DOG BITES INJURE MILLIONS OF PEOPLE EACH YEAR
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs across the United States each year. Nearly 20% of those who are bitten need medical attention for their injuries, and half of those are children. Many of the injured require complicated medical procedures, with over 27,000 people in 2012 alone obtaining reconstructive surgery for injuries caused by dog bites.
By reviewing several studies, the CDC has pinpointed groups of people who are at greater risk for dog bites than others. Children and adult men both have an increased risk of being bitten. Children were more likely to need medical attention for their injuries, especially those between the ages of 5 and 9. Households with one or more dogs in the home had a higher amount of dog bites than those without dogs in the home.
TEXAS DOG BITE LAWS AND HOW THEY PROTECT YOU
Texas law recognizes that you have the right to defend yourself when attacked by an animal. You are allowed to kill an animal that attacks you suddenly and unprovoked. A person may also file a formal complaint that a dog is a dangerous dog when they are assaulted or threatened with imminent bodily harm, witness an attack or threat of attack against a person or pet, or know of an attack or threatened attack against a minor. If a dog is found to be a dangerous dog, then the owner can be fined, and be subject to additional penalties and restrictions.
There are a few causes of action available to the victim of a dog attack in Texas. They include negligence, causing a dog bite by violating an animal control law, failing to stop a dog attack which is in progress, and keeping a dog that is known to be vicious.
Texas adheres to the so-called “one bite rule.” The Texas Supreme Court has held a person can be held liable for harm inflicted by a domestic animal. It is referred to as “scienter” (the Latin word for “knowingly”), “common law strict liability,” and “the one bite rule.” As it applies to dog bites, this doctrine holds that a victim can recover compensation from the owner, harborer or keeper of a dog if (a) the dog previously bit a person or acted like it wanted to, and (b) the defendant was aware of the dog’s previous conduct. If either of those conditions is not met, however, the victim cannot employ this doctrine as a ground for recovery.
Dog bite litigation can be extremely personal because the attacking dog often belongs to a neighbor or friend. However, many homeowners’ insurance policies cover dog bites, so the litigation and negotiation is often done primarily with insurance companies and their attorneys. Insurance companies work to minimize the victim’s settlement, so it is important you are represented by knowledgeable legal counsel who will fight for the fair settlement you deserve.
EXPERIENCED REPRESENTATION IN YOUR DOG BITE CASE
If you or a family member has been attacked by a dog, our skilled Texas personal injury lawyers are here to help you obtain the compensation you need Since 2001, we have successfully litigated and negotiated severe personal injury cases for families across the state of Texas, and are here to tirelessly work for you. We appreciate your unique set of circumstances, and we are here to listen to all of your concerns and needs. At Culpepper Law Firm, we believe in providing the representation you are entitled to by working to maximize the compensation you deserve. For a free, confidential consultation, call us at 281-494-1030 today or contact us online.