Dog Bite Attorneys in Houston Can Help Animal Attack Victims Get Justice
Canines are often referred to as “man’s best friend,” but everyone knows the damage a vicious dog can do. Unfortunately, it’s not even just aggressive dogs that can cause harm. Seemingly docile pets can get spooked or over-excited when they’re out in public, and this could lead them to inadvertently hurt someone. When this happens, it’s often because a dog owner failed to reasonably control their pet while around others. In such situations, the owner’s negligence often leaves them liable for the financial recovery of the victim.
If you were bitten by an animal, you may be able to file a suit for compensation with the aid of a personal injury attorney from Houston. So long as you file within two years of the day the incident took place, courts will allow you to present your case. Enlist the aid of a dog bite lawyer in Houston to defend your rights and get you compensation for your losses. The Law Office of Denise Adkison-Brown will provide a free consultation to help you better understand your rights.
Duty of Care in Canine Bite Cases
When a pet owner and dog bite victim contend with the legal aftermath of an incident, the state directs all parties to the “one-bite rule.” This rule notes that the injured person may only receive compensation from the defense in certain cases if the canine in question had bitten someone in the past. This rule has led to the oversimplified saying that “the first dog bite is free,” because it’s essentially the first attack that puts the dog owner on notice that their pet may have an aggressive tendency.
The dog’s owner must have been aware of their pet’s violent history. If an owner was unaware of the animal’s history of violence—or if the canine had not bitten anyone before—then it becomes more difficult for dog bite liability to be determined. After all, civil law typically requires that a liable party fail in a duty of care. How could a pet owner know they had a duty of care due to a dangerous pet if that pet had no dog bite victims in its past?
Fortunately, the existence of the one-bite rule does not necessarily mean victims can’t receive compensation for their severe injuries. A skilled animal attack attorney in Houston could help a plaintiff determine if the one bite rule applies to their case—and if it does, they may be able to help prove that a dog owner acted negligently in other ways. Dog bite law in Texas is complicated, but it still allows victims to seek justice.
Unique Standards in Texas
The state’s one-bite rule permits all pets and their owners a single incident without penalties when it comes to unanticipated violent behavior. However, this allowance is relatively unique. Most states have canine bite statutes in place designed to immediately allow injured parties to file for compensation—regardless of the canine’s history, or lack thereof, of violence. This approach entered Texas law in 1974 due to a case involving injuries caused by an individual’s pet boar.
Because of this standard, it is difficult for injured people to fight for compensation for their losses in certain circumstances. Fortunately, it is not impossible. People who have been injured in dog attacks have the right to discuss their legal options with a diligent animal bite attorney. A Houston dog bite lawyer can help you better understand the unique factors in your case and how to best move forward.
Can Dog Bite Victims Recover Damages if a Dog Never Bit Anyone Before?
The simplest way to prove negligence in cases involving dog bites is to show that the owner had prior knowledge that their pet could hurt someone. It’s not even necessary for this proof to involve dog bite injuries. If the animal has previous incidents where they harmed humans in any way—even if they merely caused a broken wrist from jumping on someone in an overexcited state—such incidents can be used to prove liability.
Liability for dog bite injuries can also be shown, however, by proving the owner failed in a duty of care. For instance, a Houston dog bite lawyer may be able to show that a canine was roaming freely because the owner’s property wasn’t properly secured. Similarly, a failure to abide by leash laws while in public could serve as evidence of negligence. The following section will discuss how this process could play out in court.
Proving Negligence in Animal Attacks
Someone could fight for compensation following a dog bite in several ways. If there is no evidence of prior violence on the part of the canine, the claimant has the option to argue that an owner failed to control their dog and that this led to the ensuing attack. No matter how the incident unfolded, though, it must be proven that the defense:
- Owned the dog in question
- Owed the prosecution a duty of care
- Failed to uphold that duty of care
- Caused the claimant’s injuries through that failure
These are many of the same issues involved in any personal injury case. In fact, personal injury trial law has a much larger effect on some cases than Texas dog bite laws. It essentially comes down to the at-fault party acting negligently and causing another individual’s injuries. Dog owners have a duty to prevent their pets from harming others, and in some cases, this remains true even if there was no evidence their animal was a dangerous dog.
Don’t make assumptions about your case. A dog bite attorney in Houston can provide legal advice on your specific situation and let you know if you have a valid legal claim. As we’ve already mentioned, though, there is a deadline for filing a claim. Don’t risk continuing financial difficulties by failing to hold the dog owner liable. Contact a skilled personal injury attorney today.
Do I Need a Houston Dog Bite Attorney?
An understanding of how the law handles dog bites in Texas can go a long way after you’re injured. In fact, it can come in handy if the insurance company of the animal’s owner calls and offers to take care of everything for you. They’ll likely sound very concerned with your well-being and ensure you everything can be handled without involving dog bite lawyers. Working directly with the insurer may seem like a sound strategy that can get you paid quickly. Unfortunately, an insurance company will rarely offer a settlement that takes into account the full losses caused by dog bites.
No matter what an insurance adjuster says, their job is to offer as little as possible for a dog bite injury. They understand just how costly these attacks can be, and they know that unexpected expenses can quickly arise in the future. In fact, you may end up needing years of physical or mental therapy—and this might not become apparent for weeks or even months after the attack. An experienced dog bite lawyer will be able to provide a case evaluation and help figure out if you might face future losses.
While it may not seem fair, the simple fact is that victims of dog attacks typically receive higher settlement offers and court awards when they have legal representation. An attorney can help ensure the insurance company doesn’t take advantage of you, and if your case must be decided in court, an experienced trial lawyer is your best weapon. Hiring an attorney is a personal decision, but choosing not to can prove detrimental. If you lost a loved one in one of America’s few yearly fatal dog attacks, though, you should not hesitate to seek legal advice.
Discuss Your Case with a Dog Bite Lawyer in Houston Now
Dog bite injuries are painful and can leave lasting damage. After suffering such an attack, you are likely wondering what your next step should be. You’re no doubt facing significant medical bills and lost wages, and these losses could pale in comparison to the physical pain and emotional distress you’re going through. Fortunately, you don’t have to face these challenges on your own. Houston dog bite lawyers can help you seek compensation by dealing with insurers and a potential trial—allowing you the necessary time to focus on healing.
Dog bite cases in Texas can be quite complex, so don’t hesitate to reach out to the Law Office of Denise Adkison-Brown today. Denise is a personal injury attorney that spent a decade working for insurance companies and at-fault parties, so she understands the strategies employed to try to minimize compensation to those injured by a dog attack. Contact us today by calling (713) 714-6206 for a free consultation. A dog bite lawyer in Houston will review your case and help you understand the best course of action.