Dog Bite Lawyer Houston, TX
Dog Bite Lawyer Houston, TX
Dog Bite FAQs
As a dog bite lawyer in Houston, TX understands all too well, it is not uncommon to turn the news on and hear yet another story about a dog biting someone. Some stories are heart wrenching and tragic while others are simply confusing. A dog may have escaped by jumping the backyard fence. Perhaps a dog broke away from its owner. Dog bite incidents can have many causes, but their consequences can be serious. Although the specifics may vary per incident, all of them leave the injured party, the dog owner and the public wondering- who is liable?
No two dog bite cases are exactly alike, so seeking legal guidance for your questions is key. You want to work with a lawyer who has handled many cases involving dog bite injuries and has provided their clients with proper legal consultation. Figuring out who is liable after a dog bite incident can be tricky, so it is important that you hire a lawyer who has much experience in that area. Any legal action that can be taken in the wake of a bite is generally determined by state laws and local ordinances. Understanding how these laws are applied to your case can be difficult, so a lawyer can provide you with detailed legal advice for your particular case. It is crucial that you take immediate action after you have suffered a dog bite injury, as there is limited time to file a claim. If you or someone you know has been injured by a dog bite and you are considering taking legal action, please consider scheduling a consultation with John K. Zaid & Associates.
Speaking with a Texas dog bite lawyer in Houston can help to clarify matters, and help ensure that your decisions are both supported and informed. Lawyers have years of practice experience, and they are knowledgeable about all aspects of a case. Before you meet with a lawyer, there are some topics that would be beneficial for you to research so that you are as prepared as possible. As you prepare for your consultation, please consider the following basic information and write down any questions or concerns this effort may inspire.
Laws Regarding Dog Bites
When it comes to dog bites, the laws can vary depending on the state you are in, but there are typically two different kinds of laws: liability when the dog owner did know or should have known that their dog was dangerous and would bite someone, and liability even if they did not know. Take some time to conduct a basic review of the local laws regarding dog bites in your county. It is understandable if you may not be sure about whether legal action is worth the trouble. When you are recovering from a dog bite injury, you may be wondering if your injury is even worth pursuing legally, but know that you should not have to recover without compensation. If you did not cause the accident yourself, you should not have to pay the full consequences. Protect your legal rights by scheduling a consultation with a dog bite injury lawyer today.
A dog bite lawyer in Texas knows that dog bite injuries can have a lasting impact both physically and emotionally, and you should get the compensation you deserve. If you suffered a dog bite injury that occurred because of the actions of a negligent dog owner, you have the right to explore your legal actions to obtain compensation. For more information on “one bite” laws and strict liability laws, please read below:
Laws Vary By Location
When it comes to aggressive dog and human interactions, the laws vary by state, county, and even the city — which can make law interpretation a bit confusing. However, the majority of states adhere to something called statutory strict liability which puts liability on the owner of the dog. That means the owner is responsible to cover the cost of the injury. The concept of strict liability is not concerned with a history of aggression or the owner’s knowledge/lack of knowledge concerning previous incidents. A lawyer can clarify the laws and how they are interpreted if you need further assistance.
One of the questions you may be wondering about concerns liability, especially if you feel you may have contributed to the incident in some way. Strict liability laws are when the dog owner is held liable for the actions of their dog—an attack or a bite—regardless of whether or not the owner could have prevented it had they been at the event in question. When this is the case, it is usually important to show that:
- The plaintiff was legally allowed on the property where the dog attacked them and was not illegally trespassing.
- The plaintiff did not provoke the dog in any way through torment, prodding, or harm.
Thus, even if the owner did not know that their dog was potentially dangerous, they can still be held liable in such instances. Lack of knowledge about their pet’s behavior does not free them of liability. When you are filing a claim after your dog bite injury, it is very important to get an TX dog bite lawyer in Houston, who knows the law and can direct you to the best course of action regarding your state’s laws. They will review your case details and develop the best strategies that will boost your chances of obtaining the maximum compensation amount.
The “One Bite Rule”
The idea behind the “one bite” law originated because it was believed that a dog’s owner should be given one chance after a dog bites someone before being punished. Perhaps they did not know their dog would bite someone and the law gave them one more opportunity before taking action. This is not necessarily the case now, though. In many instances, if the owner knows that they have a dangerous dog or that their dog is more prone to biting, the law may hold the owner liable even if it was the dog’s first incident. They may have failed to place the proper preventative measures to ensure that an attack or biting incident could not occur.
When this circumstance arises, it is important that the plaintiff provides evidence showing that it was likely that the owner knew before the attack occurred that their dog was dangerous. This could be done through:
- Signs in the yard, house, or on the property about a dangerous dog.
- Items that are usually used to restrain dogs lying around the house, like muzzles or chains.
- Verbal warning to not approach the dog.
- A previous record on file that the dog has been vicious before.
- Witnesses or neighbors who are willing to testify that they have seen the dog acting aggressively before
Just about every state agrees that if a dog has a history of biting at least one person and the owner was aware of it, he or she is considered liable. This can be difficult to prove, especially if there is no documentation of the incident or if there are no other witnesses. However, this rule can be helpful for the victim who lives in a state that does not adhere to statutory strict liability. There is less of a burden on the victim to produce the evidence needed to hold the owner liable.
Provocation and Exceptions to the Rule
It is important to understand that not every state acknowledges any exceptions to its general rules. Speaking with an experienced Houston, TX dog bite lawyer will help you understand whether exceptions to general rules may apply in your case. Though you were a victim, if you were engaging in certain irresponsible or unlawful actions that preceded the incident. Possible exceptions to dog owner liability may include:
- The victim was trespassing or committing an illegal act against the dog’s owner.
- The injured person was acting in a professional manner such as a veterinarian, trainer or groomer.
- The dog was fulfilling a professionally trained role such as working with the military or police. A person should not attempt to pet a working animal or disrupt it in any way.
- The victim was taunting, physically abusing or otherwise provoking the dog which could reasonably cause the dog to react.
Damages and Compensation
What does “the cost of injury” include? Potential for damages and compensation vary by state. However, the majority of states agree that medical bills should be paid while other states may allow for additional damages such as lost wages, psychological trauma and counseling, damaged clothing, permanent scarring and plastic surgery to correct scarring. This is by no means a complete list of possible damages. Compiling an accurate list of damages is important if you want to be compensated fairly. A lawyer will be able to review the list of all damages that may apply to your case and fight for you so that you can be compensated for them.
Personal Injury Attorney
Dog bite injury cases can be quite complex. The laws regarding dog bite cases are often confusing and vary by state, county and even municipality. In addition, there are many variables that contribute to each situation that may affect the legal outcome. It is important to consult with a dog bite lawyer in Texas who can accurately interpret the law in your area and guide you on the best way to proceed. Upon examining your case, they will determine the best course of action that you can take.
Dog Bite Injury – Responding to a Bite
Our legal team at John K. Zaid & Associates understands how serious any kind of animal bite can be. You may be at a friend’s house or simply walking by a person’s property, and when you see a furry little pet you likely assume they are friendly, especially if they aren’t showing any signs of aggression. If you are at a person’s house and there are no warning signs or they have not told you that their pet dog bites, you probably think it is perfectly fine to interact with them. In many cases, you have probably already asked the owner if it is fine to play with their pet or if their pet is friendly. However, even friendly and docile pets can bite under certain circumstances. When this happens, an animal bite can quickly become a serious medical issue and may even put your life on the line.
Because of how dangerous an animal bite can be, you should know what steps to take medically and legally after the bite occurred. Additionally, a dog bite lawyer located in TX from John K. Zaid & Associates can help when you file a claim for compensation. For more information on what you should do after an animal bites you, keep reading.
The Crucial Next Steps: What You Should Do After an Animal Bites You
While you may not be thinking of what your legal steps are immediately after someone’s animal has bitten you, it is imperative to think of what you need to do medically which can also help with your legal claim.
- Get Medical Care: Even if the pet owner says that their pet has the proper vaccinations, you should still see a medical professional for your injury, especially if the animal punctured your skin. Not only are many pets not up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations, but any type of puncture to your skin can cause a minor to severe infection. Take any pictures you need of your wounds before seeking medical help and continue documenting its healing process after seeing a doctor. Additionally, make sure your doctor understands what happened and gather any medical records necessary for your claim.
- Get Their Information: Similar to other types of personal injury accidents, always exchange information with the person who owns the pet that bit you. You will need to have their name, their address, and their contact information. This will make the process smoother when you or your attorney goes to verify what happened and whether the animal is up-to-date on their vaccinations.
- Report the Bite to Animal Control: When you file a report with your local animal control, it can ensure that no one else becomes a victim of an animal bite from this pet and any type of investigation they conduct can also strengthen your case. If there were any witnesses at the scene of the animal bite, it is imperative that you get their names and contact information so your lawyer can get in contact with them when they need testimonies regarding a lawsuit or an insurance claim. Eyewitnesses can strengthen your case significantly and a Houston dog bite lawyer can speak with them to get details of the event.
- Document What Happened: This can come in the form of pictures and even writing down the pain level you are experiencing during the recovery process. You also want to document time spent away from work due to the recovery, your medical bills, and even travel costs.
What Type of Illnesses Can A Dog Bite Lead Too?
No matter the dog that bit you, you should always seek medical care and encourage the owner of the dog to take their dog for testing—many states in fact require the dog to be tested, if not put down for biting someone. This is because dogs can be a host to many diseases, and an open wound can catch bacterial infections from the dog’s mouth when it’s biting someone.
One of the most known viral infections that you can catch from animals is rabies. Rabies has a vaccine and is preventable, but it can be transmitted through a scratch or a bite of an animal who is infected. Rabies affects the entire nervous system, and can cause progressive and fatal inflammation of the spine and brain. Some symptoms of rabies are: insomnia, nausea or vomiting, anxiety, hallucinations, hydrophobia, and partial paralysis.
Another type of infection that a dog bite can cause is staph and strep infections. These are serious infections and can be fatal when left untreated. The bacteria involved in these infections is staphylococcus or streptococcus bacteria. You may have oozing blisters, boils and swelling to your joints along with a fever if you’ve contracted this from a dog bite.
Cellulitis is another common bacteria found in dogs’ mouths. This is the Pasteurella multocida and Pasteurella canis bacterial organisms, which cause a serious infection in humans called cellulitis. This infection is quick, usually manifesting in 24 hours after the bite. Cellulitis spreads fast and can cause infections in the joints, bones, and tendons; weakness in muscles, numbness or tingling in limbs, the skin may appear black, you may develop pneumonia or eye infections, among other symptoms.
What Steps Can You Take After A Dog Bite?
To try and help avoid infection, you want to seek medical treatment immediately. But sometimes that isn’t possible; and you have to wait a few hours. In these cases, you can try to lower your risk of infection by: washing and cleaning the dog bite, hold a cloth over the bite to slow blood flow, apply antibacterial ointment to the wound, cover with sterile bandage, and watch for infections.
Signs of infections include but are not limited to: redness, swelling, or the skin is warm to the touch.
Even if you are self-treating your wound, you should seek a medical professional. While the steps you’re taking lessen your chance for infection, you don’t have the medical knowledge to be certain that there is no chance of infection—especially some of the more serious infections that can lead to gangrene, or worse.
Reach out to a dog bite lawyer in Houston, TX if you or a loved one have been bitten by a dog. Dogs are man’s best friend, but dog’s also get scared, or have underlying issues that may cause them to react badly in certain situations. Never approach a dog you do not know, because you don’t know how it’ll react, and remember, always ask before you pet a strange dog.
How Our Team Can Help Your Case
Just because dogs are known as man’s best friend does not mean they are all friendly. If you were recently injured by a dog bite or attack, reach out to the compassionate attorneys at our law firm to determine what your legal options are. For more information on what you can do after an animal has bitten you, contact a dog bite lawyer in Houston, TX from John K. Zaid & Associates today!