How does Texas’ dog bite law work? Can you win money just because a dog bites you? Not so fast. Learn how to protect your rights.
If a dog bites you, is the owner responsible?
Well, that depends on the facts surrounding your case.
Learn more about dog bite law in Texas and understand some of the basics of how it works so you protect your own rights and can get the compensation you deserve:
If a strange dog bites me, is the owner responsible?
That really depends. Many Texans believe they’re automatically entitled to compensation by the dog’s owner or their insurance company.
That’s not the case.
Texas’ dog bite law requires you show the dog acted aggressively in the past and that the dog’s owner acted negligently in some way.
Make sure you take pictures of any wounds you receive and gather witness information as soon as you can.
One exception is if the dog’s breed is inherently vicious. For example, if a pit bull bites you, that may be enough to win your claim.
How much money can I get for my injuries?
You may not be entitled to big money, or even any money at all.
It depends on the extent of your injuries and how much they affect your life. And it can also depend on the responsibility you had, if any, in the situation.
For example, say you teased the dog and provoked it into the attack.
In that case, Texas’ comparative negligence law may apply, which means you may bear partial responsibility for your injuries and that the compensation you can receive may be reduced.
How do dog owners defend themselves?
Typically, their attorneys or insurance company aim to show the dog’s owner had no knowledge their dog would attack or that you trespassed.
Again, just because a dog bites you, that doesn’t mean you’ll automatically win compensation.
That’s why it’s important to have a top-notch personal injury lawyer take on your claim.
Aren’t dog bite cases easy to win?
Not necessarily. As you’ve seen, you have the burden of proof. By no means should you expect a walk-in-the-park if someone else’s dog bites you.
And, things can happen that make the case more difficult. For example, a dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance policy may exclude coverage for their dog, and they may not be aware of that.
Since any costs would then come out of their pocket, they’d fight your claim a lot harder.
I feel like I shouldn’t file a claim because it was my friend’s dog that bit me.
Understand that, in the overwhelming majority of dog bite cases, you’re filing a claim against your friend’s homeowner’s insurance (and not against them personally).
That’s what they have homeowner’s insurance for.
If your friend really is your friend, they’ll care about you and want to make sure you get your injuries covered. If their dog was responsible for your injuries, but they don’t want to cover them with their homeowner’s insurance, they probably were never really your friend.
Hopefully, you never find yourself a victim of a dog attack. But then again, no one ever plans on accidents or injuries happening.
For now, you at least understand some of the basic myths and misconceptions about Texas’ dog bite law and can protect yourself accordingly.