Is It Worth Suing for Dog Bite in Houston, Texas?
Suffering a dog bite injury can be traumatizing. You may suffer serious tissue damage, get infected with rabies or another type of microbe, and be left with permanent scarring. However, the average bite victim is in doubt whether it is worthwhile to pursue the owner of the aggressive dog in court and sue for damages. An experienced Houston dog bite attorney at McDonald Worley Law Firm can help you understand the specifics of your case and explain your legal rights in each individual case.
As a general rule, a dog bite incident falls under the premises liability type of personal injury case. Property owners have a duty of care towards people who have a legitimate right to be present on their property (for example, postal workers delivering the mail). This includes keeping dogs with aggressive tendencies away from these people. Any responsible pet owner knows how their dog behaves around people they don’t know and takes reasonable measures to create safe conditions for anyone who visits their residential or commercial property.
How Likely Is It to Become a Bite Attack Victim?
Dogs with aggressive behavior are all over the United States. Some irresponsible dog owners either don’t train their dogs properly or purposely train them to be aggressive. An aggressive dog that is not properly restrained may launch unprovoked attacks on innocent people passing by.
Statistical data indicates that the most aggressive breeds of dogs involved in bite injury attacks are:
- Pitbulls (65.6% of all animal attack incidents)
- Rottweilers (10.4% of bite attacks)
- German shepherds (4.6% of dog bite attacks)
Some of these incidents turn into fatal dog attacks, especially when the bite victim is an infant or a child. In 2020 (the most recent year for which statistical data was fully processed), 46 people across the US lost their lives after a dog bite attack. Out of these:
- 61% of the victims were over 19 years old
- 33% were children aged 9 years old or younger
- 7% were children between 10 and 18 years old
As for the state of Texas, an experienced dog bite lawyer in Houston can tell you that in the period 2005-to 2013 no less than 30 people died as a result of severe injuries caused by a dog bite.
Texas Law on Dog Bite Attacks
The Texas Health and Safety Code regulates the situations when pet owners keep dogs with aggressive behavior. Anyone can call animal control and report a dog bite incident resulting in serious injury or death. In this case, the animal control authority has the right to seize the dangerous animals. The code also provides that dog owners who fail to secure or restrain a dog with a history of previous bite attacks can be charged with criminal negligence.
Also, the City of Houston, TX has clear bite laws that allow neighbors and other people to report dogs with aggressive tendencies. Depending on their behavior pattern, these dogs can be classified as:
- dangerous dogs
- aggressive dogs
- public nuisance dogs
Experienced attorneys specializing in filing bite claims will explain how the law works in your favor and help you hold the irresponsible owner liable for your pain, suffering, and economic losses.
How Can You File a Bite Lawsuit
A dog bite lawsuit is actually one of the variations of the personal injury claims that go to court. A dog bite lawyer in Houston will explain to you that you have to prove the following:
- the pet owner owed you a duty of care
- they breached their duty, resulting in a dog attack
- the dog attack caused you injury
- you suffered economic losses as a result of this injury
If the place where you were attacked is a public or commercial property, the owner can be held liable under the strict liability principle. In this case, the ordinary care for the visitors’ safety is a basic prerequisite of a place of business or public affairs.
Here are some of the basic steps to take in order to win the maximum compensation you are entitled to get according to personal injury law in Texas:
Call an Ambulance and Notify the Police
You need to receive immediate medical care after a dog bite. The animal may be sick and you could get infected from the bite. At the same time, notify the police and animal control of the incident. However, do not make any statement, either to the police or to the property owner’s insurance company before you consult with a dog bite attorney in Houston.
Request Vaccination Proof from the Owner
Dog owners are required to vaccinate their pets. You should get in touch with the owner as soon as possible after the dog bite attack in order to inform them of the incident and ask them to produce the vaccination record. If the dog is not up-to-date on its vaccines, the ambulance crew must be notified in order to take the measures to prevent an infection.
Document Your Injuries and the Surrounding Area
As you wait for the ambulance to arrive, take photos of your injuries and of the dog. If the dog is not restrained, go to a place of safety and take photos of the surrounding area showing that the aggressive dog is not on a leash or otherwise secured.
Hire an Experienced Houston Dog Bite Attorney
A skilled dog bite lawyer in Houston will help you recover the fair compensation you deserve depending on the precise circumstances of your case. Even if you are partly at fault for the dog bite, the state of Texas uses the comparative negligence principle in personal injury cases. Thus, the final settlement amount you will receive will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
However, if you do not receive legal advice from an attorney, insurance adjusters representing property owners will try to convince you that you have no case. They may even try to extract statements that hurt your case from you as you are lying on the hospital bed, frightened and in pain.
Types of Damages a Houston Dog Bite Attorney Can Help You Win
An animal attack is treated just like any other personal injury claim by the law. You have the right to receive monetary compensation for:
Economic losses represent the actual expenses and financial losses you incurred as a result of the dog bite, such as:
- hospital bills
- reconstructive and plastic surgery
- other medical bills, including prescription pills, physical therapy, etc.
- lost wages
- out-of-pocket expenses
Non-economic damages represent a form of compensation for emotional distress, physical pain, and mental anguish. Many dog bite victims are left with long-term emotional trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). And they deserve to be compensated for their suffering caused by an irresponsible dog owner.
Reach Out to a Houston Dog Bite Attorney
At McDonald Worley Law Firm, your case will be treated with care and attention by an experienced Houston dog bite attorney. We will analyze the circumstances of the dog bite attack and explain the legal rights you have in terms you can understand.
Take advantage of the free case review we offer and see if a Houston personal injury attorney can help with your case: 877-721-3423.