Understanding Texas Dog Bite Laws: Your Rights as an Animal Attack Victim - Tips from a Dallas Personal Injury Lawyer

The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that 4.5 million dog bites take place in the United States each year. What's more, nearly one in five dog bite victims need to go to the doctor, which is frequently expensive. Any breed or size dog may bite, and the lion's share of bites are the result of negligence on the part of the dog's owner. In other words, in cases where a dog bites or attacks a person, the victim may be able to file a lawsuit against the dog's owner. Even if the owner takes reasonable precautions, they may be held responsible for any harm caused by their animal.

Keep reading to learn about your rights after a dog attack and how to handle the aftermath. And if you've been involved in a dog attack in Texas, don't hesitate to contact a seasoned, skilled attorney as soon as you can.

Evaluation of Dog Bite or Attack Severity

The Association of Professional Dog Trainers uses a grading system developed by veterinarians to determine the severity of dog bites:

  • Dogs are considered to be at Level 1 when they show "obnoxious or aggressive behavior" toward a human but stop short of biting the person.
  • At the second difficulty level, the dog's teeth brush against the skin but are unable to penetrate it. Minor bleeding or nicks may still be present.
  • For level three bites, no more than half of the dog's canine teeth are pierced in any one bite, although at least one and up to four punctures occur. Bite wounds could be severe at this depth.
  • There must be at least one puncture deeper than the middle third of the dog's canine teeth to qualify as a level-four bite. These bites often cause severe bruising as well.
  • The dog attacks the person several times at level five, leaving at least two bite wounds of Level 4 intensity.
  • Finally, dog bites or attacks of level six severity kill the victim.

Filing a Claim After a Dog Attack in Texas

Different states have varying regulations regarding dog bites. When it comes to dog bites under Texas law, the injured party must demonstrate a dog owner's negligence in order to receive compensation. Negligence is defined as a failure to take ordinary care, or the type of care that a reasonably wise and careful person would exhibit in the same situation. A dog bite victim may file a negligent handling claim against the dog owner if the owner does not manage the dog in a reasonable and cautious manner. For instance, a reasonable person wouldn't let a stray dog play in a yard with small children. To be successful in a suit for negligent handling, the plaintiff must demonstrate the following:

  • The defendant possessed or owned a pet and had a responsibility to take reasonable precautions to stop the pet from injuring other people.
  • The defendant failed in this reasonable "duty of care."
  • The plaintiff was injured as a direct result of this violation.

The negligence rule in Texas is applicable to other dog-related injuries as well, not only dog bites. For instance, if a large dog jumps on an elderly person, knocks them to the ground, and breaks a bone, the victim can file a lawsuit for damages against the dog's owner. Once again, it must be demonstrated that the dog's owner knew the animal was hostile or that they did not take reasonable precautions to keep the animal from hurting other people.

In Texas, the principles of negligence, negligence per se, scienter, and intentional tort all allow for the recovery of damages from dog bite victims. It is also actionable if an individual fails to stop an attack when it is already underway.

What Should I Do After a Dog Bite in Texas?

Understanding Texas Dog Bite Laws: Your Rights as an Animal Attack Victim - Tips from a Dallas Personal Injury LawyerIf a dog attacks or bites you, it's important to find out what kind of dog it is and collect the owner's information immediately. You should also report the assault to the police as soon as possible.

The injured party's burden of proof may be lessened if a law enforcement official investigates the situation and verifies the facts surrounding the incident. From there, seeking medical treatment after a dog bite is vital.

Not only is it important to ensure that your wounds are evaluated and cleaned properly, but this also allows your medical treatment to be officially documented in the event that you file an injury claim. Of course, the victim must act quickly to initiate a civil complaint against the dog owner. In the state of Texas, the time restriction for filing a claim for damages due to personal injury is two years.

Seeking Damages After a Dog Bite

Medical expenses can be covered by compensation in dog bite injury claims. Dog saliva makes these wounds more susceptible to infection, and a serious dog bite can leave disfiguring scars. Children are especially susceptible to developing a lifetime fear of dogs if they experience emotional trauma from an occurrence like this one.

Unfortunately, dog bites can result in various medical complications and even death. Damages can include medical bills and lost wages from time away from work.

Victims can also seek recompense for non-quantifiable damages, like mental anguish, trauma, and loss of consortium. Punitive damages are possible in dog bite cases, but only in extreme circumstances when the owner's behavior was particularly negligent.

Call a Dallas Personal Injury Lawyer After a Dog Bite

Dog bites frequently result in expensive medical bills and rehabilitation costs. Furthermore, victims frequently cannot return to their previous jobs (or cannot work in the same role). Why should you or your family bear the financial burden when a dog owner's negligence caused your injuries? If you live in Texas and have suffered dog bite injuries, contact a Dallas personal injury lawyer. You may find that you're entitled to compensation to offset your losses and damages.

Our staff at the Rasansky Law Firm is skilled at assisting victims of injury-causing accidents. When you're ready to discuss your legal rights and options after a dog attack, call 214-617-1816 to arrange a free, no-obligation evaluation of your case.



2525 McKinnon Street #550 Dallas, Texas 75201

Note: The information that was utilized in this post was gathered from the use of secondary sources. This information used has not been confirmed or independently verified. If you locate any information that is not correct, please contact our firm as soon as possible so that we can make the appropriate corrections. If you find any information that is false, we will remove or correct the post immediately after it is brought to our attention.

Disclaimer: As a valued member of the Dallas community, Rasansky Law Firm’s goal is to improve the safety of all residents in the great state of Texas. These posts should not be viewed as a solicitation for business and the information included herein should not be taken as medical or legal advice. The photos used in this post are not representative of the actual crash scene.

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