Dogs can provide a seemingly endless amount of love and companionship, but even the most harmless dogs can cause property damage and personal injuries. If your dog bites someone, or you or your pet were injured by someone else’s dog, it’s highly suggested you seek one of our experienced attorneys at Roberts Markland, LLP that specializes in dog bite lawsuits. A Houston dog bite lawyer at our firm could help you understand the details and process of pursuing a claim and guide you through the entire process.

What Can I Do if I’m Injured by a Dog?

You have a number of options if you’re bitten by someone’s dog or other pet. Under Texas law, owners have a general duty to protect others from harm caused by their dog. This includes guests, workers on their property, and people in public places. Owners also have to obey local leash laws and statutes that create liability for those who own particularly dangerous animals or specific breeds of dogs. This doesn’t solely pertain to the owners however, in some cases animal caretakers (such as dog sitters or a kennel), property owners, and even landlords could be held responsible in some situations.

Texas statute enables an individual to file a lawsuit for the dog bite up to two years from the date the bite occurred. Texas is also a “one bite rule” state, however, this means that to recover damages, one must be able to prove that the dog’s owner knew the dog was aggressive or had previously bitten someone. The owner could also be sued for negligence in controlling the dog, like letting the dog get off the leash or without proper means of constraint.

For starters, you can pursue an insurance claim with the dog owner’s insurance company. Many homeowners’ insurance policies will cover an initial dog bite claim that occurs on the insured’s property. Dog bite attorneys can also be very helpful in dealing with the insurance company, using their knowledge and experience to negotiate a fair settlement.

What Can I Do If My Dog Injures Someone?

There are several common defenses used to argue in a dog bite lawsuit:

  • Lack of Knowledge: This applies when the owner does not have knowledge of a previous bite or previous aggressive tendencies, and the owner used reasonable care to control the dog, such as walking it on a leash.
  • Trespassing: While trespassers are given some legal protections, your state’s dog bite statutes may require you to prove that you were bitten while in a place you were legally allowed to be. Under those rules, a person will not be permitted to recover damages for a dog bite that occurs while trespassing.
  • Provocation: Another common defense is that a dog owner is not liable because the injured person provoked the dog before the bite occurred, for example by cornering and threatening the dog with an aggressive gesture.
  • Contributory Negligence or Assumption of Risk: In some cases, the dog’s owner may argue that you are at least partially responsible for your own injuries. For example, if the owner provided adequate warnings regarding their dog, and you disregarded those warnings, this may reduce or eliminate your ability to recover damages.

Dog bite laws in Texas are a bit complex. When you contact our firm, we will review your case in great detail, select the best course of action on your behalf, and stand by your side throughout the entire process. Whether you’re pursuing a dog bite lawsuit or defending against one, the ramifications can be significant. One of our experienced Houston dog bite lawyers will know which arguments an opposing dog bite attorney might use against you, and how best to refute them. Contact Roberts Markland LLP today for a free case review and consultation. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You may also fill out a short contact form here and we will reach out to you at a time of your convenience.