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Dog Bites

While many may not like to think it, dog bites are more common than you think. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that there are 4.7 million dog bites in the United States annually. The state of Texas is no exception. In 2013, Texas was named number one for dog bites in the United States.

Not all dogs are predictable and can have unprovoked bouts of aggression. In fact, CDC states that 94 percent of dog bite victims didn’t aggravate the animal in any way. It’s incredibly important that you gain legal representation if you were bitten by another person’s dog. A dog bite can be incredibly serious and lead to high medical bills.

Attorney for Dog Bites in Conroe, TX

Man’s best friend can sadly do some lasting damage. Dog bites happen to thousands of Americans every day and can lead to serious injury. If you’ve recently been bitten by a dog, you must call a personal injury attorney now. You may be eligible for compensation for your injuries.

The attorneys at Evans & Powell, PLLC have handled many dog bite cases in Texas civil courts. We want to ease your recovery by litigating for you. Our attorneys will evaluate your case to see if you’re eligible for a settlement. Don’t let negligent dog owners go without a fight. Call the attorneys at Evans & Powell, PLLC today at (713) 622 - 2000 to schedule a free consultation.

Our attorneys accept clients throughout the greater Montgomery County area including Patton Village, Cut and Shoot, Houston, Conroe, and Willis.

Overview of Dog Bites in Texas

Common Dog Bite Injuries

Dog bites have been known to cause severe injuries such as facial disfigurement. Victims of dog bites have also reported psychological after effects such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Some injuries that may result from a dog bite include, but are not limited to:

  • Infections;
  • Disfigurement;
  • Broken bones;
  • Dislocated bones;
  • Avulsions;
  • Puncture wounds;
  • Lacerations;
  • Abrasions;
  • Contusions;
  • Amputations; and
  • Psychological damage.

Is the Owner Liable for a Dog Bite in Texas?

Plaintiffs file claims for dog bites in two ways, negligence or strict liability. Strict liability cases involve dogs that have already been deemed dangerous by the state. If the dog harmed someone before, the state of Texas will classify the animal as vicious. The plaintiff in a strict liability case must prove the following elements:

  • The animal bit or attacked another person;
  • The defendant knew about the dog’s past behavior and temperament; and
  • The animal harmed the plaintiff.

The second way is to file a dog bite claim on the grounds of negligence. Negligence in the legal world is a lack of rational care or absence of rational care that a reasonable person would exercise in the same circumstances. In other words, a person is negligent if they are being reckless, careless or unaware to a dangerous point.

Dog owners must have full control over their pets for the safety of others. If dog owners fail to handle their dog appropriately, they may be considered negligent. For example, walking a dog without a leash would be considered negligent. The elements the plaintiff must prove in a dog bite case include:

  • The dog was owned by the defendant;
  • The defendant owed a duty to do whatever they reasonably can to prevent the dog from harming others;
  • The defendant failed to meet that duty; and
  • The plaintiff was attacked or bitten because of it.

Dog Bite Laws in Texas

It’s not just wrong to be grossly negligent of your dog, it’s illegal. Texas Health and Safety Code § 822.005 states a person can be criminally charged if they are negligent of their dog and it results in serious bodily injury or death. A criminal conviction for a dog bite could essentially mean an automatic win for the bite victim in a personal injury suit. The elements of the dog bite statute include:

A person is committing a crime if they are the owner of a dog and:

  • The defendant is criminally negligent by not securing the animal and the animal attacks another person;
  • The animal attack was in a public place, the defendant’s boat or vehicle; and
  • Another person suffered serious bodily injury or death because of the attack.

A person can also be charged with an offense if they are a dog owner and:

  • They were aware that the dog was dangerous;
  • The dog attacked or bit another person at a place other than a secure enclosure for the dog; and
  • Another person suffered serious bodily injury or death because of the attack or bite.

Texas law states that a person is considered to be criminally negligent if they exhibit inappropriate conduct when they should be aware of a substantial risk. Dogs are defined as dangerous under Texas law if any of the following happens:

  • It attacked another person;
  • Texas courts sent the owner notice that the dog was dangerous; or
  • Animal control notifies the owner that the dog is dangerous.

Unlawful restraint of a dog is a third-degree felony that is punishable by:

  • Up to 10 years in prison; and
  • A fine of up to $10,000.

If the attack results in the death of another person, the crime is a second-degree felony. The penalty for a second-degree felony include:

  • Up to 20 years in prison;
  • A fine of up to $10,000; and
  • The court will order the dog to be euthanized.

What to Do After a Dog Bite

Most dog bites are unprovoked, so it may be hard to know what to do. It’s normal to be overwhelmed but doing some simple steps can help your case and prevent more damage. The following are some tips for what to do after a dog bites you.

  • Keep the dog away from you;
  • Get away from the attack;
  • Locate a safe place and call a first responder;
  • Locate the dog’s owner;
  • Take photos of the dog, attack scene and injuries;
  • Write down identifying information about the owner such as name, address and number;
  • Record any eyewitness statements; and
  • Contact animal control or law enforcement.

One of the most important tips not listed is to hire a skilled personal injury attorney. A dog bite can create tremendous damages, which mean tremendous costs. It’s important that you see an attorney as soon as possible to assess your case. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

Additional Resources

Preventing Dog Bites – Visit the official website for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to learn more about dog bites, dog bite statistics, and what not to do when interacting with an aggressive dog.

Why Do Dogs Bite? – Visit the official website for the American Veterinary Medical Association to find more information on why dogs bite. Access the site to learn about how dogs use biting to socialize, signal they aren’t feeling well, play, react and more.

Lawyer for Dog Bites in Conroe, Texas

If you’ve been recently bitten by a dog, it’s highly advised that you contact an experienced personal injury attorney. A skilled personal injury attorney can assess your case, collect evidence and litigate for you if needed. Contact us today at (713) 622 - 2000 to schedule a free consultation today.

Our attorneys practice throughout the greater Montgomery County area and surrounding cities including Magnolia, Conroe, Cut and Shoot and Splendora.

This article was last updated on February 13th, 2019

Evans & Powell, PLLC