In the United States, a little more than 36% of households own at least one dog. Dogs are a great source of joy for many of us. These pets didn’t earn their nickname as man’s best friend for just any reason. Canines become our greatest companions and can also defend us from danger. However, more than 4 million Americans are victims of dog bites every year. Of those, an estimated 20% of victims require medical attention for their injuries. Dog bite victims do have legal options available. Dog bite victims have legal options available. A skilled dog bite lawyer can protect your rights.
If you need legal assistance for an animal attack, a dog bite attorney at The Carlson Law Firm knows which measures to take when dealing with negligent dog owners. We are ready to put the experience of more than 40 attorneys and over 100 staff members to use, to help you receive the compensation you deserve. You can be confident knowing that a dog bite lawyer can help you effectively accomplish your case. As a Texas dog bite law firm, we can help you hold the individual accountable for your or your child’s injuries after a dog attack. Our job is not to give up pursuing a favorable result, no matter how difficult the situation becomes.
What to do if you suffer a dog Bite
Being bit by a dog is a fairly common experience for many people in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 4.7 million dog bites occur in the US each year. Over half of dog bites occur in the home with dogs who are familiar to us. Naturally, as the number of dogs in the home increases, dog bites become more probable. Unfortunately, children are more likely to be on the receiving end of a dog bite. But among adults, men are more likely to suffer a bite.
With a dog bite taking place every 75 seconds in the United States, knowing what to do in the moments immediately following an attack can make the aftermath of a very scary situation a little less stressful.
Should I Report a dog bite?
If you or someone you love was bitten by a dog, your first step should be to seek medical treatment for your injuries and then file a dog bite report with your local animal control officials. Depending on your jurisdiction, you may even be required by law to file a dog bite report.
Sometimes a dog bite victim doesn’t want to file a report because he or she is friends with the dog’s owner, afraid of the owner, or doesn’t want anything to happen to the dog itself. However, authorities strongly suggest or require victims of dog bites to report these incidents to the local animal control agency for a number of reasons, including the following:
- It helps protect others from being attacked by the same animal. Someone is more likely to take extra precautions once the authorities are aware of the dog’s dangerous behavior, especially if they are required to do so by law.
- It provides vital legal documentation which helps if you need to file an insurance claim or a lawsuit against the owner. Filing a report will help you obtain records regarding the dog’s owner, the dog’s history, and vaccination information. The investigation may also provide evidence you can present to the insurance company or during a lawsuit.
- It helps local authorities enforce state and local dog bite laws. A dog bite report triggers an investigation into the incident, and if the dog is categorized as dangerous, the owner may be required to carry special insurance or take extra precautions to ensure the public’s safety.
Local animal control agencies also help protect dogs that are being abused or neglected, so filing a dog bite report may be in the animal’s best interest as well.
Common dog bite injuries
In 2015, 35 Americans were killed by dogs. Dog bites should never be taken lightly. A serious dog bite — even by a small dog — can result in permanent muscle damage and deep tissue scars that can require major reconstructive surgery. Children, especially, are subject not only to physical injury but also to ongoing psychological trauma and emotional distress, particularly if the visible scars are on the face, hands or lower arms.
Bites may result in one or more of the following injuries:
- Tissue loss and avulsion
- Crush injuries
- Fractured bones
- Sprain/strain injuries
- Infections such as rabies
Psychological dog bite injuries
Physical scars can heal even if the injuries to a body may require stitches or antibiotics, but the emotional scarring from some dog bite injuries may be a little more lasting and come with a difficult recovery process.
The emotional distress or anguish caused by a dog bite can cause:
- Anxiety when a flashback occurs
- A lasting fear of dogs
- Anti-social behavior
- Nervousness about being outside
- Symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder
If you suffered an injury because of a dog bite, contact a qualified Dog Bite Lawyer from The Carlson Law Firm. Our skilled personal injury attorneys will be with you every step of the way.
Dog bite law in Texas
Texas does not have a statute that specifically covers a dog owner’s civil liability for damages caused by their animal’s biting someone, unlike many other states. Instead, Texas is a negligence or one bite rule state for purposes of personal injury cases stemming from dog bites.
In a Texas dog bite lawsuit, an injured person must show that:
Although Texas’s negligence rule applies to most dog bites, Texas courts will apply a strict liability rule in cases in which the dog is known to be vicious, dangerous or mischievous, and the bites resulted from the dog’s known nature. This means that if an injury was caused by a dangerous dog, the injured person does not have to demonstrate that the owner also failed to use reasonable care to restrain or control the dog. A Texas dog bite attorney from The Carlson Law Firm can help explain this process in further detail during your free consultation.
Leash laws in Texas
Leash laws are similar to dangerous dog laws. They are laws created by municipalities to prevent dogs from running at large. Depending on the city, the leash law may be as strict as to impose absolute responsibility on the dog owner if the animal is off a leash anywhere except an enclosed space or as flexible as to only recognize a violation where the owner knowingly allows the dog to run at large. These laws may, in some cases, give an injured person another way to hold an irresponsible pet owner responsible.
Compensation for your Dog Bite Injury
There’s no reason to be intimidated by the insurance companies when you have an experienced dog bite attorney fighting for you. In most cases, it is the homeowner insurance policy of the dog owner that is the source of funds for settling animal bite claims.
A dog bite lawyer from our firm knows the process, and we won’t stop working until you’ve got the compensation owed to you. This may even include compensation for surgical or psychological treatment for whatever impact the attack may have had on you. It may also include:
If you have suffered a dog bite, notify our personal injury lawyers. We can provide you with a dog bite attorney to champion your case and help you get the compensation you deserve for your injury.
Does Homeowner's Insurance cover a dog bite claim?
If the dog owner is in an average or lower economic state, it may be impossible for them to afford all the expenses caused by the dog bite. The good news is, there are situations where homeowners insurance will pay for your injuries.
The purpose of homeowners insurance in this type of situation is to help pay for injuries people receive on someone else’s property. Many injuries turn out to be excessively costly making it difficult for homeowners to pay out of pocket for such injuries unless they are quite wealthy. Homeowner’s insurance gives you an opportunity to still have your medical bills resolved without having to carry the stress and anxiety of having to sue a friend or family member.
Homeowner’s insurance will usually only step in if the dog bite occurred within the boundaries of someone’s property. This could lead to problems if their dog was on your property at the time the dog bite occurred. If you were walking down the street and the dog attacked you on the street, homeowner’s insurance may not cover the costs. Instead, you may need to sue the dog owner in court rather than through the insurance system.
For a dog owner to be able to defend themselves against a dog bite liability claim successfully, they must prove:
- They were not aware their dog was aggressive.
- The plaintiff was unlawfully trespassing on the dog owner’s property.
- The dog was properly restrained, and they were properly controlling the dog.
To learn more about a potential lawsuit, contact our dog bite law firm today
How a dog bite lawyer at The Carlson Law Firm Can Help You
Many of these attacks involve small children, and if your child was a victim, we advise that you first seek medical attention as soon as possible. A dog bite can lead to severe infection and excessive doctor visits. Depending on the severity of the injury and the amount of treatment needed, dog bites can result in high medical bill costs. It is necessary to take legal action against the negligent dog owner that did not take the steps needed to ensure safe protection from their dog. A dog bite attorney can help.
First, we will pursue civil remedies for individuals who have sustained a bite injury. We will first investigate your potential claim by a determination of the situation surrounding the bite:
- Where was the dog?
- Where was its owner?
- Where was the individual it bit?
- Were there any extenuating circumstances that caused the dog to bite?
Second, we will investigate the applicable local law. Many cities have municipal ordinances that dictate how dogs must be handled and kept. These ordinances can differ from city to city.
Third, we will research any homeowner’s insurance policy that may cover medical bills incurred for:
- ER visits
- Medical tests as a result of the bite
- Medically necessary surgeries
- Scar revision surgery (plastic surgery)
- Mental health counseling
We understand that every dog-bite case is unique and we are here to help. We have been assisting those bitten by a dog for over 40 years. During, that time, The Carlson Law Firm has never advocated for the destruction of any animal.
There's a Carlson Law Firm near you
With 12 locations throughout Texas, there’s a Carlson Law Firm near you. We have law offices located in Killeen, Temple, Waco, Round Rock, Austin, San Antonio, Laredo, Bryan, Lubbock, and Corpus Christi. Find a dog bite lawyer near you.