Dog attacks can happen when least expected and can cause significant injuries including lacerations, puncture wounds, permanent scarring or disfigurement, and even wrongful death. These attacks can also cause significant emotional injuries.
One Bite Rule
Texas adheres to the so called “one bite rule.” As it applies to dog bites, this doctrine holds that a victim can recover compensation from the owner, harborer or keeper of a dog if (1) the dog previously bit a person; and (2) the defendant was aware of the dog’s previous conduct. Essentially, after the dog’s first attack or biting incident, the owner is said to be on notice of his or her dog’s aggressive behavior. This isn’t a free pass, but rather, an indicator that an owner whose dog has bitten someone in the past is more likely to be deemed negligent for failing to prevent a later bite.
Texas also allows a dog bite victim compensation on the ground of negligence. In Marshall v. Ranne, 511 S.W.2d 255, 256 (Tex. 1974), the Court stated that an owner of a non-vicious animal can be “subject to liability for his negligent handling of such an animal.” Negligence is the lack of ordinary care; that is, absence of the kind of care a reasonably prudent and careful person would exercise in similar circumstances. If a person’s conduct in a given circumstance does not measure up to the conduct of an ordinarily prudent and careful person, then that person is negligent.
Negligence Per Se
Another cause of action includes negligence per se. In Texas, a violation of an animal control law can result in liability on the part of the violator, whether he owns the dog. States, counties, and cities often have laws requiring dogs to be restrained by a leash or prohibit them from roaming at large. With few exceptions, courts have ruled that violating such laws can be the basis of liability. To prevail on a claim for negligence per se, the litigant must show that there was a violation of a statute or an ordinance and that the violation was the cause of injury.
If you or someone you love has been injured as a result of someone else’s negligent acts, contact an experienced attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner by calling 713-222-7211 or 1-800-870-9584 for your free consultation. The law firm of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner is the longest standing personal injury firm in Texas, and our attorneys are standing by to assist with your claim.