If My Dog Bites Someone Who Trespasses am I Liable?

While dogs may be the winners of the internet and generally do humans a lot of good, there do happen to be occasions where man’s best friend can become man’s worst enemy. Animal attacks or dog bites are frightening and can result in pain, disease, injury and lasting damage. Thompson Law has meaningful experience in dog bite injury cases- just see our results for the story of our past success.

Legal issues around dog owner responsibility, premises duty of care, victim trespassing and more can complicate dog bite injury cases. In these circumstances, the experience and specialization of Thompson Law, DFW’s dog bite injury lawyer, are tremendous assets to winning you the best possible outcome and gaining you every last penny of your just compensation.

Who is Liable for a Dog Bite Incident when the Victim is a Trespasser?

The question of liability in a dog bite case is often more complicated than you might think, due to the various individuals who may be responsible for the actions of an animal at a given time and place. This becomes even more complicated when the victim of the dog bite attack is trespassing at the time of the incident. Whether or not you are liable is a question that an experienced animal attack attorney can help to answer.

Potential Liable Parties:

  • The dog owner (including the parents of a minor dog owner)
  • Landlord / Property Owner of the location where the incident occurred
  • Security Company responsible for the safety of a given premises
  • Commercial Company responsible for the space where the incident occurred
  • Insurer for the property owner or renter of the location of the attack
  • Dog walkers
  • Kennel owners

What if I have a “Beware of Dog” sign?

Comparative Negligence does play a role in Texas dog bite disputes. For example, a dog owner who posts a “Beware of dog” sign on the enclosed area where the dog is located can argue for lesser responsibility in the attack incident. The posting may constitute a reasonable warning to property visitors that means those visitors also have a responsibility to their own safety on that property.

Invited Guest vs. Trespasser vs. Salesperson

In most cases, property owners or renters have a “duty of care” on private property to provide for the safety and well-being of individuals entering that property, including their invited guests and other visitors such as salespeople, delivery people, or other solicitors. Trespassers complicate this question of the duty of care, and the regulations on animal owners in the circumstance of an attack on a trespasser vary by state. In Texas, as in many states, the duty of care or standard of care owed to trespassers is lower than to lawful individuals on a property. Thus, if you as the property owner have taken reasonable measures to secure your animal or warn individuals on your property as to the presence of an animal, your liability for the incident may be decreased.

Call (844) 308-8180

Dog Classifications

According to the City of Dallas (any many other cities and townships utilize similar classifications, typically as mandated by the state), an aggressive dog and a dangerous dog have distinct meanings, and owners of these animals are required to comply with animal ownership regulations accordingly.

An aggressive dog is a dog that has at least once, while not legally restrained, killed or injured a legally restrained domestic or livestock anima.

A dangerous dog is an animal that attacks and causes injury to a human without provocation.

Each of these categorizations has a related legal definition and a distinct determination process as regulated by city code. Owner of dangerous or aggressive dogs are subject to increased annual registration fees, compliance in entry to a city-wide database of dangerous or aggressive animals, and meeting requirements of ownership.

Additionally, Texas is a “Strict Liability” state, meaning a victim injured by a dog already deemed aggressive or dangerous by the state does not need to prove the failure of reasonable care or restraint by the owner. The classification of the animal is enough to confirm liability.

What to do After a Dog Bites a Trespasser?

In the immediate aftermath of a dog bite attack, it’s understandable that you may be extremely overwhelmed. With that understood, it is critically important to call the proper authorities and contact an experienced dog bite attorney for advice on how to proceed.

  1. First – Seek safety at the scene. In a situation where your dog has bitten a trespasser, the individual may be harmless and have accidentally wandered on to your property, or they may be there for purposes of malintent. Either way, be sure you stay safe. Secure the animal if you are able to do so without compromising your own safety and move to a separate but nearby location.
  2. Second – Call the Proper Authorities after an animal attack – the police. Once the police arrive and are taking the report, they will engage in animal control and other agencies as needed. Of course, if injuries are very severe, call 911 for help from both police and emergency medical services (EMS). Fast and expert medical help can make all the difference in a successful recovery after a serious dog bite.
  3. Third – Call an Expert Personal Injury Lawyer. Children are not the only victims who need help and representation by legal counsel after an attack, adults too should seek legal resources to help on their path to recovery and just compensation for the event.

Call (844) 308-8180

Related Resources

City of Dallas Animal Services – Dog Classifications

Dallas City Code on Dog Bites

Contact Thompson Law for Help

Get Legal Help After a Dog Bite with Thompson Law

After a dog bite injury, many people are hesitant to reach out for help from a medical provider, let alone from an attorney. However, the fact is that a standard of care is owed to you as a human being entering the domain of another individual or company, regardless of whether or not dogs are on the premises. You are deserving of health and healing, and if you have experienced a dog attack, you are deserving of recovery and compensation for your medical bills, pain, and suffering.

Ryan “The Lion” Thompson and his experienced attorneys at Thompson Law know your rights and will fight hard for what you deserve. If you or someone you love has suffered a dog bite attack, reach out anytime, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for the advice you need and the fierce representation you want. Call the fours at 214-444-4444 in Dallas, 817-444-4444 in Fort Worth, 972-444-4444 in North Dallas, 469-444-4444 in the DFW Mid-Cities, or toll free at the number listed below:

Call (844) 308-8180


Learn more about the help that a personal injury lawyer can provide after a dog bite incident.

The statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Texas is two years, so if you have been injured in a dog bite accident, consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. The sooner you know your options, the sooner you are on the path to recovery and your deserved compensation. Call the 4 and get the roar lawyer right away for assistance with your injury and claim: 214-444-4444, 817-444-4444, 972-444-4444, 469-444-4444, or toll free at the phone number below.

Call (844) 308-8180


If you found this article helpful you may also like:

Dog Bite Attacks Dallas, TX Lawyer

Do Personal Injury Lawyers Help in a Dog Bite Claim?

“He Said, She Said” Disputed Liability Cases


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