason. Dogs can be extremely loyal, friendly, and a great addition to a family. However, all dogs can inflict serious injury on bystanders and even people they know. Dogs most often injure the people around them by biting them with aggressive intent or in a fit of excitement.
It doesn’t matter whether the dog in question intended to hurt you or not. You may deserve compensation for your losses in the face of a dog bite. You can contact Texas dog bite lawyers at the Zinda Law Group as soon as possible for a FREE consultation on how to seek the settlement you deserve.
What Are the Most Common Types of Dog Bite Lawsuits?
No two dog bite incidents are the same, but Texas personal injury lawyers can generally group them into broad categories. These include:
- Aggressive incidents: attacks wherein the dog actively and violently attacks a bystander. For example, a dog who breaks off its leash and attacks a passerby who did not provoke the dog may have engaged in an aggressive incident.
- Non-aggressive incident: dogs, unlike humans, can’t always express their excitement safely. Large dogs, in particular, can unintentionally harm someone courtesy of their sheer mass. Dogs who injure another person without aggressive intent may prove guilty of a non-aggressive dog bite.
- Dog-on-dog aggression: dogs who are fighting with another dog may end up biting a human who happens to be standing nearby.
What Are the Common Causes of Aggressive Dog Bites?
A dog may bite a human as a result of several different situations.
- Territorialism: a dog may bite when it believes it is defending its territory. For example, a friend who your dog does not recognize entering your house may cause a dog to bite.
- Provocation: there are many situations that may provoke a dog to bite. For example, a cyclist pedaling past a home may cause a dog to chase and bite. Additionally, simply being near a dog may be enough to cause it to bite if it has not been properly socialized.
- Instincts: certain herding breeds, like border collies, may instinctively nip at children as it attempts to “herd” them
What Are the Most Common Dog Bite Injuries?
No two dog bite accidents result in the same injuries. That said, Texas dog bite attorneys can recognize some of the most common injuries related to these accidents. Those injuries can include the following:
Lacerations and Puncture Wounds
Dog bites can cause deep wounds in the skin that require extensive medical attention. Even once the immediate danger is taken care of, these wounds can lead to extensive scarring.
Dog bites that go deep enough can cause damage to nerves, which can lead to consequences ranging from a temporary loss of function to permanent damage, including paralysis. There is an even more severe risk of damage when dealing with facial bites, which can result in loss of senses like hearing or sight, not to mention facial disfigurement.
The risk of infection from dog bites is extremely high, given the fact that a dog bite can inject dangerous bacteria deep into the skin and tissue of the victim. Rabies is also a concern if the dog has not been properly immunized.
Depending on the victim and circumstances of the incident, dog bites can be traumatic events, particularly in children, and may require extensive psychological attention in the form of counseling or therapy just for the victim to be able to live a healthy, normal life.
What Should You Do After Being Bitten by a Dog?
After you are bitten by a dog, it is important to complete a few key steps to keep yourself healthy and make sure that you preserve your legal right to seek compensation:
Address Your Medical Needs
First and foremost, assess your immediate situation and determine whether emergency attention is required. Shallow bites may be treated at home with soap and water, but deep bites should be seen by a doctor.
Remember that adrenaline can mask the pain from a bite, which can make it difficult to accurately determine the severity of your injury. You will also need proof of your injury by way of a medical report when you make a claim.
Document the Event
To document the dog bite, take pictures of your injuries and the accident scene. You should also exchange contact information with the dog’s owner and nearby bystanders. An attorney can help you file a report with local police, as well.
It is important to be as thorough as possible while the event is still fresh in your mind, as it is difficult to determine what facts may become important later.
Contact a Texas Dog Bite Attorney
Finally, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced dog bite attorney. Dog bite lawyers can help you understand your legal position and what steps to take to seek compensation for your losses.
The laws of Texas can be a bit tricky and difficult to navigate on your own, but the attorneys at the Zinda Law Group have the experience necessary to guide you through the process.
The offending dog’s owner most often takes on liability for that dog’s behavior, particularly in cases where attorneys can prove negligence. Texas specifically sees its dogs and dog owners operate under a “one bite” state, as established by Marshall v. Ranne, 511 SW 2d 255 (Tex: Supreme Court 1974).
Texas’s “one bite” policy means that for an owner to be liable, a Texas dog bite lawyer needs to show that the owner knew that the dog had acted aggressively or bitten someone in the past. In other words, dog owners get “one bite” before they are put on notice that they need to restrain their dog more effectively in the future.
Dog Owner Responsibility
The responsibility for training and the proper restraint of a dog falls to the owner. Therefore, it is the responsibility of dog owners in Texas to familiarize themselves with the laws of the jurisdiction. These include:
- Leash laws: dogs must be on a leash unless they are confined to their owner’s property. This means that it is more likely that the dog owner will be liable if their dog bites someone while in violation of this rule – this can vary from city to city.
- Vaccinations: dog owners must make sure that their dog has all of the proper immunizations as mandated by local regulations. A violation of these rules may lead to liability for all of the resulting injuries caused by the lack of immunization.
Who Can I Sue After a Dog Bite?
In a dog bite case, the person who will typically be liable is the owner of the dog. This is because the dog itself obviously can’t pay damages. However, pursuing compensation from dog owners can sometimes be problematic. This is because the owner can’t pay you money that they don’t have.
In the case of an insolvent dog owner, compensation can also come from an insurance policy. Insurance companies are not always eager to pay what they owe, however, which means it is important to have an experienced attorney on your side to make them treat you fairly.
Filing a Dog Bite Claim
Once you have taken care of your medical needs, there are a few key steps to take in filing a lawsuit.
Speak with a Texas Dog Bite Lawyer
This is the most crucial step in the process. Finding an experienced attorney will ease the stress on you, as they can guide you through a complicated process. The attorneys at the Zinda Law Group will take care of each step of the process, ensuring that you are adequately represented from start to finish.
Once you have brought your case to an attorney, they will begin the process of investigating the case. This includes responsibilities like contacting witnesses and the dog owner, interviewing witnesses, and finding out if the dog has a violent history.
Once the suit has been filed and an investigation began, your attorney can begin to negotiate a settlement with the other side. Having an experienced attorney on your side at this stage is critical, as the other parties involved will not want to pay you what you deserve.
Dog Bite Compensation
For any personal injury lawsuit, the victim must have suffered actual damages to seek any money. These damages can generally be grouped into one of two categories.
- Economic: this category of losses includes medical bills, wages lost while unable to work, and any future wages that will be lost due to injury. Typically, these damages can be estimated with a fair degree of certainty.
- Non-Economic: this category of losses includes the pain and suffering caused by a dog bite. While it is more difficult to put an exact number on this kind of damage, it can certainly still be compensated for in the case of a severe dog bite.
Statute of Limitations
For any personal injury lawsuit, there is a period of time after the incident in which the suit must be brought. This period of time is known as the statute of limitations. In Texas, the statute of limitations for filing a dog bite claim is generally two years after the accident, as stated in Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code section 16.003.
There may be exceptions if the dog bite ends up causing death or the victim is a child. You can discuss these circumstances with Texas dog bite attorneys to determine their impact on your right to legal action.
The sooner you contact an attorney, the more time you and your loved ones will have to investigate your losses and bring your complaint forward. You must act within your two-year window, or else you risk a court throwing out your suit.
What to Expect from Texas’s Dog Bite Lawyer
Zinda Law Group’s dog bite lawyers make every effort to help you and your loved ones fully recover from a traumatic dog bite. We take it upon ourselves, at your request, to investigate your losses, contact bystanders, and compile evidence of another party’s responsibility for your losses.
What’s more, we bring a comprehensive team onto your case. You get more than a personal injury lawyer when you work with Zinda Law Group. We try to assign two lawyers to every case that comes onto our docket. What’s more, we can delegate different elements of our investigation to our experienced team.
That delegation allows us to manage an investigation into liability, conversations about your insurance coverage, and preparations needed to either negotiate for your dog bite settlement or take your case to court. In other words, Zinda Law Group brings big firm resources to your case, giving you the opportunities you deserve to secure accident compensation as a result.
We Work on Contingency
We at Zinda Law Group understand that it takes time and effort to recover from a dog bite. We don’t want to contribute to your financial stress as we fight for your right to justice. As such, Zinda Law Group’s attorneys work on contingency. This means that you don’t receive any legal bills while we investigate your case, negotiate for a settlement, or represent you in court.
Working on contingency allows you and your loved ones to prioritize your recovery without waiving your right to legal action. Our attorneys only get paid for services rendered to you and your loved ones if we win you loss-based compensation. Even then, we establish a contingency fee agreement to ensure that the payment process is as stress-free as possible.
You can discuss our contingency fee agreements in more detail during your first consultation with Zinda Law Group’s dog bite attorneys in Texas.
Our Texas Dog Bite Lawyers Can Help
Our dog bite lawyers in Texas have helped many injury victims seek the compensation they deserve for medical bills, loss of income, and pain and suffering.
If you or a loved one has been hurt by a dog or another animal, call Zinda Law Group for your free consultation with our personal injury lawyers.