At Abraham Watkins, we have helped numerous Houston dog bite victims to claim the compensation they deserve. Dog owners have a duty to protect the public from their pets, and if their dog causes someone harm, they can be found liable for the injuries and damages that their dog has caused.
Dog bites not only have the potential to cause serious injuries, but they are also psychologically damaging and can leave lifelong physical and emotional scars.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a dog bite attack, then you should speak to one of our Houston dog bite lawyers as soon as possible. We are here to fight for your rights so that you can focus on your recovery.
Arrange a free consultation with a Houston dog bite attorney today at 713-535-9319.
Houston Dog Bite Injuries
Dog bite attacks vary massively in their ability to harm victims. People can be left with anything from minor wounds to lifelong injuries. No matter how small your injury may seem, it is essential that you seek medical attention. This will prevent infection, and your record of medical treatment will be essential when it comes to recovering damages in your dog bite liability claim.
Some of the most common dog bite injuries we see are:
When a dog bite victim is attacked by a large dog, it is common for them to suffer crushing injuries. Large dogs have the capability to utilize an incredible amount of force, and their jaws can fracture, break, or crush bones while also damaging muscles and soft tissues.
A dog bite injury involving crushing can be incredibly serious when it happens to young children or infants. That is why infants account for around 12% of fatal dog attacks.
An avulsion is where the skin or tissue is torn away. These injuries are very serious and usually require reconstructive surgery, and can leave the victim with hefty medical bills.
Lacerations are deep cuts or tears that are deep enough to damage the bones, muscles, nerves, and blood vessels. They often lead to excessive bleeding and require quick medical attention, or the victim may suffer from loss of blood.
Superficial injuries such as scapes and grazes that don’t break your deeper layers of skin are known as abrasions. They rarely cause much blood loss, and victims may be tempted to treat these injuries at home. However, it is essential you seek medical care to avoid any infections.
When a dog’s teeth puncture the skin, they can lead to serious injuries, especially if they become infected. These open wounds have the potential to turn nasty quickly if they are not treated quickly.
Rabies is a serious infection responsible for around 50,000 deaths every year worldwide. While it is not common in the United States, if irresponsible dog owners fail to get their pets vaccinated, then it is a possibility.
Dog bite victims should check if the animal has had a rabies shot. If you can’t find out or can’t be certain, then you should go straight to the emergency room. Medical personnel will be able to give you treatments to prevent rabies from developing, but time is of the essence and you must receive this treatment as quickly as possible.
Rabies can be particularly dangerous because while symptoms may begin within a day or so, they can take over a year to appear. The first symptom is usually tingling around the wound, followed by feelings of aggression and confusion. You could also experience paralysis, muscle spasms, sensitivity to light and sound, and difficulty speaking. If you think you could be at risk, then you should call 911 immediately.
Around 10-15% of dog bites cause an infection, usually from the dog’s mouth. It is essential that you wash any wounds, and if you notice any signs of infection such as swelling, redness, or puss, then you should seek medical attention right away. You may need antibiotics to clear the infected wound.
Tetanus is another infection that is caused by the bacteria on the victim’s skin or in the environment. Your doctor will give you a tetanus shot if they believe you are at risk.
Dog bite victims are often left with long-term scars. Modern medicine has come a long way in recent years and your compensation could be used to recover costs for grafts or laser therapy to reduce your scarring.
When a bite reaches the nerves, it can cause severe pain and temporary or permanent loss of function. In extreme cases, it can cause paralysis.
Wrongful Death Following a Dog Attack
In the worst-case scenario, a dog bite can lead to someone’s death. If you have lost a loved one because of a dog bite, you may qualify to file a wrongful death claim. This will compensate you for your economic losses such as funeral expenses and loss of income to a family household, and your emotional distress.
While no amount of money can ever make up for losing someone close to you, it will take away the financial burden so you can focus on what’s important.
Houston Dog Bite Law
When a dog attacks and causes serious injury, the owner of the dog may face criminal or civil charges under Texas Law. The criminal charges do not lead to compensation being awarded to the victim, however.
To seek compensation, you will need to file civil charges and the best way to do this is to seek the help of a skilled and experienced Sugar land dog bite attack attorney. This will allow the victim to seek compensation for their damages and dog bite injuries, such as their medical expenses.
Criminal Charges For Dog Bites
In accordance with the Texas Health and Safety Code Section 822.005, a dog owner can be charged with a felony if:
- They fail to secure their dog when away from their own property, and it attacks a person unprovoked.
- The owner was aware that their dog was dangerous and failed to secure their dog when away from their property.
- The above situations cause serious bodily harm or death.
Lillian’s Law came into force in 2007 after a 76-year-old woman called Lillian Stiles was tragically killed by a group of Pitbulls.
Thanks to Lillian’s Law dog owners can face criminal charges if they fail to secure their dog and they attack unprovoked at a location different from their owners’ property.
When someone faces charges under Lillian’s Law they could be found guilty of a third-degree felony if the victim suffered serious injuries, or a second-degree felony if the attack led to the death of the victim.
One Bite Rule
A Houston dog bite claim may be subject to the One Bite Rule. This means that if the dog has bitten someone before, then the owner is liable for subsequent attacks.
If the dog had never bitten anyone before, then it is more difficult to prove liability, but it is still possible. Your attorney may look to prove that the owner knew they had an aggressive dog based on their previous behavior, or perhaps that the owner was in violation of other Texas laws, such as leash laws.
Negligence in Houston, TX
Not all dog bite victims receive compensation for their injuries. In order to have a successful claim, your attorney will look to prove negligence under liability law or personal injury law.
To establish negligence, three aspects must be proven:
- The dog owner owed you a duty of care – All dog owners owe the public a duty of care to keep them safe from their pets.
- They breached their duty of care – For example, they knowingly allowed a dangerous dog loose in a public space, or failed to warn visitors to their property that their dog could be dangerous.
- The breach caused your injuries – The dog attack must have directly caused the injuries that you are seeking compensation for.
Should I Seek Compensation for a Houston Dog Bite Injury?
It is essential that a dog owner’s negligence does not leave you with mounting bills and financial difficulty. Medical bills and lost wages quickly add up, and not only do you deserve to be compensated for your economic losses, but also for your emotional and physical pain.
When you don’t have to worry about paying for all the expenses associated with animal attacks, you will be able to focus fully on your recovery.
Additionally, it is important that dog owners are held accountable for their actions. Hopefully, this will mean that they take greater care in the future and no one else suffers the way you have suffered.
Remember, even if a negligent dog owner is found guilty of criminal charges, you will not receive compensation unless you seek compensation from them through a civil lawsuit. It is also good to know that even if they are not found guilty, you may still be able to seek compensation for them, as the burden of proof for civil claims is much lower.
At Abraham Watkins, we work on a contingency fee basis, which means that seeking compensation will not cost you anything. We only take a fee if your claim is successful, and only as a percentage of what you are awarded. Therefore, you will never be out of pocket and if your claim does not succeed, then we will not be paid anything.
Dog bite claims are complex, but with the help of a personal injury attorney, you can focus on your recovery. They will take over all the legal processes and fight on your behalf. You have nothing to lose.
Dangerous Dog Statistics
Around 4.5 million people are victims of dog attacks each year and around 334 thousand of them require an emergency room visit.
Shockingly, nearly half of the victims are children under 12. Around 10% are aged 70 or over, and close to 20% of them suffer fatal injuries.
The Stages of a Dog Bite Claim in Houston, Texas
Each dog bite case is unique and requires a skilled personal injury attorney to determine how to proceed to maximize your chances of success. However, they generally follow the same stages:
Free Case Evaluation for Dog Bite Victims
At Abraham Watkins, we offer a free consultation for dog bite victims. This gives you an opportunity to explain the circumstances of your case so that they can determine if they believe you have a valid claim.
This is also an opportunity for you to meet your attorney and ask any questions you might have. Once you have met with them, you can make an informed decision on whether you want to continue with your claim.
If you agree to representation from a personal injury attorney at Abraham Watkins, they will act promptly to collect evidence and investigate your case. They will collect medical records, police reports, CCTV, witness statements, and more.
They will determine whether you have a personal injury or premises liability claim and whether the dog owner knew or should have known that their dog posed a risk. They will also investigate whether any other laws were broken, such as Texas leash laws.
Calculation of Damages
The next step is to work out what you are owed in compensation. That will include your economic damages, such as your medical bills, lost wages, and more. They will also determine the value of your non-economic damages, which are designed to compensate you for your pain and suffering, including emotional distress and loss of enjoyment.
For example, if your injuries mean that you can no longer participate in hobbies you once enjoyed, then you deserve to be compensated for that. These types of damages are difficult to quantify, but a skilled attorney will work to maximize their value through strong evidence.
Filing a Lawsuit
If the other party, which could be the dog owner or an insurance company, declines your settlement offer, then your case could be taken to court. When this happens, your attorney will fight for your rights and use the evidence they have collected to secure what you are owed.
Possible Defenses Against Your Dog Bite Case
When you make a claim against a dog owner, they may come back with arguments, the most common being that they were not aware they had a vicious dog.
At Abraham Watkins, we will prepare for possible defenses and ensure that we have evidence to ensure you have a solid case.
Possible defenses include:
- The dog owner did not know that the dog had the potential to be dangerous.
- You provoked the dog and therefore hold some responsibility for what happened.
- You were illegally trespassing on someone else’s property when the dog attack happened.
In accordance with state law, the dog owner must have been aware of the dog’s potential to act aggressively in order for you to make a claim against them. Your attorney will look for evidence that the owner should have known about the dog’s behavior through police reports, witness statements, and more.
If you were trespassing when the dog bite occurred, or you provoked the animal, then it may be possible for the owner to argue that you are partially to blame. However, even if they can establish that you hold some reliability, you can still make a claim.
For example, if you were trespassing, then you could be found to be 30% at fault for the incident, and your settlement will therefore be reduced by 30%. A dog bite attorney will fight to limit your liability and maximize the amount you will receive.
Children, on the other hand, are not considered to know better, and cannot be found liable for their actions. This means that the dog owner or insurance company will need to pay out the full amount in compensation even if the child provoked the animal or trespassed.
Dog bite laws in Texas are complex and varied, but a personal injury attorney will ensure you have a strong case. They will prepare counterarguments for any possible defenses to strengthen your claim.
Houston Dog Bite FAQ
Q: Can I get compensation for being bitten by a dog?
A: If someone else’s dog bit you and you have physical injuries, then you may be owed compensation. Dog owners have a responsibility to keep others safe from harm in Texas regardless of whether they are at home or in public.
Q: Who is liable for a dog bite in Texas?
A: The owner is liable if their dog bites someone. If they had cause to believe that their dog could pose a danger, then they are strictly liable.
Q: Will a dog be put down for biting someone in Texas?
A: If a dog bites someone in Texas, it does not mean that they are required to be put down. The law places responsibility on the owner and not on the dog itself.
Q: What if my own dog bites me?
A: If your own dog bites you, then you usually cannot hold anyone liable for your injuries.
Q: Can you sue for a minor dog bite in Texas?
A: Yes, no matter how small your injuries if they caused you damages, such as medical bills, then you can make a claim.
Q: How long do dog bite cases normally take to complete and settle?
A: Every dog bite case is different, and how long it takes to settle will depend on how complex the case is. It may take months or years, but your attorney will be able to give you a rough timeline in your free consultation based on the circumstances of your individual case.
Hire a Houston Dog Bite Lawyer Today
Dogs are the most popular pet in the state of Texas. Many people get a dog for companionship, some, to protect the household.
Fortunately, the majority of dogs, when trained well, will not bite or attack a human. However, there are exceptions and these dogs can cause serious damage or harm when they turn.
Dog attacks and dog bites can be extremely traumatic for the victim, especially if the victim is a small child or elderly person. It can be easy to let your guard down, especially when a dog’s owner has told you that the dog is not dangerous.
If you have been the victim of a dog bite or attack on another person’s property, you may be able to raise a dog bite injury claim in Houston, TX and you should know your legal rights.
Here at Abraham Watkins, we can allocate you a dedicated personal injury attorney, one who has experience in cases just like yours. They will be able to answer any questions you have and will be able to evaluate your case, informing you whether they think your situation warrants a compensation claim. Call Abraham Watkins on 713-535-9319 for a free consultation now with a Houston personal injury lawyer.
We offer a free consultation to prospective clients. If you have been injured and wish to speak to one of our attorneys in a no-cost consultation, please call us at (713) 222-7211. or toll free at 713-222-7211
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