Even when you can prove that the owner of a dog that bit and injured you is civilly liable for the harm you suffered, you are not necessarily immune from being found negligent to some degree. When the court decides that a plaintiff bears some of the blame for their own injuries, the court can substantially reduce the plaintiff’s available compensation based on their “contributory negligence.”
Contributory negligence in Houston dog bite cases can be one of the biggest obstacles you must overcome when maximizing the money you receive for your losses. While support from an experienced dog bite lawyer is vital to obtaining a successful case outcome, it is important to be aware of specific legal concepts that could impact your case.
What Counts As “Comparative Fault” For A Dog Bite?
A dog owner in Texas is legally liable for injuries their pet causes by biting or attacking you, especially when they fail to exercise “reasonable care” to restrain their dog in a private kennel or yard properly. This responsibility—also called a “duty of care”—tends to have much stricter expectations for dog owners who know, based on experience, that their dog has the potential to attack someone else. That said, any owner can be negligent when they fail to fulfill their duty of care and their dog injuries you.
By the same token, anyone in Houston who finds themselves near someone else’s dog has a “duty of care” requiring them to act like a reasonable person while around the animal. Likewise, anyone who actively harasses or provokes a dog into attacking them or who trespasses onto a dog owner’s private property has “breached” this duty in the same way that a pet owner who lets their animal roam free without a leash has “breached” their duty. This concept is known as “contributory negligence.”
Contesting Accusations Of Contributory Negligence
Under Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code §§33.001 through 33.017, the court can reduce the total compensation awarded to you based on the percentage of “comparative fault” you hold for your own damages. When the court finds you 51 percent or more to blame for your injuries, you cannot receive any civil compensation.
Often, avoiding this requires additional evidence beyond the information needed to prove negligence by the defendant. When fighting comparative fault during dog attack claims, the goal is to prove that your injuries were not made worse by your own carelessness. A dedicated attorney in Houston could help prove that you did not act in a way that contributed to injuries you sustained in a canine bite.
An Attorney In Houston Could Further Explain Contributory Negligence In Dog Bite Cases
When a vicious dog seriously injures you, you should not have to prove that you did not contribute to your harm. However, arguing that you are at fault for your injuries is among the most common strategy used by defense lawyers representing defendants in personal injury claims.
When you are not prepared to proactively fight back against allegations of contributory negligence in a Houston dog bite case, you may have significant trouble getting anything close to the compensation you deserve. Call our legal team members at Roberts Markland LLP today to discuss your options with a knowledgeable legal representative and set up a consultation. We are ready to speak with you about your case.