Posted on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018 at 2:36 am
We all love our pet dogs. They bring us joy and happiness. But sometimes they also cause us grief when they inadvertently attack a neighbor or a passerby. It can also be frightening when you’re at the receiving end of a dog bite. We have all dealt with the neighbor with the aggressive dog and it’s scary when you have been attacked by a neighbor’s dog. For pet owners or pet attack victims, either circumstance leaves a lengthy medical bill – the question is, who pays for it?
If you’ve been bitten by a dog
The first thing you should do when you’ve been bitten by a dog is to evaluate your bite and assess whether you need immediate medical attention.
The next step you should take is to note down the contact information of the dog’s owner. If you’ve been bitten by your neighbor’s dog, you will no doubt have their address and complete name for further contact. If you’ve been bitten in a public place and you’re unsure of who the dog’s owner is, it important to gather as much information as you can about the dog’s owner. At a minimum, this includes the owner’s first and last name.
Your best option is to ask the dog owner to exchange contact information and to ask the owner whether you can take a picture of the owner’s driver’s license. If the dog owner is being uncooperative, you may need to seek the assistance of the police.
Texas Law on Dog Bites
In Texas, the law on animal and dog bites is complex. Rather than a dog owner being 100% at fault for their dog’s behavior, there are a few things you will have to prove if you’ve been bitten by a dog:
- You have to prove that the dog owner knew or should have know that their dog is aggressive (ie: the owner knows that their dog is aggressive and prone to biting others)
- You have to prove that the dog owner was negligent in preventing their dog from attacking you
Proving negligence means that establish that the dog owner should have been watching their dog or that their dog should have been on a leash prior to the attack. It’s possible to be bitten by a dog on a leash, but establishing your case is more simplified when the dog wasn’t on a leash when you were bitten.
This rule is known as the “one-bite rule”. The one-bite rule requires you to prove that “but for” the dog owner’s actions or inactions, would you have been bitten by their dog?
The good news with the one-bite rule is that most aggressive dogs have a pattern of aggressive behavior, and its probably not the first time that that particular dog has attacked someone.
While this article addresses dog bites, these rules typically apply to other pet animal attacks.
If you’ve been attacked by someone’s pet, it’s important to contact a San Antonio Personal injury lawyer right away. Dog bites and animal attacks have a statute of limitations. This means that you will want to file your case before your time is up. If you file your case too late, you could be out of money you deserve. Call us at 833-210-4878 today to discuss your legal options.