There’s a reason why dogs have been called man’s best friend. Approximately 42.5 million households in the U.S. own one or more dogs. As friendly and loyal as dogs can be under normal circumstances, they can be just as dangerous and aggressive under the wrong circumstances. The problem is that not all dog owners are responsible, and therefore their dogs often go without the training and socialization they need for safe handling. Dogs are naturally protective and unpredictable creatures, and if they’re aggressive or frightened they can be downright dangerous.
That’s why Dallas TX dog bite victims and their families rely on the offices of Thompson Law Injury Lawyers to get them the compensation they need after an attack. Don’t accept a meager settlement from an insurance adjuster. Hire our personal injury lawyers to get to work on your dog attack case today.
Dog Bites in Dallas TX
Everything is bigger in Texas, including the number of dog bite attacks. In fact, Texas has a higher incidence of reported dog bites and deaths resulting from dog bites than any other state. Despite the fact that most of these fatalities are caused by pit bulls, Texas doesn’t have any legislation when it comes to dangerous breeds.
Some dog breeds are considered to be dangerous. Regulated breeds typically include the “pit bull” class of dogs but in many areas, these include a variety of other dogs such as American Bulldogs, Mastiffs, Rottweilers, Dalmatians, German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers or any mix of these breeds. Cities, towns and even landlords around the nation impose restrictions on such breeds. Breed-specific legislation (BSL) is the term that refers to the laws that regulate or ban certain dog breeds in an attempt to decrease the number of dog attacks on humans and other animals.
The “One Bite Rule” And How It Affects your Texas Dog Bite Case
Years ago, Texas had a one-bite rule that essentially gave owners a get out of jail free card, allowing their dog to have one free bite for which the owners weren’t liable. Fortunately, that all changed when the one bite rule was abolished in 2007.
Now, if any owner knows or suspects that their dog is aggressive, they are liable for any damages that occur as the result of their dog biting someone. If a dog attacks anyone, the owner is responsible for the victim’s injuries.
Other states have a “strict liability” policy for dog attacks, allowing victims to claim damages without needing to prove the owner’s negligence or prior knowledge of their pet’s aggression. This means that if you’re hurt and seeking damages such as medical expenses, lost wages or emotional distress, the offending dog’s owners are liable.
However, in Texas, you need to prove that the bite was the result of the owner’s negligence. To prove owner negligence, you’ll have to provide proof that:
- The owner knew their pet had acted aggressively or bitten someone before
- The owner failed to control their pet prior to the bite
- That you suffered damages as a result of the bite and the owner’s negligence
That’s why it’s so important to work with a Dallas TX dog bite lawyer. The personal injury attorney at Thompson Law knows the unique Texas state laws as they pertain to dog bites and dog attacks and can get you the compensation you deserve.
What to Do When a Dog Attacks You in Dallas TX
If you’ve been bitten or attacked by a dog in Dallas TX, do not talk to the pet owner’s insurance company if they contact you. They’ll try to get you to accept a meager settlement or sign a statement. Doing that could sign away all of your rights in your dog attack case. However, there are a few things you should do to start building your case right away:
Get Away From the Dog – Put as much distance between you and the dog that attacked you as possible. If you can’t get away, use whatever you have like your purse or briefcase to protect yourself.
See a Doctor Immediately – You need to get medical treatment even if you don’t think you’re seriously injured. You can’t see things like nerve damage, infections, or fractures. A medical doctor’s documentation of your injury will be invaluable to your case.
Report the bite to Animal Control – Animal control will file a report and inform the dog’s owner about the bite. They’ll also force the owner to provide proof of rabies vaccinations or to quarantine an unvaccinated dog for ten days. Notifying them and filing a report can also help to prevent future victims from being bitten by the same dog.
Take Lots of Pictures – Taking photos of your injuries immediately, and each day during the healing process will help you record your recovery journey. You’ll be able to document the severity of your injury with photographic evidence that you can use in court to win your case.
Document Witness Information – Take notes about any potential witnesses who might have seen your dog attack. Try to find the names or phone numbers, or other contact information for those witnesses so your personal injury lawyer can contact them for statements about your case.
Talk to a Texas Personal Injury Lawyer – Even if you don’t think you’ve been seriously injured, it’s important to talk to a Texas personal injury lawyer with experience in dog attack cases right away. They understand Texas dog bite laws and how to prove the owner’s negligence to get you the compensation you deserve.
Hiring a Dog Bite Lawyer in Dallas TX
Compensation for dog attack victims typically comes out of the owner’s home insurance policy. As a result, the owner’s insurance adjuster usually calls victims advising them that they don’t need a lawyer. They’re not trying to do you a favor by offering a tiny settlement. They’re protecting their own bottom-line.
Don’t settle for less than you deserve. Insurance companies know that a personal injury lawyer will take a dog bite case to court to get fair compensation for their clients, an expensive process that the insurance company is trying to avoid. People who hire personal injury lawyers for their dog attack cases typically receive much higher compensation for their injuries. When the insurance company calls you, tell them to contact your lawyer.
Potential Damages You Can Claim in A Dog Bite Case
Dog bite injuries can be both devastating and disfiguring. Sometimes, all it takes is for an untrained or vicious dog to become frightened or startled to attack. The damage done can be substantial. You could suffer from physical pain, disfiguring injuries, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and anxiety as a result of your injuries.
Fortunately, the state of Texas allows you to claim both economic and non-economic damages. Your economic or financial damages are damages that you can prove with bills, receipts, or your employment record. These expenses include:
- Medical injury expenses for consultations, medications, rehabilitation, surgery, and assistive devices like crutches
- Mental health expenses for counseling or therapy
- Loss of earnings from your employment
- Any other expenses you’ve incurred as a result of your injuries
Your non-economic or non-financial damages are a little bit harder to prove. There isn’t any hard evidence to back them up and they tend to be subjective, depending on the victim. For example, a model who incurs damages to her face, or a pianist whose arms are incapacitated as the result of a dog bite might be more severely affected than someone who doesn’t rely on their arms or their face for their livelihood. Some of the non-economic damages you can claim are:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish and suffering
- Disfigurement and disability
- Reduced quality of life
Specialized Dog Bite Attack Assistance in Dallas TX
When you’ve been injured in a dog bite attack in Dallas or the surrounding areas your first call should be to Ryan L. Thompson and the lawyers at Thompson Law Injury Lawyers. Our veteran trial lawyers are ready to tackle your case and get you the compensation you deserve. We know how to build a strong case with hard evidence to maximize the amount of compensation you’ll receive. Call us at 844-308-8180 for a consultation about your Dallas TX animal bite case so we can get to work for you today!