Dogs may be known as “man’s best friend,” but, unfortunately, not all of them are so friendly. This Dog Bite Awareness Week, take the time to understand what you can do if you or a loved one are bitten by a dog in the state of Texas.
If you want to seek legal action against the negligent party responsible for your dog bite, the personal injury lawyers of Lapeze & Johns can help you obtain justice.
Legally, What Counts as a Dog Bite?
Bites, scratches, and any other bodily harm caused to a person by an animal are regulated under the same laws.
This means that a person could be found liable for their animal simply knocking a person down, as well as more serious attacks. Legally, all that is required to constitute a “dog bite” is bodily injury.
Dog Bite Statistics
Each year, there are between 300,000 to 400,000 dog bite injuries reported in the United States.
Based on statistics gathered over the last decade, roughly one-one-hundredth of one percent of all dog bite injuries result in death, which is 0.01 percent. The majority of these fatalities occur among children younger than 10 years old. However, children aren’t the only at-risk group for dog bites.
One of the most well-known enemies of our furry friends is the mailman; though they certainly don’t deserve to be bitten just for doing their jobs. Unfortunately, dog bites are incredibly common in the line of duty for mail carriers. In fact, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) reported nearly 6,000 dog attacks in 2019 alone.
Still, numbers don’t fully express the reality for victims of dog bites. For those who have suffered at the hands of a negligent dog owner, the physical and mental trauma that can come with such an experience can haunt them for a lifetime.
The Law on Dog Bites
Texas is one of the few states in the U.S. without a specific law regarding a dog owner’s liability for damages caused by their animal biting someone. Instead, the state follows the rule laid out in the Restatement of Torts. This makes Texas a “negligence” or “one bite rule” state.
This rule makes an owner liable for any harm their animal does so long as the animal has previously shown similar behavior and the owner failed to take proper precautions to stop them from doing harm.
However, a victim may not need to prove that the owner failed to take proper precautions if the dog is categorized as a “dangerous dog” under Texas law. To qualify as a dangerous dog, the dog must attack a person unprovoked while outside of its enclosure.
I Was Bitten by a Dog, What Can I Do?
If you’ve been bitten by a dog, you may be able to take civil action against the dog’s owner. In Texas, you will need to prove that the dog has bitten someone in the past and that the owner didn’t take the necessary precautions to prevent the animal from biting someone else.
Alone, however, it can be a challenge to meet these requirements.
A personal injury attorney in Houston can help you determine whether or not you have a case, and how best to file a claim. If you’ve been injured in a dog attack, the team at Lapeze & Johns can help you seek justice and compensation.
Any potential compensation you recover can help to pay for medical bills and any other damages you have suffered.