When to Consult a Houston Dog Bite Lawyer?
Americans love their dogs. In fact, over 63 million households in the United States have at least one dog. Even in a dog-loving country, Texas stands out as one of the top ten dog-owning states. Unfortunately, not all of these dog owners are fully-responsible.
According to the American Humane Society, Americans suffer more than 4.5 million dog bites annually, and over half of these bite victims are children. These aren’t all minor nips either. In fact, over 800,000 of these annual dog bites require some type of medical intervention.
Owning a dog comes with a lot of responsibility and when owners fail in that responsibility, legal liability can arise. If you or a loved one has been injured by a dog bite in the Houston area, contact one of the experienced Houston dog bite attorneys at Khattar Law, PC to discuss your case today.
Is A Dog Owner Liable For Damages Caused By a Dog Bite?
It depends. Like many states, Texas law recognizes a “one-bite rule” as it concerns owner liability. This means that where a dog has never bitten anyone and where the owner had no reason to believe the dog is dangerous, then the injured person has to show that the owner acted in a negligent way.
If however the dog has previously bitten someone, this is evidence that the dog is dangerous and thus the owner will be strictly liable for any damages arising out of the dog’s attack.
You may not know whether the dog that bit you has acted aggressively or bitten another person in the past. Further, the dog owner may not be forthcoming with this information. You may talk to a Houston personal injury lawyer today and discuss your case.
Steps to Take Following a Dog Bite
To best protect your physical health and your legal rights, here are some steps to take in the wake of a dog attack.
- Stay calm. Though it may be difficult, staying calm in the aftermath of an attack is important. This will help you identify the animal that bit you and get to safety.
- Seek medical treatment. In addition to first-aid, depending on the severity of the bite you may require professional medical assistance to stop bleeding and prevent infection.
- Gather evidence. Where possible, you should gather evidence at the scene including witness information, photographs of the dog and the injuries, and video of the scene.
- Contact animal control and law enforcement. The local government jurisdiction where the attack occurred has an animal control or law enforcement agency that deals with dangerous animals. In the event of a bite, the agency may catch and detain the animal to protect the public and determine if the animal has rabies or another communicable disease. Further, depending on the circumstances surrounding the bite, criminal liability for the owner may arise.
- Exchange information with the dog owner. Where possible, you should obtain contact and insurance information from the dog owner.
- Contact an attorney. An experienced Houston dog bite lawyer can help you with every step of your claim including talking to the insurance companies, investigating the accident, and recovering compensation for your injuries.
Common Dog Bite Injuries
Dog bites can vary greatly in severity depending on the breed of dog, age and size of the victim, and location of the bite. However, even what first appears to be a minor dog bite could result in a serious complication. Hence, victims of dog bites should always seek the advice of a qualified medical professional. Regardless, common injuries resulting from dog bites include:
- Cuts and lacerations. Dog’s teeth have evolved to tear flesh from the bone and are very effective at doing so. Even a small dog can bite a large tear into human flesh.
- Broken and fractured bones. Some dog breeds have large strong jaws and their bites can easily fracture bones, especially the smaller bones of the hands, wrists, and feet.
- Eye injuries. When dog bites occur to the face, the delicate tissues of the eye are easily damaged.
- Infection. When dogs bite the bacteria and contaminants in their mouths can be transferred to the victims. Pets are routinely vaccinated to prevent infections such as rabies, unfortunately however some pet owners do not vaccinate their pets.
- Scarring. The deep, tearing nature of dog bites often result in scarring.
- Nerve damage. Deep bites can result in long term nerve damage.
- Emotional distress. Dog attacks are scary and often leave victims with lingering mental anguish such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression.
What Damages Can I Recover From A Dog Bite?
Depending on your injuries and the circumstances surrounding the accident, you may be entitled to recover a broad array of damages, including:
- Medical expenses. Current and future medical expenses for injuries arising out of the accident.
- Lost wages. If you suffered a bite that caused you to miss work you may be able to recover lost wages. Where the injuries leave you permanently unable to return to the work you once did, you may be entitled to compensation for lost earning capacity.
- Pain and suffering. You may be able to recover for the pain and suffering caused by the dog bite and resulting injuries.
- Emotional distress. Dog attacks are extremely scary and can often leave the victim with emotional scarring.
Dog owners may have homeowner’s insurance that covers the damages you suffered from the dog bite. An experienced attorney can help you negotiate a settlement that covers all of your damages.
Need Legal Assistance? Contact Khattar Law, PC.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a dog bite accident in Houston, you don’t have to face your recovery alone. Competent counsel can advise and guide you throughout the entire process.
Contact one of the experienced Houston dog bite lawyer at Khattar Law, PC today to discuss your case. Call us at 210-791-0817 or fill out the online contact form.