If you were recently attacked or bitten by a dog and suffered serious injury in Texas, it is imperative to understand the state’s rules when it comes to a dog owner’s civil liability.
Unlike most states, Texas does not have a statute which specifically covers a dog owner’s responsibility for damages caused by their pet biting another person. However, a victim can file a personal injury lawsuit based on either “negligence” or “strict liability.”
Proving Negligence in Texas Dog Bite Claims
In order to prove negligence in a dog bite claim in Texas, the injured party must demonstrate that a dog’s owner failed to use reasonable care to control the dog or prevent the bite. As a result of the attack or bite, the victim suffered injury.
Furthermore, the state’s negligence rule applies to other types of injuries caused by dogs. For example, if a dog jumps on a person and knocks them down to the ground, resulting in injury, then the injured individual may bring a claim for damages against the dog’s owner. Again the victim needs to show that the dog’s owner failed to take the proper steps to restrain the dog to prevent such incidents, either by keeping the dog on a leash or erecting a fence around the dog’s area of the yard.
While most dog bite cases are built on the negligence of the owner, Texas courts will apply a “strict liability” rule in cases in which the dog is known to be vicious and dangerous. A dog which has bitten a person before can be classified as “dangerous,” no matter how minor the injuries are as a result of that bite.
With strict liability, the injured party does not need to demonstrate that the only failed to use reasonable care to control or restrain the dog. Instead, the injured person can recover damages simply by showing that the dog was known to be dangerous.
Depending on the details of the attack, you could be entitled to recover compensation for any past, current, and future losses related to your dog bite injury, such as:
- Medical expenses
- Physical rehabilitation
- Loss of income
- Emotional pain and suffering