Some states hold dog owners strictly liable for bite-related damages. That means injured parties don’t have to prove negligence in order to secure compensation.
Unfortunately, Texas isn’t one of them. If you were attacked by someone else’s dog in the Lone Star State, you’re going to face an additional hurdle during the subsequent proceedings.
Like other kinds of tort claims, those involving dog bites are founded on negligence in Texas. As such, victims have to prove the owner knew—or should have known—the animal was dangerous before they can hold him or her liable for their losses.
Generally speaking, a dangerous dog is one that has a history of aggression and has already attacked someone without provocation. Additionally, the incident must have caused bodily harm, or at least made the victim believe bodily harm was imminent.
Once a dog has bitten someone, the owner is required by law to register the animal and then take reasonable measures to restrain it at all times. If the dog that bit you had already been registered with animal control, proving it was dangerous may be as easy as requesting a copy of the associated records and then presenting them to the insurance adjuster.
If, on the other hand, it wasn’t, you’re going to have to find another way to demonstrate the animal’s history of aggression. Deposing the owner’s neighbors and mail carriers is a good starting point. Obtaining statements from relevant experts, like veterinarians and dog trainers, could also bolster your claim.
After compiling enough evidence to convince the insurance adjuster the animal was indeed dangerous, you’re going to have to prove that the owner breached their duty of care. In other words, they must have failed to restrain the dog to a reasonable degree. This is where eyewitness testimony, surveillance footage, and incident reports can come in handy.
What If the Dog That Bit Me Doesn’t Have a History of Aggression?
In most cases, an owner is not liable for an attack if the dog has not yet been deemed dangerous. As such, one of the most common defenses to dog bite claims is that the owner was unaware of the animal’s aggressive nature. While fighting this defense can certainly pose a challenge, a resourceful law firm should have a number of strategies for doing so.
Whether any such strategies pay off will depend on the facts of the case. You can rest assured, however, that if you enlist help from a seasoned attorney, they’ll leave no stone unturned when investigating the incident.
Speak with a Dog Bite Attorney in Houston
If you were bitten by someone else’s dog, you have enough to worry about without having to compile evidence of liability and damages. Thankfully, Chelsie King Garza, P.C. can help.
A seasoned personal injury attorney, she has successfully litigated complex cases in both state and federal court. Call 713-893-8808 or fill out her Online Contact Form to set up a free consultation with a dog bite lawyer in Houston.