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IN SETTLEMENTS & VERDICTS
In layman’s terms, this means that the owner can be found liable when his/her dog bites another person if negligence was a factor.
In order to prove negligence, the victim must be able to show that the owner failed to use reasonable care to prevent the bite, and/or that the owner knew about the dog’s aggressive nature.
It is one of the most terrifying experiences that anyone can face. If you, a loved one, or your child has been attacked by a dog and suffered a dog bite injury, nobody needs to remind you of the alarm and stress it can cause.
Sometimes, unfortunately, victims also have a permanent reminder of the incident with a bite mark that they carry for the rest of their lives.
Negligent owners should be held accountable for their actions – not least to prevent bites from happening to other victims.
Ryan DeHoyos is a dog bite lawyer experienced in such cases in the Houston area. He can help you claim the compensation you deserve and move on with your life with compensation for injuries suffered.
Who needs a dog bite lawyer in Houston?
Only the most ferocious attacks from dogs make the news headlines in Houston but every day many silent victims suffer bites due to the negligent actions of the dog owners.
Nationwide, around 800,000 people who are bitten by dogs each year require medical care. That’s over 2,000 a day and it leads to a lot of dog bite lawsuits.
Almost any dog bite can cause a serious injury. It commonly results in injuries to the face and head, with the potential to leave a victim with serious scarring and disfigurement.
The emotional trauma and suffering that comes with this, in addition to physical pain, should not be underestimated.
If you have been injured by a dog in the Houston area, you have a right to seek compensation for financial losses and emotional pain and suffering.
However, proving liability and claiming the compensation you deserve can be challenging without a lawyer experienced in this type of personal injury claim.
Your lawyer will gather evidence, speak to witnesses, and help you determine the next steps for getting your medical bills paid and making a claim.
Can you sue for a dog bite in Texas?
The Texas Health and Safety Code Chapter 822 deals with the regulation of animals and, specifically “dogs that attack persons or are a danger to persons”.
This is no straightforward matter and much depends on the history of the dog in question and if the owner is aware that the dog is dangerous.
Let’s take a look at the applicable laws in Texas, which should help you decide whether suing for your dog bite injury makes sense.
Texas “dangerous dog” laws
In simple terms, the owners of vicious animals are held strictly liable for damages in Texas. A dangerous dog is defined as one that:
- Makes an unprovoked attack on a person that causes bodily injury and occurs in a place other than an enclosure in which the dog was being kept and that was reasonably certain to prevent the dog from leaving the enclosure on its own; or
- Commits unprovoked acts in a place other than an enclosure in which the dog was being kept and that was reasonably certain to prevent the dog from leaving the enclosure on its own and those acts cause a person to reasonably believe that the dog will attack and cause bodily injury to that person.
Injured in a dog bite accident in Houston?
If you have been injured by a dog bite due to neglience of another party, call us at (832) 745-4878 or schedule a free and confidential consultation about your case today.
Strict Liability & Dog Bites in Texas
Although Texas applies negligence rules to dog bite cases, strict liability rules may apply if the dog is classified as a “dangerous” dog.
According to the statute,
a dangerous dog is defined as a dog that: Makes an unprovoked attack on a person that causes bodily injury and occurs in a place other than an enclosure in which the dog was being kept and that was reasonably certain to prevent the dog from leaving the enclosure on its own; or Commits unprovoked acts in a place other than an enclosure in which the dog was being kept and that was reasonably certain to prevent the dog from leaving the enclosure on its own and those acts cause a person to reasonably believe that the dog will attack and cause bodily injury to that person.
If the dog is classified as dangerous and strict liability rules apply, you may not be required to demonstrate the owner’s failure to use reasonable care to prevent the attack.
What is the Texas “One Bite Rule”?
The “one bite rule” means that unless the dog has bitten someone before, the injured person must prove that the dog was dangerous (or could be dangerous) for the owner to be held strictly liable for damages caused.
Under this law, it can be challenging for dog bite injury sufferers to claim fair compensation from owners of dogs that have never bitten anyone before.
To prove negligence, the victim must be able to show that the owner failed to use reasonable care to prevent the dog from biting and/or knew about the dog’s aggressive nature.
However, if the dog is classified as dangerous, the strict liability rules apply and it is not necessary to demonstrate the owner’s failure to use reasonable care to prevent the attack.
Can a dog owner be charged with a crime?
If a dog owner acted with criminal negligence or knew that their dog was dangerous and failed to prevent it from biting someone, he or she could be charged with a crime in Texas, as well as being held civilly liable for damages.
Felony charges may apply if the owner fails to secure a dangerous dog and someone is seriously injured or killed away from the owner’s property – providing the victim did not provoke the attack.
For instance, if there was a previous, unprovoked attack or the owner had been informed by appropriate authorities that the dog was dangerous, the owner could be accused of criminal negligence in the event of a dog bite incident.
Common dog attack injuries in Houston
Some pet dogs are extremely powerful and can cause severe injuries to human beings. Dogs in attack mode often naturally go for the face or throat area.
Some of the typical injuries we see in Houston include:
- Broken bones
- Eye injuries
- Severe lacerations
- Amputation of fingers or toes
These physical injuries are in addition to the emotional injuries suffered.
What can you claim from a dog bite injury case in Houston?
Even if you were trespassing at the time of the dog bite attack (and are therefore held partially liable for your injuries) you can claim compensation under the “comparative negligence” laws in Texas.
As long as you are deemed 50 percent or less responsible for your injuries, you can claim compensation for the remaining proportion that was due to the negligence of the other party.
A dog owner who was unaware that a dog was dangerous may be deemed only partially liable even if you were not trespassing at the time. If the owner was aware that their dog was dangerous and there was no trespassing, he or she will usually be held fully liable for the injuries and other damages caused.
Damages may include the following:
- Medical expenses, including all care relating to the dog bite injury
- Expenses for psychological counselling
- Compensation for the pain endured
- Mental anguish, depression, anxiety, etc.
- Loss of earning capacity if you need to take time off work
- Disfigurement/plastic surgery requirements
- Physical impairment and loss of quality of life
Why hire Ryan DeHoyos as your car accident lawyer?
Ryan DeHoyos has years of experience representing dog bite victims in the Houston area. He understands what to look for in such cases and how best to approach claims.
It is advisable to speak to him as soon as possible after your injuries have been checked and treated – while the details are still fresh in your mind.
You will find that Ryan has a compassionate ear for your story and will listen carefully to establish the facts. He will then start to gather the evidence required to support your version of events.
The problem in these cases is that what may seem like a clear case of negligence to you may not be so easy to prove if the dog owner refuses to admit liability. The owner may claim that the victim was trespassing at the time of the incident or that they were unaware that the dog was capable of being aggressive.
Texas laws concerning this are complex. Failure to understand these laws can severely limit your ability to win compensation. So, it is in your interest to seek the guidance of an experienced dog bite attorney like Ryan DeHoyos.
The last thing you need when recovering from your injury is having to worry about communicating with a non-compliant dog owner or an insurance company that is reluctant to payout. We can handle all that for you. We will push for the maximum possible settlement or take the matter to court and let a jury decide. Our excellent track record of settling matters out of court can save delays in receiving your compensation but Ryan DeHoyos is equally adept at trial if it ends up in the courtroom.
Ryan’s commitment to helping victims get full and fair compensation for their injuries, financial losses, and emotional pain and suffering saw him named as a Rising Star by Super Lawyers in 2019. He is intimately familiar with the local Houston court system as well as the procedures and laws involved in all types of personal accident injury claims.
Ryan DeHoyos is ready to help.
We help people throughout the Houston area claim the compensation they deserve from accidents.
As well as Houston, we serve Austin, Channelview, Midtown Houston, The Woodlands, Katy, McAllen, Harlingen, Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Pearland, San Antonio, and The Sugar Land areas.
Ryan DeHoyos is an experienced Houston-based personal injury lawyer. Recognized as a “Rising Star” on Super Lawyers (2019), Ryan DeHoyos can help secure the compensation you deserve so that you can move on with your life in the knowledge that you have received some measure of justice. He represents clients who have been injured in a car accident, truck accident, motorcycle accident, or any other type of accident and gets them the compensation they deserve. Call him at (832) 745-4878 for a free consultation.