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Texas Personal Injury News

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Dog Bite Injuries in Texas

Is the owner liable if a dog bites me in Texas?

Texas leads the nation in dog bite fatalities according to DogsBite.org, a national website devoted to reducing the number of dog attacks.  Between 2005 and 2013, 34 fatal dog attacks occurred in Texas, exceeding the national average.  Since that time, over 15 fatal dog attacks have claimed the lives of victims ranging in age from just six days to 85 years old.  Dog bites can lead to a wide array of serious injuries, leaving victims with lasting damages.  At times, the dog owner can be held accountable for the losses suffered by a dog attack victim.

Texas’ Dog Bite Law

Texas courts have adopted what is commonly referred to as a “one bite rule.”  Under Texas law, anyone injured by a dog will need to prove that:

  1. The dog’s owner knew the dog had a history of aggressive behavior or biting; or
  2. The dog’s owner failed to control the dog or reasonably stop the bite and this negligence caused injury to the plaintiff.

The one bite rule can be difficult for a plaintiff to prove.  Some examples of actionable dog bite cases include being bitten by a free roaming dog or being bitten by a dog with a clear bite history.  A dog owner will typically defend against any personal injury claim involving a dog bite by claiming the dog did not have aggressive tendencies or the owner was exercising reasonable care.  For instance, if the dog bit you while on leash and the owner has evidence it was normally friendly, you may struggle to establish the requisite element of negligence in order to bring your claim.  

Given the complexity of a dog bite action in Texas, dog bite victims will want to act fast to secure the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney following the bite.  Dog bite victims will typically have two years from the date of the attack to bring a personal injury claim.  Potential damages in a dog bite injury action include medical bills, lost wages, permanent disfigurement or scarring, and pain and suffering.  Take action if you have been seriously injured by a dog right away.


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Chandler, Mathis & Zivley, PC has offices located in Houston and Lufkin Texas and serves clients throughout East Texas as well as many other states.
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