Houston Dog Bite Lawyer
Each year, more than 4.5 million Americans are bitten in dog attacks. Almost 1 in 5 people bitten by dogs need medical attention. Around 400,000 children receive emergency medical care following a dog bite. That is about half of all of those bitten by dogs. Senior citizens are the second most likely to be bitten by dogs, after children. If you or your child has been attacked by a dog, you may need the help of a dog bite lawyer.
Texas Law on Dog Bites
The law in Texas on dog owner liability is constantly changing. The traditional “One free bite rule” or “one bite rule” still applies. However, most cities have enacted more strict ordinances such as “dangerous dog” codes or “leash laws” which place a higher burden of care on the dog owner. There is also a Texas law, “Lillian’s Law” that creates criminal responsibility when a dog owner allows a known dangerous dog to run at large.
If you have been injured due to an unprovoked attack by someone else’s dog, you need a dog bite lawyer. You need a personal injury attorney who knows how to research the correct laws for your area and apply them to your advantage.
The One Free Bite Rule
If a landowner was aware of a dangerous condition on his property—including an animal—he had a duty to protect and/or warn of the danger. If a dog isn’t aggressive and attacks someone unprovoked, the owner may not be liable. However, after that first attack, the owner knows about the behavior and has a duty to warn/protect.
To prove your case under this rule, you have to show that the owner had knowledge that the dog was dangerous. This is tough. You have to find evidence of prior attacks.
To find this evidence, you may have to interview neighbors. You may also check with the local animal control office. This investigation can be critical to proving your case.
Dangerous Dog Law
The Texas Health and Safety Code, Title 10 Chapter 822, regulates “dangerous dogs.” A dangerous dog is one who has attacked before without provocation. The attack caused bodily harm or made a person believe that bodily harm was imminent. The location of the attack is important under the statute. Once the owner learns the dog is dangerous, he is required to register the dog with animal control and restrain the dog. Failure to do so can result in both civil and criminal penalties.
The law only applies if the owner knows about the previous attack. The owner can claim that they didn’t know the animal was aggressive. They can say that they didn’t know about prior attacks.
The Texas Health and Safety Code allows municipalities and counties to enact dog laws. Municipalities and counties cannot pass laws that are breed specific. For example, banning pit bulls or saying that all Rottweiler owners know that their dogs are dangerous.
Leash laws are similar to dangerous dog laws. They are laws created by municipalities to prevent dogs from roaming free. Cities may impose harsher penalties for violating leash laws. They may also prohibit dogs from being off leash anywhere outside of a confined area. These laws may, in some cases, give an injured person another way to hold an irresponsible pet owner responsible.
What You Need to Prove your Houston Dog Bite Case
If you’ve been attacked by a dog, there are two key points that you need to prove:
- The owner knew or should have known that the dog has behaved aggressively in the past or has bitten before.
- The dog owner negligently failed to control the dog or prevent the attack and that negligence caused your harm. Learn more about dog bite damages.
Here are some elements of proof that you may look to in proving your case:
- Establish proof of ownership
- Gather statements from witnesses who saw the attack
- Talk to the neighbors, has the dog been aggressive in the past
- Check for records of past attacks or aggressive behavior
The above evidence can help establish that negligence led to the attack and your injuries.
All Dogs Can Attack – Contact a Houston Dog Bite Lawyer Today
Although some breeds are known to attack more than others, all dogs can attack. It is important to teach your children how to interact with animals. It is also important to teach them to steer clear of any dog that they don’t know.
Finding the help that you need after a vicious animal attack can be difficult. Consult with a personal injury attorney who understands the law. Chelsie King Garza can help. Contact her today.