Hurt by a Dog? Own a Dog? Here’s What You Should Know About Texas Dog Bite Laws
Dogs can be wonderful companions, pets, and family members. On rare occasions, dogs may also bite, attack, or hurt people. In many cases, these incidents could have been avoided if some party had simply been more careful, attentive, or responsible.
Whether you’ve been hurt by a dog or you’re a dog owner, understanding how Texas dog bite laws work can be pivotal to safeguarding your rights. It can also help you take action to assert your rights, seek justice, and recover if you’re ever bitten, attacked, or harmed by a dog in Texas. So can an experienced Texas dog bite attorney.
What Are Texas Dog Bite Laws?
Dog bite laws in Texas aren’t codified or “on-the-books” statutes. Instead, Texas dog bite laws have been established through court rulings affirming that the Lone Star State follows the one-bite rule.
With the one-bite rule in Texas, injured parties typically need to prove a dog had a history of being dangerous. In other words, if the dog has never bitten or hurt anyone before, it can be very challenging to collect damages under Texas law.
Alternatively, if owners knew or should have known that their dogs are dangerous, those owners can be liable for the injuries their dogs cause.
Here, it’s also essential to know that:
- Dog bite laws can cover more than just bites. They can cover other injuries caused by aggressive dogs, as well as dog attacks.
- Some areas have their own laws regarding dogs, like leash laws. Violating local laws may create liability for dog owners and/or others too.
- Texas law allows at-fault victims to recover, as long as those victims are no more than 50% at fault for the incident that caused their injuries. So, victims who may have gotten too close to dogs (or slightly provoked them) but are still not primarily at fault for the attack may still be eligible to recover compensation under Texas law.
Who Is Liable for Dog Bites in Texas?
Liability for dog bites, as well as other injuries caused by dogs, depends on the circumstances involved. That’s why it’s important to understand local ordinances and state laws while also investigating these incidents carefully.
Based on those investigations and the evidence, parties who may be liable for dog bites (and other injuries) can include (and may not be limited to):
- Dog owners, dog walkers, and/or dog watchers: If these parties aren’t watching dogs or they fail to keep dogs on leashes, they can be liable for the harm caused by the dogs that are in their care.
- Landlords, property managers, and/or property owners: If these parties fail to maintain their properties (and dogs get out) — or if they fail to properly screen dogs for risks prior to move-in — they could be at fault for the injuries caused by dangerous or vicious dogs.
What Should I Do After a Dog Bite, Injury, or Attack?
If you or a loved one is ever attacked, hurt, or bitten by a dog, here are the most important steps to take to get help and safeguard your rights:
- Seek medical attention ASAP: Go to the emergency room or call 911 if the injuries are serious or life-threatening. If not, it’s still crucial to see a doctor as soon as you can, so your injuries can be diagnosed and treated immediately.
- Take pictures: Photograph visible injuries, the scene of the incident, the dog, and/or the individuals present after the attack if possible. You may also want to take videos of the aftermath, especially if or as you speak to others at the scene.
- Get info about the dog: If possible, talk to the dog owner after the attack to get as much info as you can about the dog, its history, and whether it’s attacked or hurt anyone in the past. Do not attempt to do this if the dog owner is combative or if your injuries are serious.
- Record what happened: Write down the facts and details you remember, including the date, time, and location of the incident; what you were doing at the time; how you and the dog encountered each other; the breed, size, and/or unique features of the dog; and anything else you can remember. These notes can be incredibly helpful later.
- Watch what you say: Be careful about the statements you make. Avoid saying admitting fault, denying your injuries, or saying anything that could be used to blame you for the incident later.
- Talk to an attorney: Share your story with a lawyer, ask questions, and get crucial answers about fault, a claim, and what to do next. If you have a dog bite injury case, you won’t have a lot of time to pursue it — and a lawyer can help you take swift action to assert your rights.
What Compensation Is Available for Texas Dog Bite Claims?
Dog bite cases that are successfully resolved can result in damages for several types of losses. Those are outlined in the table below. Keep in mind that dog bite compensation is case-specific and that it usually takes some involved calculations to determine the value of these claims.
|Hospital & doctor bills
|Pain & suffering
|Impacts to quality of life
|Loss of earnings
|Loss of comfort & affection
Find out more about your eligibility for compensation and the value of a potential dog bite claim by contacting an attorney.
Get Valuable Info About Your Rights & a Potential Dog Bite Case
Dog bites and attacks can cause lasting injuries and deep trauma. When you or a loved one is the victim, you can turn to an experienced Texas dog bite lawyer for answers, advocacy, and essential support going forward.
For decades, the Texas attorneys at the Amaro Law Firm have focused on helping victims and families pursue justice and compensation after dog bites and attacks cause serious injuries. No matter what type of trauma has been sustained or how tough a claim may be, we can build strong dog bite cases while working to achieve full, fair recoveries and favorable, efficient resolutions.
Learn about your rights, a potential dog bite injury claim, and how we can help you in a free, confidential consultation.