Dog Bite Injury Lawyers in Lubbock, Texas

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The most popular pets in the country are dogs; they are beloved and viewed more like family than as mere pets. However, incidents where a dog bites a human (or another dog) occur frequently. The American Humane Society (AHS) estimates that more than 4 million dog bites happen each year and over 800,000 bites require medical attention. All types of dogs, big and small, can cause significant injuries through biting. It is helpful to know what your legal options are and how our Lubbock dog bite lawyers can help in the event you get bitten by one.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a dog bite accident in the Lubbock area, contact Zinda Law Group; we have personal injury attorneys near you who can help you seek compensation for your injury. Call our Lubbock dog bite attorneys at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free case evaluation today.

What to do After a Dog Bite

A dog bite can be a traumatic experience. When a bite happens, a victim will often have a lot of questions, particularly regarding what steps to take after an accident. In order to maximize your odds of a successful dog bite claim with maximum compensation, take the following steps.

1. Evaluate Your Injuries

You must address the victim’s injuries to determine whether serious medical attention is immediately required. If the injuries are not dire, wash out the infection with soap and water, followed by an antiseptic to prevent bacterial spread; this will help as a first aid procedure. If the injuries are serious, such as punctured skin or leaking fluids, get to your nearest medical facility as soon as possible.

2. Alert the Proper Authorities

After addressing your immediate health (or the health of the person bit by the dog), contact the police and contact animal services. By contacting Lubbock Animal Services, the police will respond faster in order to control the situation before Animal Services arrives.

In addition to your contact information, Lubbock Police/Animal Services will ask you a series of questions about the dog bite including:

  • how the incident occurred
  • the events that led up to the accident/attack
  • who witnessed the accident/attack
  • the type of dog
  • the extent of your injuries
  • the location of the animal
  • the name of the dog’s owner
  • the dog owner’s contact information

3. Document the Event

To the best of your ability, try to document as much of the incident as possible. Further, file a police report to help with a potential claim.

Take photos of the dog that caused the bite and the injury/injuries incurred. Be sure to get the contact information of the dog’s owner as well, and of any parties who witnessed the event or who were involved, and write down or type into the Notes section of your phone the address and description of the location where the dog bite took place.

4. See a Physician

A physician will be able to tell you if a bite wound has become infected and advise you on proper medications to take. A physician will also be able to properly diagnose the severity of the dog bite including whether surgery and/or rehabilitation is needed to help you properly recover.

For example, a physician may advise you to get a tetanus shot to prevent potentially obtaining rabies as a result of the dog bite; tetanus is a bacterial infection that can enter your body through an animal bite. If you are unsure when you last had a tetanus shot, seek out a physician to get a tetanus shot within 72 hours of the dog bite. In addition, the physician’s diagnosis will greatly help your Lubbock injury lawyer when he or she is preparing and presenting your dog bite claim.

5. Contact a Lubbock Dog Bite Lawyer

The best step at this point is to contact a competent and reliable injury lawyer to assist with moving your dog bite claim forward. An attorney will assist you in determining what your options are and ensure that you are treated fairly throughout the litigation process. The Lubbock dog bite lawyers at Zinda Law Group are adept at understanding the nuances and complexities of Texas dog bite laws; our attorneys have the experience and skill to guide you through this difficult process.

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Common Types of Dog Bite Injuries

Common types of dog bite injuries include:

Puncture Wounds

These are bites that break the skin; they are painful and often require surgery as well as intense physical therapy to recover from.

Disfigurement

If a dog attacks your face, it may lead to severe facial injuries that require expensive surgery to repair.

Infection

Dog bites often contain diseases that lead to an infection, so it is recommended that you seek medical assistance if you suspect that you have become infected by a dog bite and/or have displayed, feverish symptoms.

Scarring

Many dog bites leave reminders of the incident, long after its occurrence, in the form of scars.

Relevant Texas Civil Laws

Dog bites often lead to severe injuries that require proper medical attention, missed work, long hours of rehabilitation, and high medical bills. One of the first thoughts that a victim of a dog bite has may be, “Who is going to pay the cost for the expenses?”

Texas is unique in that it does not have a statute that addresses a dog owner’s civil liability for the damages caused from a dog bite; however, Texas does follow the “one-bite rule.” The one-bite rule means that the owner of a dog can be held strictly liable for any and all damages caused by their dog if the owner knew about the dog’s propensity for aggression. Strict liability means that a party is responsible for the injury or injuries regardless of what their state of mind was during the event.

The most common way to meet the one-bite rule is to prove that the dog has previously bitten someone. But, a dog bite lawyer can still prove that the one-bite rule applies when there is reason to believe that the dog would bite someone due to the specific animal’s behavior or the dog’s breed. Pursuant to the relevant state statute, a person is aware that they are the owner of a dangerous dog when:

  • The owner is aware of a dog’s prior attack.
  • The owner is aware that a court of law has determined that the dog is dangerous.
  • An animal control authority informs the owner that the dog is dangerous.

If a victim is unable to prove that the dog had previously bitten someone before, and that the owner had no other reason to believe that their dog was dangerous, a victim will need to prove negligence in order to recover damages. Negligence means the failure of the owner to meet the ordinary care that a dog owner should meet. Examples include the failure to properly leash the dog, improperly training the dog, or not keeping the dog within an enclosed area.

Relevant Texas Criminal Laws

A dog owner is criminally negligent for their dog biting someone if the owner fails to secure the dog who then attacks unprovoked at a location besides an owner’s house or motor vehicle. A dog owner also commits a criminal offense when the dog owner had reason to know that their dog was dangerous, yet did not take any active steps to properly secure the dog, and that dog bit someone outside of the dog’s restraining area, if one exists.

Criminal penalties an owner may face include:

  • a felony in the 3rd degree;
  • imprisonment for 2-10 years
  • a fine not to exceed $10, 000

What is the Dog Owner’s Responsibility?

Many Texas laws require a dog owner to keep their dog on a leash while out in public; Lubbock requires all dog owners to properly restrain their dog while within Lubbock city limits. Restraint in this context means to control the dog “by means of a cage or leash or rope under the direct control of a person of sufficient strength to control the animal.” If an owner does not abide by this rule and their dog bites someone, the owner will be liable for the incident.

When Other Parties are Responsible

Sometimes a dog bite incident is not solely the fault of the dog’s owner; rather, a landlord or property owner can face a lawsuit under certain circumstances. For example, if a property owner was aware of the dog’s previous bite history or propensity for violence, but let it remain on the property, the property owner could be found personally liable for the dog bite injuries. Further, if a property owner was aware that the tenant’s dog was not properly enclosed, yet failed to take any actions to remedy the problem, the landlord is unlikely to escape liability.

Who Pays for a Dog Bite?

The costs for dog bites are very expensive; that is one reason why the owner of the dog who bit you may not have the funds to properly compensate for the harm; in those circumstances, look to the owner’s insurer to obtain a proper financial remedy. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) performed a study to determine the costs of dog bites annually; the study found that insurers paid a cumulative total of $854 million in liability claims pertaining to dog bites and other dog-related injuries in 2020. In particular, State Farm has paid over 1.26 billion dollars for dog-related injuries between 2010-2020.

Owner Defenses

As with many claims, there are potential defenses that a defendant may try to argue applies after a dog bite incident. Two common defenses used by defendants are: a) that they had no reason to know that the dog had a propensity for violence; and b) that the bitten victim trespassed during the incident.

A dog bite lawyer will likely counter that the dog’s owner had reason to know that the dog was aggressive, that the dog was involved in a prior biting incident, or that the owner was otherwise negligent. A statutory defense exists if the dog owner is a person with a disability who uses the dog to provide assistance, the dog is trained to provide assistance to a person with a disability, and the owner is using the dog to assist with their disability.

Statute of Limitations

For a victim looking to bring a claim for a dog bite in Texas, they will have to file within 2 years of the incident’s occurrence; the 2-year bar is equivalent to other personal injury statute of limitations claims in Texas. A notable exception is if the victim of the dog bite was a minor; if that is the case, the statute of limitations will not begin to run until the minor turns 18. If the dog bite happened when the child was 10 years old, the child would still be able to bring a lawsuit as long as it was prior to their 20th birthday.

You are encouraged to talk to Lubbock accident lawyers  as soon as possible so that you avoid having your claim barred by the statute of limitations. As soon as possible retain a lawyer, so they can begin investigating and gathering evidence for your case. You can use search terms on the internet like “injury lawyer near me?” or  “Lubbock accident lawyer,” or simply contact Zinda Law Group.

If the Claim is Successful

Upon a successful claim, the victim of the dog bite could recover compensation for:

  • Emergency medical treatment
  • Veterinary bills, including life-saving surgeries (if the victim was your dog)
  • Lost wages
  • Rehabilitation treatment
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disfigurement
  • Disability
  • Death

When Should You Not Bring a Claim?

You want to avoid bringing a lawsuit for a dog bite claim if you knowingly trespassed on another person’s property (unless the dog was not in a properly enclosed space) or provoked the dog into biting. You will also have a difficult time bringing a claim forward if you did not properly document the event, receive medical treatment, or admitted to instigating the incident itself.

Our Lubbock Dog Bite Lawyers are Here to Help

At Zinda Law Group, our Lubbock dog bite lawyers have extensive experience helping countless victims of dog bites recover and get their lives back on track. We have the means and resources to provide you with our best assistance at obtaining maximum compensation for the losses incurred due to the dog bite.

It is a firm-wide belief that a dog bite victim should never fear the ability to pay for top-notch representation; that is why we offer 100% free consultations. You also will not pay for anything unless we achieve a favorable outcome, result, or verdict in your dog bite case; that’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a dog bite accident, call (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free case evaluation with a Lubbock dog bite attorney today.

Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.