It’s true that dogs are truly man’s best friend, but it’s also important to understand that they are animals with tendencies to act on their instincts. When one’s canine buddy is poorly-trained, or worse, neglected by the owner, the dog may develop bad behavior that can lead to accidents like nasty bites.
In Texas, negligent owners who cause harm to the community due to their dog’s violent actions lead to serious repercussions for the owner. After all, the owner is responsible for the dog. So if that dog acts on its instincts, it’s the owner who is liable for the injuries.
If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog in Texas, you need to know that you have a right to take action. Oftentimes, the dog owner’s homeowners insurance carrier will pay for an injured victim’s damages. It takes a very skilled lawyer to navigate the insurance component to dog bite incidents.
Dog Bite Lawsuit in Texas: the One-Bite Rule
The rule of thumb for dog bites in Texas is the “one-bite rule.” In this state, you must prove that the dog has a history of being aggressive to others before you can file a lawsuit against the owner.
In other words, if the dog has never bitten anyone before the victim, then the person must show more evidence that the scenario happened due to the owner’s negligence.
What are the Four Elements to Consider in the Case of Dog Bites?
The one-bite rule isn’t the only factor that determines liability when a dog bite victim has sustained injuries. With that in mind, the main point in determining liability in a dog bite case involves proving four things:
- The defendant owns or cares for the dog;
- The defendant has to go the extra step to prevent the dog from harming others in the community;
- The defendant breaches his/her duty to exercise care for the dog’s behavior;
- The breach of duty committed by the defendant directly caused the dog bite and other related injuries;
Dog Bite Injuries in Texas: What Constitutes Criminal Conduct?
In addition to the one-bite rule and the four considerations outlined above, there are some instances that involve dog bites that may constitute criminal conduct on the part of the owner:
- The dog was out and about without a leash, or without a leash long enough to allow the owner to exert physical control over it;
- The dog was neglected, or neglected to the point that it became a danger to others;
- The owner has a history of neglecting the dog, or the owner has a history of allowing the dog to roam freely without repercussion;
- The owner was aware or should have been aware of the dog’s behavior;
- The victim sustained injuries due to the dog bites; and
- The victim sustained serious injuries, possibly leading to death;
The Bottom Line: Knowing What Legal Action to Take After a Dog Bite Happens
When it comes to dog bites, the actions you take after the incident can make or break your case. It’s important to understand that you have rights as a dog bite victim, but if you don’t know what those options are, then you might find yourself with no case at all.
If you’ve been injured by a dog bite, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and more. To find out more about your rights, you can discuss the circumstances of your case with us and get the compensation you deserve.
How Can We Help Your Case?
If you need additional information on how to get started with a dog bite case in Texas, we can help. Call our office for a free consultation.
Here at the Harper Law Firm, our San Antonio dog bite personal injury attorneys in Texas can help you make the right decisions when it comes to dog bites. We understand how stressful these types of accidents can be and make it our duty to help you get a smooth start on your personal injury claim.
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