Dog bites can cause devastating injuries that have a lasting impact on the rest of your life. Thankfully, tort law recognizes as much, so victims are often entitled to seek compensation. While filing a claim against the owner won’t erase what happened, it could yield the money needed to make your life whole again in the aftermath of the attack.
If you’re wondering whether you have grounds for a claim, it’s wise to consult a personal injury attorney. A knowledgeable professional can evaluate the situation from all angles and let you know whether proceeding has the potential to be worthwhile.
Generally speaking, you probably have a strong case for compensation if all of the following applies:
1. The Owner Knew (or Should Have Known) the Dog Had a Propensity to Attack
When it comes to personal injury claims involving animal attacks, Texas applies a “one bite rule.” That means the owner is typically only liable if the dog in question has a history of aggression.
Put another way, you’re going to have to prove that the dog had already bitten at least one other person and that the owner knew about it or should have known about it. If the animal had never exhibited any dangerous behavior prior to biting you, it may not be possible to hold the owner liable.
2. The Owner Failed to Take Reasonable Measures to Prevent the Attack
Unlike some states, Texas does not hold pet owners strictly liable for damages their animals cause. In most cases, injured parties must prove that the owner was negligent and that this breach of duty was responsible for the incident. In other words, the claimant must show that the owner could have somehow prevented the attack but failed to do so.
Here are some of the most common examples of negligence that can result in a devastating dog bite:
- Failing to erect a proper fence or locking gate,
- Failing to fix a broken fence,
- Failing to put the dog in another room before answering the door, and
- Letting the dog off the leash in public spaces.
3. You Incurred Actual Damages as a Result of the Attack
The third and final element of every successful dog bite claim is recoverable damages. You must have incurred legitimate losses in the wake of the attack.
For example, did you need medical care? Were you billed by the hospital for any out-of-pocket expenses? Were you forced to miss work, and did you end up losing income as a result?
These are the kinds of questions you should ask yourself to determine whether you suffered actual damages. If the answer is yes, you probably have grounds for a claim.
Call 713-893-8808 for a Free Consultation with a Houston Dog Bite Attorney
Finding the right attorney to represent you after an animal attack can be challenging. Fortunately, if you turn to Chelsie King Garza, P.C., you’ll know you’re in good hands.
A compassionate professional, Chelsie has successfully litigated complex cases in both state and federal courts. Submit the Contact Form on her website or call 713-893-8808 to schedule a free initial consultation this Houston dog bite lawyer.