If you’ve ever been bitten or attacked by a dog, you know that it’s an experience unlike any other. The pain and emotional distress after the attack will linger, and more often than not, costly medical help is necessary. Depending on where you’re located in Texas, the dog’s owner can be held fully liable for your injuries. Whether you want to know your rights or are seeking compensation for your troubles, an attorney that has experience in dog bite injuries can provide legal guidance. If you’ve been bit by a dog in Texas, contact the Houston dog bite attorneys at McDonald Worley today.
When Can a Dog’s Owner Face Criminal Charges or Penalties?
- If the dog was unprovoked but also categorized as dangerous and attacked, leading to severe injury or death.
- The owner did not properly control the dog which led to an unprovoked attack also resulting in serious injury or death.
Depending on the owner’s involvement and the severity of the case, they may be sentenced anywhere from 2 to 20 years in prison. Fines of up to $10,000 are also a possibility. The Texas Health and Safety Code (Title 10, Chapter 822) contains all the information about dog laws.
In the state of Texas, dog bites are seen as a personal injury, and those affected have up to two years from to file charges. Though Texas has a set of dog bite laws based on municipalities, cities, and counties, the legislations may differ in the matter of proper leash use.
The One Bite Rule
For over forty years, Texas has maintained a one-bite rule, which was in reference to the original Supreme Court case of Marshall v. Ranne. The case states that a person attacked by an animal may seek compensation from the person who owns or is watching the animal.
To get compensation, the person responsible for the dog has to have had prior knowledge of the dog’s violent behavior. In addition, the dog has to have committed a previous act to be considered under this ruling.
So, if a person knowingly allows a dog to attack or injure a person in any way, they must pay compensation for the injuries suffered during the attack. The owner or dog sitter is considered completely liable in situations like this.
The Marshall case has also laid the foundation for another way a victim can recover compensation for their injuries. The owner can be held liable if they knew about a dog’s past aggression but did not handle or keep the dog properly. This would count as negligence on the part of the dog owner or sitter.
However, in order to get compensation for your injuries, you must prove several things in your case. First and foremost, you need evidence that the dog that caused your injuries is owned by the defendant, and the defendant did not take proper actions to prevent your injury. In short, the defendant breached their responsibility of caring for and watching the dog, and their negligence has resulted in your injury. It is worth noting that the dog does not need to have a past of biting or attacking, as this is not what’s required of you to prove.
A Dangerous Canine: What Does It Mean?
Texas law considers dogs to be dangerous if they have a previous offense of attacking an individual unprovoked, and the owner is aware of the attack but did nothing to prevent future attacks. City or county bite reports, as well as neighbor testimonials, can be submitted as evidence.
Dogs are also seen as dangerous by law if the owner receives notice from animal control categorizing their dog as such. This notice may also be received from a Texas court. The dog owner must take steps in a case such as this. Firstly, within 30 days, their dog must get registered with animal control. They must also provide proof of insurance that can be used for compensation for an attack, along with several other requirements. The owner must also take precautions with their dog when it is around other people. It must be properly leashed or in an enclosed area where it cannot attack.
Contact a Texas Personal Injury Attorney If You Were Bit by a Dog in Texas
There are two things to do if you get attacked by a dog. The first is to find out who the owner of the dog is and seek appropriate medical attention. Knowing the owner of the dog is essential in finding out if the dog may have passed on any diseases as well as giving you the chance to seek injury compensation.
Let McDonald Worley attorneys help you get the outcome you deserve! With years of experience in dog bite injury cases, we can help get you the compensation you deserve. Call today and schedule your free initial consultation with our Houston, Texas personal injury law firm.