Waco Dog Bite Lawyer
Table of Contents
- Why Do Dogs Bite?
- The Texas One Bite Rule
- Criminal Liability for a Texas Dog Bite
- When Should You Contact a Waco Dog Bite Attorney?
- Injuries Caused by Dog Bites and Attacks
- Why You Should Hire an Experienced Waco Dog Bite Lawyer
- Call the Patel Law Firm to Speak with a Waco Dog Bite Lawyer Today
According to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 4.5 million dog bites occur in the U.S. every year. Out of those, 800,000 need medical care. In 2019, the U.S. population was approximately 328.2 million. Statistically, a dog bites one out of every 73 people. What happens if you or your child becomes a victim of a dog bite? Dog bites come with pain, the potential for complications and scarring, as well as medical bills and other monetary losses. Sometimes they also cause PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). An experienced Waco dog bite lawyer can help you pursue compensation for your damages.
While dog bites are never acceptable, sometimes understanding why they occur is necessary to determine your legal rights. Most dog bites are related to a dog that is:
- Reacting to a stressful situation
- Feeling scared or threatened
- Trying to protect themselves, their puppies, or their owners
- Not feeling well
- Being teased or provoked
Some dogs, especially puppies, will also nip or bite during play. No matter the situation, it’s always essential to remember that dogs are animals that have natural instincts. It’s never a good idea to leave children alone with a dog or let them approach dogs they aren’t familiar with.
Most states have a specific statute that applies to dog bites and civil liability. Texas is not one of them. However, in 1974, the Texas Supreme Court ruled in Marshall v. Ranne that Texas has a “one bite rule.” Under such a rule, an owner whose dog previously bit or attacked someone has a higher chance of being deemed negligent for not preventing a later bite or attack. States without this rule consider the dog’s owner liable no matter its past behaviors.
Typically, in a Texas dog bite claim, the injured individual must show that one or both of these is true:
- The dog’s owner knew that it had previously acted aggressively or had bitten someone
- The dog’s owner negligently failed to use reasonable care to control it or avert the bite, and as a result, the dog bit the injured individual
Keep in mind that this not only applies to dog bites but to any actions in which a dog causes an injury—for example, if a dog injured someone by knocking them down.
What About Trespassing?
If the person who was bit or injured by the dog was trespassing at the time of the incident, they might not have a civil right to pursue compensation. The legal concept of comparative negligence will apply. If the victim was trespassing which led to the bite, they will have some fault in their own damages.
In situations where the victim is less than 50 percent at fault for their injuries, they can still recover monetarily. However, their recovery will be reduced by their percentage of fault. For instance, if they are 30 percent at fault, they can only receive 70 percent of the value of their claim. However, if the victim was more than 50 percent at fault, they aren’t permitted to recover anything. Those who suffered a dog bite while or because of trespassing will need to secure representation from a well-versed Waco dog bite lawyer to help maximize their compensation.
In some dog bite situations, the owner can face criminal charges in addition to civil liability. Texas Health and Safety Code section 822.005 explains that an animal’s owner could have felony charges if serious or fatal bodily injury occurs, and one of the following applies:
- They “with criminal negligence” fail to secure the dog on their property, and the dog attacks someone, unprovoked, somewhere away from the owner’s property
- They know they have a “dangerous dog” as defined by Texas law, and the dog attacks someone, unprovoked, at a location other than a secure enclosure that restrains the dog according to Texas laws
If criminal charges apply, they are kept separate from any civil charges. The two cases aren’t directly connected or intertwined. One doesn’t depend on the other. However, sometimes a criminal conviction can help the victim successfully recover full and fair compensation from the dog’s owner.
Additionally, any conviction of criminal charges won’t automatically require them to compensate you for your injuries. If you or someone you love is bit or otherwise injured by a dog, it’s in your best interest to hire a knowledgeable Waco dog bite attorney to work on your case.
You’ll want to contact a Waco dog bite attorney as soon as possible after a dog bite. First, they can begin collecting evidence right away. Since memories can fade, injuries heal and change, and other physical evidence such as ripped clothing or even videographic evidence can be lost or destroyed, claims in which evidence is collected sooner are usually more successful.
Next, there is a statute of limitations or a legal deadline that applies to dog bite victims. They have two years from the date of their injuries to file a legal claim. While this might seem like a long time, it can take your Waco dog bite lawyer many months to prepare a thorough and convincing case on your behalf. The sooner you reach out to them, the sooner they can get started working on your case.
Suppose you don’t file a claim within the statute of limitations. In that case, you will be barred from taking legal action to recover your damages. If your claim involves a minor child or is against a government entity, a different statute of limitations likely applies.
Finally, you’ll want representation from a Waco dog bite attorney to protect you from any tactics the insurance company tries to use to deny or reduce your claim. Often, insurance carriers will attempt to contact injured victims before they get legal advice to talk them into accepting a settlement worth much less than they deserve. They also might try to twist your words or get you to say something that decreases your chances of receiving what you deserve.
Dog bites and attacks can cause a variety of injuries. Many are minor, but some have the potential to be life-threatening or leave lifelong scars or other disfigurements. The types of injuries you might sustain include:
While a puncture wound might look minor compared to other dog bite injuries, it doesn’t mean that it’s minor or without the potential for complications. They typically don’t bleed a lot but are prone to infection. If they get infected, the resulting complications can be life-threatening. Puncture wounds can also lead to nerve damage, rabies, blood poisoning, or tetanus.
A dog’s jaw can be powerful enough that it can break bones. Dogs can also cause people to fall, causing a bone to break. Some of these injuries may require surgery or physical therapy, and others may never heal completely.
Face, Head, or Neck Injuries
Injuries to the head, neck, or face can be severe, and facial scars can result. Dog bites and attacks often result in the following injuries:
- Fractured skull
- Fractured jawbone
- Broken orbital bones
- Broken nose
- Facial lacerations or cuts
- Head injuries, including concussions or traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Neck puncture wounds
- Eye injuries
Immediately after a dog bite, you are focused on your health and well-being or that of your child. Your priority is getting the best medical care as soon as possible. While the physical effects of a dog bite are immediately apparent, they are often not the entire extent of the injuries.
The emotional consequences arising from such a negative experience with a dog can last for years or even a lifetime. Victims may suffer from depression, anxiety, or even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Other ways that dog bites can cause pain and suffering include:
- Scars and disfigurement that damage self-esteem
- An intense fear of dogs or animals
- Inability to go outside
- Frequently reliving the attack
If the victim is a child, the effects can be even more concerning as they can interfere with normal development. It’s crucial for parents to watch for symptoms such as:
- Sleep disturbances
- Clinging to parents
Remember that you have the right to obtain damages for your emotional injuries in addition to your physical injuries. A seasoned Waco dog bite lawyer can help you do just that.
Hiring the right dog bite attorney is critical. It can mean the difference between getting or not getting the compensation you deserve. You may not grasp now all the medical expenses you’ll have in the future. You probably aren’t aware that certain types of scars or disfigurements entitle you to more compensation. You might not understand that your health insurance may refuse to cover future medical treatments they deem cosmetic.
From the moment you hire our firm, we do all we can to ensure that you receive the compensation you need and deserve. You can count on us to:
- Investigate the dog attack and gather evidence
- Determine whether the dog owner violated any Texas laws
- Hire experts when a case warrants them
- Protect your rights against the insurance company
- Keep track of your paperwork and medical bills
- Ensure all legal deadlines are met
- Answer your legal dog bite questions promptly
- Work tirelessly to give you peace of mind
- Handle the hassles, allowing you to focus on getting better
For some dogs, their bark is worse than their bite. For other dogs, the bite is just as bad. Dogs can occasionally exhibit aggressive, territorial behaviors – especially if an owner has failed to train their dog properly. Unfortunately, it’s often innocent people who end up paying the price.
We recommend calling our Waco dog bite attorneys for a free case review if a dog bit you or your child. We can answer your legal questions and determine whether or not you have a case. Contact us at (254) 321-3030 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. At The Patel Firm, we’re ready to get you money for your injuries.
The Patel Firm Injury Accident Lawyers
6801 Sanger Suite 140
Waco, TX 76701
“This is my first time ever using a lawyer to help me process an accident claim. Joanne walked me through every step of the way. No matter when I reached out to ask my lawyer a question I got a very quick response. This was done during the COVID-19 shut down which made it extra difficult but the lawyerAnd his staff kept me informed. I am grateful that he kept his word in every way to me. I would recommend them highly to anyone I know.”
Rating: 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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