Who is Responsible for Medical Bills for a Dog Attack in Texas?
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To most of us, dogs are cute and cuddly family pets that bring a lot of joy to our lives. However, there are times when dogs can become vicious and attack other humans. Dogs might attack because they are provoked or because their owners treat them poorly or neglect to train them. Unless you have provoked the dog or were bit while trespassing on someone else’s property, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries.
Dog attacks are extremely frightening. A dog attack happens quickly and can leave injuries, both physical and emotional, that can last a lifetime. If a dog has attacked you or a loved one, you may be entitled to file a legal claim for compensation. Our attorneys at Zinda Law Group have experience dealing with dog bite claims and can help you seek compensation for your injuries.
If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, call (512) 246 2224 for a 100% free case evaluation with a Texas dog bite lawyer today.
What to do if You've Been Bitten by a Dog
If a dog in Texas has bitten you or a loved one, there are a few steps you can take to make sure you are in the best position to receive compensation that you may potentially be entitled to.
1. Go to the hospital
Going to the hospital may seem unnecessary after being bitten by the neighbor's dog, but it is an important step to take for a couple of reasons. First, the initial shock of a dog attack may cause you to not realize how severe your injuries may be. You always want a professional opinion. Second, having a medical professional look at your injuries will create an official record of your injuries, how severe they are, and what treatment is necessary. This is crucial evidence.
2. Document your injuries
Always document your injuries by taking photos as close to the time the injuries occurred as possible. Injuries can heal fast, or medical treatment may clean them up, so they don't look as severe. You always want documentation of what your injury looked like when it was actually inflicted.
3. Report the incident
Call the police. It is always important to report what happened to the police so that they can create an official report of what occurred. A police report is a very helpful piece of evidence in a personal injury case.
4. Document the incident
Do the best you can to document the scene of the incident. Take pictures of where the dog bit you and anything else that may be relevant. If there was a “beware of dog” sign, document it. If there was a cage and chain on the property for the dog, document it. Document anything that could be helpful or harmful to your claim
5. Contact an attorney
Personal injury claims can be complex, and the process can be burdensome for recovering victims. Having an attorney can help make this process easier and ensure your interests are being looked after. Contact our attorneys at Zinda Law Group today for a free consultation.
Who Pays My Medical Bills?
Medical costs are probably one of the first things you think about when you think about a dog bite personal injury case. The financial burden of receiving serious medical treatment can compound with the emotional distress caused by the accident and make a bad situation even worse. Medical costs can include the bills from your doctor, the hospital, physical therapy, shots, medications, surgery, and even therapy for emotional support.
The responsible party in a dog bite case will likely be held accountable to pay for medical bills, lost wages, and other costs resulting from the incident. You might be limited in your ability to seek compensation for your medical bills if you were partially at fault for the incident.
Texas uses a rule known as comparative fault to decide who will pay what compensation in a personal injury case. This rule says that if a court or insurance company determines that played a role in provoking the dog attack, the compensation that you are able to seek will be reduced by the percent that the accident was your fault. If you are more than 50% responsible, then you will be barred from recovery. In other words, if the bite is determined to be your fault, you will be responsible for your own medical bills.
A person may be considered responsible for a dog bite incident if they themselves provoked the dog into attacking them or if a dog attacked them when they were trespassing on someone else’s property. Provocation can be something as little as petting a dog that clearly does not want to be pet, and it can be as severe as physically abusing of a dog, causing them to react viciously.
If you can prove the fault of the dog's owner, the compensation for your medical costs might be reimbursed to you as part of your settlement offer or as a legal judgment if you take your case to trial.
Texas Dog Bite Law
In general, in order to prevail on a dog bite claim, you would need to prove the negligence of the dog owner or the person you want to be held responsible. A dog owner is typically considered negligent when they knew or should have known that their dog was dangerous, yet failed to take the proper precautions. This could include the failure to put their dog on a leash or even the failure to warn someone before letting them pet their dog.
A lot of states, including Texas, have what is known as the "one-bite rule." The one-bite rule is essentially a quick way to show the dog owner's negligence. Basically, this rule states that if the dog has a bite history, the owner should have known they had the potential to be dangerous and done more to restrain the animal. If the dog does not have a bite history, it may be harder to establish the liability of the dog owner. However, every situation is unique, and just because the dog has not bit someone before does not mean that you are unable to seek compensation for your injuries.
Common Injuries from Dog Bites
Common injuries that result after being bitten by a dog include puncture wounds, lacerations, bruises, scratches/scrapes, facial injuries, and other flesh wounds. Infections, such as rabies, can also occur as a consequence of a dog bite.
If a dog bites you and you sustain one of the wounds above, there are a few things you can do yourself to treat the wound. Wash the wound with mild soap and water if you can and cover it or apply compression to stop any bleeding. Next, you should seek professional medical attention. Doctors may choose to give you antibiotics, dress the wound, apply stitches, or administer some other type of medicine depending on your injury or any infections. Treatment of your wounds will depend on your circumstances.
Other Types of Damages from Dog Bites
After an accident, medical bills are likely at the forefront of your mind. However, you may be eligible to seek compensation for a lot of things beyond just your medical bills. Ultimately, you may be able to seek economic and non-economic damages as the result of your dog bite.
Economic damages provide compensation for the things that are easily measurable. Medical bills are a type of economic damage because medical bills have an exact cost or at least a clear estimate of the cost. Other types of economic damages include lost wages as the result of missing work for your injuries or gas mileage for traveling back and forth from doctor's appointments.
Non-economic damages usually cover your pain and suffering. This is "non-economic" because pain and suffering is not easily quantified with a dollar amount. In order to determine how much you are owed for pain and suffering, attorneys typically multiply your medical bills by a number between 1 and 5. They determine the multiplier based on the severity of your injuries, the cost of your medical bills, and the overall effect your injuries will have on your life going forward.
Statute of Limitations
Each state has what they refer to as the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations refers to the legal time limit that is placed on your ability to file a certain type of legal claim. Dog bite cases are personal injury claims. Texas law mandates that claims for personal injury be filed no later than two years after the accident.
If two years have passed since a dog bit you, you may be barred from taking legal action against the person who is responsible.
GET HELP FROM A DOG BITE LAWYER TODAY
At Zinda Law Group, our dog bite attorneys are here to help you with your claim. We help our clients seek the maximum compensation they may be entitled to as a victim of an animal attack.
Meetings with attorneys by appointment only.