Sugar Land dog bite cases are much more frequent than most people realize. Dogs are common household pets and they are usually friendly and playful, but unfortunately, some people keep dangerous dogs that have the potential to inflict harm on innocent people.
Dog bite attacks not only cause significant physical harm, but they can also be psychologically damaging. If you or someone you love was injured by someone else’s dog, then you may be entitled to file a dog bite injury claim.
At Abraham Watkins, our Sugar Land personal injury attorneys have dealt with numerous dog bite attack claims throughout the state of Texas with great success. We are here to support you through this emotional time and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Arrange a free consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers today at 713-535-9319.
Dangerous Dog Facts
The statistics in the United States are shocking: up to 4.5 million people suffer dog bite injuries every year, and around 334,000 require an emergency room visit.
Unfortunately, almost half of those bitten are children under 12. Another 10% are 70 or older, and around 20% of them are killed.
Dog Bite Laws in Sugar Land, Texas
Animal attacks are taken seriously in the United States, especially if the dog’s owner knew they posed a potential danger.
If someone suffers a dog bite, then the owner could be liable for both civil and criminal charges. However, criminal charges do not result in compensation for the injured party. In order to recover damages, you need to file a personal injury claim with the help of a Sugar Land dog bite lawyer.
In 2007, “Lillian’s Law” was passed in Texas after Lillian Stiles, a 76-year-old woman was tragically killed by a pack of pit bulls.
Lillian’s Law means that dog owners can be found guilty of criminal negligence if they fail to secure their dog and they go on to make an unprovoked attack at a location other than their property if that attack results in injury or death.
A violation of Lillian’s Law is a third-degree felony and if the dog attack results in death, then the dog bite owner will face a second-degree felony.
One Bite Rule
In Texas, owners are subject to the “one bite law” for personal injury claims resulting from dog bites.
Under this law, if the dog has bitten someone before, then the dog owner can be held liable for any subsequent attacks.
However, if the dog has never bitten anyone before, then it will be more difficult to prove liability. Instead, the case will need to be based on the dog’s previous behavior, such as signs of aggression and close calls. They may still be found liable if the dog bite owner was violating other laws in Texas, the most common being leash laws.
Establishing Negligence in Sugar Land, Texas.
Not all dog attacks result in compensation for the victim. In order to raise a successful claim, you will need to prove negligence under personal injury law or premises liability law.
In order to prove negligence and claim, you will need to prove that:
- The dog owner had a duty of care to you.
- The dog owner breached their duty of care.
- The breach of the duty of care caused your injuries.
- You suffered damages as a result of the breach of the duty of care.
The Stages of a Dog Bite Claim in Texas
While every dog bite case is unique and requires an evaluation from a skilled personal injury attorney, they each follow similar stages:
Free Initial Consultation
The first step in any personal injury or premises liability case at Abraham Watkins is a free consultation. This will give you an opportunity to explain what happened to your attorney. They will ask important questions and determine whether they believe you have a claim.
This will also give you an opportunity to meet with your attorney and determine whether you want to continue with your claim. When you have received the information you need and have asked any questions you have, you can choose whether you wish to continue with representation.
At Abraham Watkins, your dog bite lawyer will get to work immediately, collecting evidence and investigating your case. They will speak to witnesses, collect medical records, obtain police reports, search for CCTV, and gather evidence regarding the dog’s previous behavior.
Now your attorney will work out what damages you may be able to recover and how much you are owed in compensation. They will take into account your economic damages such as medical expenses and lost wages and non-economic damages such as your pain and suffering.
Non-economic damages can be difficult to calculate, and it is important that you have representation from a skilled attorney who can fight for what you deserve. Your emotional wellbeing, loss of enjoyment, and long-term pain and suffering should all be represented in your settlement figure.
Filing a Lawsuit
If the other party declines the settlement offer, then your attorney will be prepared to take your case to court. They will advocate on your behalf, stand up for your rights and fight to secure what you are owed.
Possible Defenses Against Your Dog Bite Claim
When you sue someone following a dog bite, they may come back with arguments against your case. Your attorney at Abraham Watkins will prepare for the possible defenses they may use and ensure you have a strong case.
Possible defenses to dog bite claims include:
- You were trespassing on someone else’s property when the dog attack or bite occurred.
- The dog owners did not know of the dog’s potential for dangerous behavior.
- You provoked the dog and therefore share responsibility for your injuries.
Texas dog bite laws require the dog owner to be aware of the dog’s aggressive tendencies in order for a claim to be made against them. Your attorney will look for evidence that they were aware of the dog’s behavior. This could include previous police reports or witness statements.
If you were trespassing when you were attacked, or you provoked the animal, then the owner could successfully argue that you share some of the blame. However, even if they successfully evidence that you shared some of the blame, an attorney will fight to limit your liability.
Even if you were partially at fault, you can still claim compensation in Texas, although your settlement may be reduced. For example, if you were trespassing you could be found to be 20% at fault, and your settlement will be reduced by 20%.
If the victim is a child, then they automatically, it is assumed that they did not know better and are not therefore liable for their actions. Dog owners owe a high duty of care to children and will probably be found liable if a child is injured by their dog.
Texas dog bite laws are complex and vary widely depending on the circumstances of your case. A Sugar Land dog bite lawyer can help ensure you have a strong case and will prepare counter-arguments for the defenses that a dog owner or their insurance company might prepare.
Is it Worth Seeking a Dog Bite Claim in Sugar Land, Texas?
Dog bite victims are often left with serious injuries and damages can quickly add up. Medical expenses, lost wages and indirect costs such as child care and transport quickly add up. Paired with the emotional suffering and pain, you absolutely deserve compensation.
Not only will compensation help relieve the financial burden and stress associated with the aftermath of a dog bite, but it will also allow you to focus fully on your recovery. Rather than rushing back to work before you’re ready, you will have the time and space to focus on your health.
Holding a dog bite owner accountable for their actions also helps protect other people. When the owner is held liable, they are forced to face up to their actions and will hopefully take greater care in the future.
When you seek help from Abraham Watkins, we work on a no-win-no-fee basis. That means that it will not cost you anything to hire an attorney from our team. Instead, our fee is taken from your settlement, and only if you are successful. If your case is unsuccessful, then you will not owe us anything.
Seeking compensation for a dog bite with the help of a personal injury attorney carries no risk to you. We will take over all the legal processes, keeping you informed along the way. We will take away the stress and fight for what is owed to you.
Hire a Sugar Land Dog Bite Lawyer Today
If you or someone you love suffered a dog attack, then you may be entitled to compensation, and it is important that you contact our law firm as soon as possible.
We will get to work immediately to gather evidence and build the strongest case possible on your behalf. The sooner you seek professional legal help, the better chance you stand of receiving the compensation that is rightfully yours. Call Abraham Watkins on 713-535-9319 to set up a free consultation.
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