Dog Bite Laws in Texas
Dogs are known as man’s best friend for the laughter and companionship they bring to households. However, dogs can also be dangerous. If a dog bites someone, it can result in severe injuries, which can result in significant medical expenses and other damages. A dog bite can result in significant trauma to the victim. Awareness of the state’s dog bite laws is essential. Understanding the law can help protect your rights if you have been attacked by a dog. Understanding dog bite laws in Texas can ensure you recover the compensation you deserve.
The “One-Bite” Law
Texas follows the “one-bite” law, meaning that the owner of a dog owner is not responsible for the first bite/injury their dog inflicts on someone. If the dog bites someone again, a presumption is made that the owner has knowledge of the dog’s dangerous behavior and can be held accountable for any later bites. This law allows dog owners to defend themselves if a dog bites someone unexpectedly while also protecting the victims, as they can hold the owner responsible for the injuries inflicted by their dog.
What is a Dangerous Dog?
In Texas, a dog is considered dangerous if:
- It makes an unprovoked attack that leads to injuries to the victim
- It makes an unprovoked attack anywhere other than in its secure enclosure.
Once a dog has been identified as dangerous or aggressive, Texas law requires the owner to register the dog with the local animal control department not later than 30 days after learning of the dog’s dangerous tendencies. They must also keep the dog securely confined and obtain liability insurance of $100,000 to cover any injuries their dog may cause.
Leash Laws in Texas
Texas allows local governments and cities to enact leash laws. In El Paso, owners must keep their dogs on a leash or under physical control in public. These laws protect the public from dog attacks and prevent dogs from running loose.
Comparative Negligence in Texas
In Texas, the principle of comparative fault is applied, which implies that if the victim of a dog bite is found partially responsible for the bite, their damages may be reduced by the percentage of their negligence. If, for instance, the victim was teasing the dog, they may be considered partially at fault for the injuries sustained.
Proving Liability After a Dog Attack
If you have been bitten or hurt by a dog in Texas, you have to prove that:
- The owner knows of their dog’s aggressiveness or past biting incidents
- The owner is negligent, and their failure to prevent another bite led to the dog biting you.
Not only can you claim compensation for an actual bite but also injuries you sustained, such as a broken wrist after being knocked down by the dog or any other damages inflicted by the dog. The only catch is that you must provide evidence of the dog’s past biting incidents and the owner’s negligence. You can obtain information about the dog’s history from the local animal control authorities or witnesses.
Charges for Texas Dangerous Dog Owner
If a dangerous dog leads to severe injury or death to a person, the owner may be charged with a felony offense under Texas law. The penalties for a dog attack can be fines, jail time, or even killing the dog. Additionally, the owner of a dangerous dog may also be responsible for any damages caused by the dog, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
What to Do After Getting Bitten by a Dog?
Dog bites can be very traumatic and life-altering events. If you are a victim of a dog bite in Texas, there are several steps you should take to protect yourself:
- Seek medical attention immediately, even if the bite seems minor.
- Identify the dog and the owner.
- Gather evidence, such as photographs of the dog without a leash, your injuries, and where the attack happened.
- Report the incident to the local animal control authorities.
- Contact a skilled dog bite lawyer to help you pursue compensation for your injuries.