Dallas Dog Bite Lawyer
Being attacked by a dog is a traumatic event that can lead to serious physical and emotional injuries and permanent scars.
If a dog attack has impacted you or your family, you could seek money damages from the animal’s owner or handler. A dedicated and seasoned Dallas dog bite lawyer could advocate on your behalf and help you seek justice for your injuries. Talking to a personal injury attorney after the attack could provide you with the information you need to decide how to proceed to get the compensation you deserve.
Plaintiff Must Prove The Dog Owner’s Negligence
Many states have codified an owner’s liability if their dog bites someone, but Texas has no laws that specifically address dog bites or other injuries a dog might cause. People who have been injured by a dog must prove that the owner or handler was negligent.
Proving negligence requires the injured person to show that the dog’s owner or handler knew the animal was aggressive or dangerous and failed to protect the injured person from the dog. This means that most dogs will get one “free bite” because unless the dog has attacked someone in the past, it could be difficult to prove that the owner or handler knew the dog was dangerous. Dogs who have bitten before are considered dangerous dogs, and the owner is strictly liable for any injuries the dog causes.
An experienced personal injury attorney could advise a potential plaintiff about the likelihood of successfully proving negligence in a particular case. Dallas requires city residents to keep their dogs confined and on a leash when outside of their homes. The city also registers dogs with a history of biting and identifies them as dangerous dogs and makes failure to control a dangerous dog a criminal offense. A plaintiff who was attacked by a loose, unleashed or dangerous dog might be able to present the owner’s violation of the city ordinance as evidence of negligence.
Plaintiff’s Negligence Impacts Damages
Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 33.001 establishes that a plaintiff who is more than 50 percent responsible for the incident that caused their injury may not collect damages. When a plaintiff claims damages after a dog attack, the dog owner or their insurance company might try to blame the incident on the injured person. Perhaps they approached a dog they did not know or behaved in a manner that frightened or threatened the dog.
A savvy plaintiff’s attorney will counter this argument with evidence that the plaintiff’s behavior was not the primary motivator for the attack. If a plaintiff bears some blame, but more fault lies with another negligent party, the plaintiff could collect damages from that party. However, their damages will be reduced by an amount that is proportionate to their fault.
Damages in Dog Bite Cases
Damages in dog bite cases are the same as damages available in any personal injury case. Plaintiffs are entitled to reimbursement for all expenses they incur as a result of the injury, and for the intangible losses they suffer due to its impact. A plaintiff could seek damages for past and future medical expenses, lost wages, diminished future earning capacity, loss of companionship or consortium, and pain and suffering.
Some damages are especially relevant to dog bite cases. Plaintiffs who have suffered a disfiguring injury are entitled to compensation for the disfigurement. The scar need not be on the face or a part of the body that is generally visible to others; if a dog attack results in a deformity to any part of a person’s body, they may seek damages for disfigurement. A dog bite lawyer could advise about whether damages for disfigurement would likely be available in a particular case.
Dog attack victims might suffer mental anguish because of the incident, and damages are available to compensate. A person need not suffer physical injuries to receive damages for mental anguish. For example, a parent who witnesses a dog attack on their child could seek mental anguish damages.
Learn About Your Legal Options With a Dallas Dog Bite Attorney
If someone in your household had an encounter with a dog that led to an injury, do not try to handle the situation without professional advice. Consult a Dallas dog bite lawyer right away to determine whether seeking money damages is a good option. Call today to get started.