According to research by the American Veterinary Medical Association, more than 4.5 million dog bites happen each year with as many as one million of those bites requiring medical attention.
Some of those incidents then go on to involve lawyers who handle dog bite claims as victims attempt to regain the losses resulting from the bite.
To gain monetary compensation for their clients, attorneys must be able to prove negligence on the part of the dog owner due to the One Bite Rule that is recognized in Texas, and many other states.
Since proving negligence can be challenging, bite victims should always work with a law firm that is experienced in dog bite cases and how the law works with regard to proving negligence and successfully gaining compensation.
How Does The One Bite Rule Apply in Texas?
In terms of proving negligence, the state of Texas adheres to what is called the One Bite Rule and owner responsibility for paying damages to bite victims.
Based on this rule, for lawyers helping victims of dog bites to gain compensation for victims, two conditions must be met:
- The dog must have bitten before or acted like it wanted to bite.
- The keeper of the animal at the time of the bite must be aware of the previous bite or tendency to bite.
If both of those conditions are not met, attorneys handling dog bite claims may find it more challenging to prove that some sort of negligence has occurred.
Regardless of the One Bite Rule, there are still instances when an owner or handler can be found negligent for a bite that could have been prevented.
What Is Required To Prove Owner Negligence In A Dog Bite Case?
For law firms to gain compensation for a dog bite victim, they must be able to somehow prove that the owner or handler at the time of the incident acted negligently.
Lawyers experienced with handling dog bite claims understand that in reference to dog bites, negligence means that an owner or handler did not act in the required ways that would prevent a bite from happening.
In some cases, this can overrule the One Bite Rule based on what happened and the duties of the owner, trainer, or handler who had the responsibility to prevent a bite from occurring.
Yet in many cases, proving negligence depends on how the dog behaved, what led up to the bite, whether it was preventable, and whether the court believes the dog as well as the owner/handler reacted reasonably given the circumstances.
Due to the complexity of these cases, a law firm that is highly experienced with dog bite incidents is essential to successfully prove how negligence was involved.
Multiple Types of Dog Bite Negligence May Apply
When attempting to prove negligence aside from the One Bite Rule, attorneys must consider the circumstances leading up to the bite and what would be the reasonable, responsible, and expected actions of the owner or handler.
Those who failed to act responsibly in these instances can be found liable, even if the dog has never bitten before:
- Violation of Animal Control Laws - In many parts of Texas, it is unlawful to chain or tether a dog and leave it unattended. Bites occurring under these circumstances may be considered negligence regardless of the dog’s temperament or history and result in owner liability.
- Failure to Act - An owner or handler who fails to act responsibly to prevent a bite or stop one in progress may be found liable, regardless of the dog’s previous bite history.
- Dangerous Dogs - Certain breeds of dogs that are known to be more dangerous will frequently result in the owner or handler being found negligent.
- Landowner Responsibility - In certain cases, property owners have the responsibility of identifying dangerous dogs and removing them from a property where tenants, guests, or other visitors are expected and may be found negligent if a bite happens.
An Experienced Dog Bite Law Firm Is Important To A Victim’s Case
Dog bite victims deserve compensation in cases where their bite was caused by negligence.
Since actually proving negligence can be so challenging, a lawyer who is skilled and has experience handling dog bite claims is an important asset in these cases.
Attorneys who are well versed in the One Bite Rule and potential cases of negligence can help deserving victims gain the compensation they deserve.
Contact a law firm experienced with these cases for the best legal assistance after a dog bite.
Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP
7930 Broadway, Suite 122
Pearland TX 77581
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