If a dog bites you, you can file a personal injury claim. If you win, the dog’s owner pays you for injuries and damages caused by the dog bite. However, Texas law is not victim-friendly. It can be difficult for the average person to prove a dog owner is liable.
We can help. Schedule a free consultation with a dog bite lawyer in Sugar Land today.
Call D. Miller & Associates, PLLC: 713-850-8600.
What Is Texas’s Law on Dog Bites?
Texas has a “one bite rule” for dog bites. What does that mean for you? It means you must prove the dog had bitten someone before or acted aggressively and the dog’s owner knew it.
For example, if your friend’s dog attacks you one day, but up until that time had shown no signs of aggression, the owner will likely not be liable for your injuries.
How Do I Prove the Owner Was at Fault?
How do you prove the owner was at fault? You must prove that the owner knew the dog was aggressive and did not prevent it from biting you. Did the owner let the dog out alone or take it off its leash? Then the dog owner may be at fault.
The owner may claim he did not know the dog would bite you. If the owner can prove this and prove he was not careless in any other way (e.g., he had the dog contained in his yard), he may successfully defend against an injury claim.
If the dog bit someone before or acted aggressively in the past, that is obvious proof the owner should have known it was dangerous.
But what if this is the first time the dog bit someone? You may still be able to show the owner should have taken precautions. Did the owner know the dog was being unnaturally aggressive because of an injury or illness? If so, he should have kept the dog away from people.
You can also use other evidence. Have neighbors had trouble with the dog? Did the owner warn neighbors or others about the dog? If yes, this can show the owner knew the dog might behave aggressively.
Proving the owner knew the dog might bite is very complicated. You need enough evidence to show it was likely the owner knew or should have known. Obtaining this evidence can prove difficult. Our team knows how to obtain the evidence necessary and use it to build a strong case.
Were You Trespassing?
Usually, property owners are not responsible for dog bites or other injuries to a trespasser. Because you trespassed, the owner did not expect you to be there. If he did not invite you onto the property or expect you to be there, the owner is not responsible for your safety.
Are there exceptions to this? Yes. If you trespass there often and the owner knows it (e.g., if you walk through his yard every day on your way home from work), he is “expecting” you to be there. Because you are a “known” trespasser, he must warn you of dangerous conditions, like a possibly aggressive dog.
Note: The laws of trespassing do not apply to children in most cases. If your child suffered a dog bite after trespassing on another person’s property, you will likely not have to prove she was not trespassing.
What If the Dog Was Not “Dangerous”?
If the dog did not have a propensity for aggression, you may still be able to hold the owner liable if the attack occurred because of the owner’s negligence.
If the owner left his gate open or allowed the dog to run around off-leash, you may be able to recover compensation.
What If the Dog Owner Offered Me Cash or Offered to Pay My Medical Bills?
This is likely a bad deal for you. There may be complications of the dog bite you are unaware of and by accepting cash instead of filing a claim, you might end up paying hundreds or even thousands out of pocket.
You also do not want to accept the first settlement offer from the insurance company, as it is rarely what you deserve. We will negotiate with the insurance company to get you fair compensation for your economic and noneconomic damages.
What if we cannot get a fair settlement from the insurance company? We might suggest filing a personal injury lawsuit. We will explain how we plan to present your case and answer any questions you may have about it.
Talk to a Sugar Land Dog Bite Lawyer at D. Miller & Associates
Talking to us will cost you nothing because the evaluation is free. After we learn more about the details of your case, we can tell you what your legal options are. You can also ask us questions about how the claims process works. If we do take your case, we do so on a contingency basis. That means you pay us no legal fees unless we win your case.
Call us at 713-850-8600 to set up your free evaluation. Remember you must file your claim within two years and it can take time to collect the evidence and prepare your case. The sooner you can file a claim, the sooner we can begin working to get you a fair payment for your injuries and damages. Get started today.