Texas does not have specific laws about liability in dog bite cases. Instead, the state relies on old common laws to determine how to handle them. These laws are somewhat outdated and can make it hard to recover the compensation you need to pay for your medical care and other expenses. A dog bite lawyer in Baytown can help you understand your legal options and fight for the money you need to cover emergency treatment, plastic surgery, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages.
If you or your child suffered injuries in a dog attack in Baytown, the attorneys at D. Miller & Associates, PLLC, can help you fight for the money you deserve. We offer free case evaluations. We can analyze your situation to help you understand if you can file a claim for damages. If we believe you have a valid case, we will investigate the situation, file your claim, and fight for the full value of your damages. Call us today at 713-850-8600 for your complimentary consultation. We handle dog bite cases on a contingency fee basis.
Understanding the One Bite Rule in Common Law
In Texas, an owner must know the dog has “vicious propensities” before they can be liable for the injuries their dog causes. This is sometimes called the “one bite rule,” because dogs essentially get one free bite before their owners are responsible for their actions.
To win a payout based on the one bite rule, we have to prove the dog’s owner or handler knew the animal previously demonstrated vicious behavior. This could apply if the dog:
- Previously attacked someone;
- Threatened someone with clear intent to attack; or
- Acted in a vicious manner without provocation in either incident.
Of course, we also have to prove the owner or handler was aware of this previous behavior. We can research your case and collect all available evidence, but often this is not enough. Even if we can show there was a previous incident, the owner will likely dispute the evidence or claim the victim provoked the dog. Winning a claim based on common law is difficult. Luckily, there is often another way to get compensation for your damages.
Baytown Dog Bite Claims Based on Owner Negligence
In many cases, the easiest way to win a payout after a dog bite incident is to file a claim based on owner negligence. If the owner or handler broke local leash laws or other statutes and this allowed the attack to occur, we can hold them accountable. We will file a claim based on their homeowner’s insurance liability policy.
To win compensation, we need to show:
- The dog belonged to the person in question or was in their care when the attack occurred;
- There are local leash laws or other statutes to prevent this type of incident;
- They ignored the laws, allowing the dog to run free or otherwise acting in a careless way; and
- Their careless actions allowed the attack to occur.
It is difficult to prove a dog bite case based on the owner’s negligence, but this is usually easier than showing the owner knew about the dog’s vicious propensities. We conduct a full investigation into every case we handle and can identify all liable parties for you. We will collect all evidence proving negligence and liability and document your damages.
Only once we know the full value of your case will we file a claim. Usually, these cases settle without going to court. The insurance company engages in settlement negotiations and we are able to present a strong case that encourages the award of a fair payout. If the insurer in your case does not agree to offer fair payment, we are not afraid to file a personal injury lawsuit.
The Role of a Dog Bite Lawyer in a Baytown Dog Attack
The one bite rule and reliance on common law makes Texas dog bite cases more difficult than similar claims in other states. You do not want to try to negotiate this type of settlement on your own. We can help you understand what is necessary to prove your case against the dog owner and win the compensation you deserve.
There is a high burden of proof in these cases, but we can help you build a claim strong enough to meet it. We will handle your claim every step of the way. We fight tirelessly for the full payout you deserve, so you do not have to worry about anything but healing from your wounds. We will communicate with you about every update and provide the support and answers you need without allowing the legal process to become all-consuming.
If you decide you want to pursue compensation on your own after a dog bite injury, you may want to discuss your case with a knowledgeable attorney before signing any type of settlement agreement or cashing a check. We often see cases where the victim drastically underestimated their future care costs, including multiple plastic surgeries to repair the damage done. When this happens and you already signed an agreement with the insurance company, there is nothing we can do to help you recover additional compensation. By talking to us before you sign the agreement, we can ensure you get a fair settlement.
Discuss Your Case With a Dog Bite Lawyer in Baytown, Texas
The personal injury team from D. Miller & Associates, PLLC, can explain if there are options that will allow you to recover the compensatory damages you need after a Baytown dog bite incident. If we believe you have a viable claim, we will collect the evidence necessary to support your case and approach the insurance company with a demand letter. This usually leads to settlement negotiations. We settle most of these cases without going to court. If the insurance company refuses, we can file a dog bite lawsuit and ask a judge to award you money to pay for your losses and expenses.
Call our office today at 713-850-8600 for your free case review.