Dallas Dog Bite Lawyer
Dog bites happen every day in America, whether they’re nips that only scratch the skin or vicious full-on attacks that leave a victim mauled, with torn flesh, missing facial features, and severe tissue and nerve damage. If you’ve been bitten by a dog, hiring a Dallas dog bite lawyer is the first step to getting the justice you deserve.
More than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the United States, and more than 800,000 receive medical attention for dog bites, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the CDC. The AVMA offers these additional stats:.
- About 1 in 5 people bitten by dogs require medical attention.
- Children are the most frequent victims of dog bites and are much more likely to be severely injured.
- Most dog bites impacting young children happen during everyday activities with familiar dogs.
While some dog breeds may have the reputation for being more aggressive than others, determining which dogs are more likely to bite has a lot to do with a dog’s individual history and behavior. Dogs who have bitten people in the past are more likely to bite again. Dogs that have been abused or neglected when younger also may display defensive or retaliatory behavior.
The insurance industry paid more than $530 million in dog bite related claims in a given year, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Dog bites accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners insurance payouts.
If you’ve been bitten by a dog and sustained injuries, you may be entitled to financial compensation. This is especially true if the dog owner was negligent and did not properly restrain or care for the animal. To find out about your legal rights, call a Dallas dog bite lawyer today at 214-522-9404.
Getting bitten by a dog can be a terrifying, life-changing experience. A Dallas dog bite lawyer can help you win compensation so you can put the horrible experience behind you and rebuild your life.
A Dog Bite Injury Lawyer Explains the “One-Bite Rule”
It’s easy to assume that the owner of the dog that attacked you should be brought to justice for their pet’s actions. However, Texas law follows the “one-bite rule,” which was established in a 1974 Texas Supreme Court ruling in Marshall v. Ranne. Essentially, this rule means that dogs that have never bitten someone previously, or have never shown a propensity toward violence, can be given a second chance before any liability is placed on the owner.
If this is the first time the dog has bitten anyone or shown signs of aggression, then the dog’s owner might not be brought to court and might not be obligated to cover your damages. Once the dog has bitten someone, though, it will be labeled a dangerous dog by the state, and the next time the dog attacks, the dog’s owner will be strictly liable for the damages their pet inflicts on another person.
Dog Bite FAQs
A Dallas dog bite lawyer provides answers to common questions from clients.
Over the years, our law firm has represented several dog bite injury clients. Here are some of the questions we hear most often, followed by answers. We hope this is helpful if you’ve suffered a dog bite.
What breed of dogs bite people most often?
Researchers at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center conducted a study of 240 children who were treated for dog-related facial trauma at hospitals during a 15-year period.
The study determined that the breeds of dog that bite most often are pit bull, mixed breed, German Shepherd, terrier, and Rottweiler. The breeds with the lowest bite risk were Dalmatian, Pointer, Great Dane, Pekingese, and spitz. The study findings showed that dogs with short, wide heads who weighed between 66 and 100 pounds were the most likely to bite.
How much can I get in a dog bite settlement?
There is no “average” settlement amount for a dog bite injury because each case is unique, and settlements are fact dependent. Generally, the more severe the injury, the bigger the payout. Other factors that can impact a settlement amount include cost of medical bills incurred, impact on current and future earnings, and extensiveness of permanent scarring and disfigurement.
Can you die from a dog bite?
Yes, you can die from a dog bite. Roughly 20 people every year in the U.S. die after being attacked by a dog, usually as a result of profuse bleeding, head injuries, or infections in the bite wounds. If your loved one has died after a dog bite, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim.
How many people own dogs in the U.S.?
Roughly 48.3 million households in the U.S. have dogs as pets. This represents 38% of all American households. The total number of canine pets in the U.S. is 76.8 million. Each household with a dog spends an average of $410 in veterinary bills annually.
Why do dogs bite people?
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), most dogs bite out of fear. Dogs can also bite because they’re startled, are trying to guard/protect their offspring or food, are sick or injured, are playing, or are feeling trapped and overwhelmed. Generally, most dogs don’t bite because they’re inherently mean.
What are the warning signs that a dog might bite?
Deciphering a dog’s body language can help humans protect themselves when encountering canines. The warning signs that a dog may be about to bite a person include:
- Raised hackles (technically called piloerection, this is when the hair along the dog’s back is standing up)
- Weight shifted forward, with a high, twitching tail
- Lips pulled back, revealing teeth
- Hard, cold eyes with a long stare.
What should I do if my dog nips at someone?
It’s important that you teach your puppy or dog from the outset that certain behaviors are unacceptable. Things like nipping – even during play – should be discouraged. If you have a dog that nips at visitors or strangers, you may want to hire a professional dog trainer who knows how to stop this behavior.
These are answers to some common questions we hear from clients. If you have other questions or concerns about dog bites, feel free to give us a call at 214-522-9404. We’d be happy to answer your questions and explain the law in greater detail.
Dog Owner Liability
A dog bite injury attorney will work to prove owner negligence.
If the dog that bit you is known to be dangerous and the dog’s owner acted negligently by not preventing their pet from attacking, then the dog’s owner can be held liable and named as a defendant in a lawsuit. To be sure that your case does not fall under the one-bite rule, you should hire a Dallas dog bite lawyer who will do everything possible to see your case through and get the justice you deserve.
There is also a strong possibility that the owner will face criminal negligence charges if their dog was dangerous and they did not take necessary precautions to avoid an attack. Such penalties for a conviction could include community service, probation, jail time, and fines. The judge could also order that the dog be euthanized, if the circumstances warrant it.
Legal Defenses to Dog Bites
There are a few different defenses that can be used in dog bite claims that might render the dog owner not liable for your damages. In these cases, you could be unable to seek compensation against the dog’s owner.
TRESPASSING. First, if you were trespassing on the dog owner’s property when you were bitten, you should not expect the courts to make the owner pay for your injuries. In this case, the dog could be seen as reasonably protecting its owner and property.
PROVOCATION. The second example is when the dog bite victim is proven to have provoked the dog or acted aggressively toward it. These actions include taunting, abusing, hitting, or otherwise inciting the dog to behave the way it did.
A dog bite lawyer in Dallas can examine the details of your case to ascertain whether these defenses could have an impact on your claim. Because dog bite cases can be complex, it’s important to understand the common defenses used in these types of cases and how your dog bite injury attorney plans to combat them.
Dog bites can result in puncture wounds, torn flesh, scarring and disfigurement. A dog bite injury attorney can fight for your rights.
Potential Injuries Due to a Dog Attack
Dog bite injuries can range from scratches and small puncture wounds to massive and vicious removal of skin, muscle, and facial features. Bites can also result in secondary medical challenges like infections and tetanus.
According to Healthgrades, dog bites are classified by severity. These include:
- Level 1: The dog’s teeth don’t touch the skin, but the lips and mouth may.
- Level 2: The dog’s teeth touch, but do not break, the skin, resulting in no bleeding.
- Level 3: There are one to four shallow puncture wounds in the skin, which may bleed.
- Level 4: One to four punctures from a single bite, and at least one is deep.
- Level 5: Multiple bites, including some deep puncture wounds, resulting from a severe dog attack.
Injuries that can arise from a dog bite include:
- Head and neck injuries
- Tissue damage
- Eye injuries
- Broken bones
- Nerve damage
- Puncture wounds
- Face injuries
- Severe infection
- Rabies or tetanus
Depending on the severity of a bite and the overall health of the victim, a doctor may administer a tetanus shot, antibiotics, stitches, a series of rabies vaccinations, skin grafts, and other medical treatments. If a victim sees any signs of infection after being bitten by a dog – redness, warmth, swelling, pus, or blood – they should go to the hospital emergency room or doctor’s office immediately.
Damages You May Be Entitled To
Dog bite victims may be entitled to economic (out-of-pocket expenses) and non-economic (emotional suffering) damages. In some cases, you can also be awarded punitive damages.
- Current and future medical costs
- Lost wages
- Lost capacity to earn in the future
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish and emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of companionship
- Stress and anxiety
Punitive damages are imposed by a judge on a defendant whose actions are particularly egregious and negligent. These are meant to punish the defendant and send a warning signal to anyone who may be tempted to act similarly in the future.
Texas also has a “shared fault” rule, which means that both a dog owner and the victim (and even a third party) could be found partially at fault for the dog bite injury. Under shared fault, a victim who is less than 51% at fault is eligible to collect damages in a successful lawsuit.
Steps to Take Immediately After a Dog Bite
If you’ve been attacked by a dog and suffered injuries, there are several steps you should take immediately to ensure your safety and hold a negligent pet owner accountable. These include:
- Get away from the dog and make sure it is restrained.
- Call 911 and seek medical attention right away.
- Get the names and contact info of any eyewitnesses or bystanders who saw the attack.
- If you are able, take pictures of your injuries and the attack scene.
- Hire a Dallas dog bite lawyer to represent you.
Your safety and medical care are paramount concerns. The quicker you are treated by a doctor, the lower the chances of infection and complications.
Dogs with the Most Powerful Bites
Some dog breeds have much more powerful bites than others do. According to Canine Journal, below is a list of the top 12 dogs with the strongest bites when calculated by PSI (pound per square inch or pound-force per square inch).
- Kangal: 743 PSI
- American Bandogge: 731 PSI
- Cane Corso: 700 PSI
- Dogue De Bordeaux: 556 PSI
- Tisa Inu: 556 PSI
- English Mastiff: 556 PSI
- Dogo Canario: 540 PSI
- Dogo Argentino: 500 PSI
- Wolfdog: 406 PSI
- Leonberger: 399 PSI
- Akita Inu: 350-400 PSI
- Rottweiler: 328 PSI
Not surprisingly, larger and heavier dog breeds tend to have the most powerful bites. An adult dog has 42 teeth – 20 on the top jaw and 22 on the bottom. Puppies have only 28 temporary teeth. The four types of teeth in adult dogs include:
- Premolars and molars
- Carnassial teeth (carnassial teeth are the 4th upper premolars and the 1st lower molars).
A person should always use extreme care when approaching a dog or touching its face, especially if the dog is unfamiliar with you, appears to be skittish, or is protecting food or puppies.
Preventing Dog Bites
When dealing with dogs – whether they are familiar to you or not – there are several things you can do to reduce the likelihood of getting bitten, according to Canine Journal. These include:
- Don’t disturb a dog while they’re sleeping, eating, or taking care of puppies.
- Don’t approach an unfamiliar dog.
- Report strays or dogs displaying unusual behavior to animal control.
- Do not run from a dog, scream, or panic.
- If an unfamiliar dog approaches you,remain motionless and avoid direct eye contact.
- Allow a dog to sniff and smell you before trying to pet it.
- Don’t encourage a dog to play aggressively.
- If you are knocked over by a dog,roll into a ball and remain motionless.
Statute of Limitations for Dog Bite Claims in Texas
In Texas, you have two years from the date of the dog bite to file a personal injury claim. If you miss this window of opportunity, a judge may dismiss your case. That’s why it’s so important to hire a dog bite attorney in Dallas right away to learn your legal rights and initiate a claim.
Choosing the Best Dog Bite Lawyers in Dallas
The attorneys at Crain Brogdon Rogers, L.L.P. understand how traumatizing a dog attack can be, which is why we’ve dedicated ourselves to helping injury victims. Dog bite laws in Texas can quickly become complicated. The knowledge of an experienced Dallas dog bite lawyer can be your biggest asset, ensuring that you receive the best representation for your case as it moves through the court system. We have an outstanding legal team and frequently achieve significant case results.
Call a Dallas Dog Bite Injury Attorney Today
If you want to bring a claim against the owner of the dog that bit you, or if you have additional questions about a dog attack that you endured, contact a highly trained Dallas dog bite lawyer at Crain Brogdon Rogers, L.L.P. today. We proudly provide free consultations to victims of dog attacks. You can schedule yours by calling our office directly at 214-522-9404 or by utilizing the online contact form below.