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Houston Dog Bite Lawyer

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The Gutierrez Law Firm represents injury victims throughout Houston and the surrounding area, including those that have been hurt in a dog bite incident. Dealing with a dog bite is not just about the pain; it can have lasting effects on your well-being and daily life. If you’ve been bitten, our team of personal injury lawyers in Houston is here to support you. Contact us today to set up a free, no-obligation consultation.

Do You Need a Lawyer After a Dog Bite?

A dog bite is certainly a unique type of incident. In your daily life, you’ll likely encounter numerous dogs, even within your own family. While most of these dogs are well-behaved and trained, the reality is that any dog can fall victim to its instinctual drive and bite you.

While every situation is different, one of the main questions you probably have is whether or not you even need a lawyer. Like any other accident and injury, it depends on your needs. Some dog bites are relatively minor, meaning you probably don’t need to worry about taking legal action for your injuries and damages. On the other hand, other dog bites are quite traumatic and leave you facing serious injuries. If that’s the case, you should definitely consider reaching out to our team and working with us. We can investigate what happened and guide you through the legal process.

Building a Strong Dog Bite Claim

As a dog bite victim, it’s crucial to take proactive steps to strengthen your potential claim. In a dog bite scenario, this involves:

  • Get help from a doctor right away – Dog bites can be serious and might get infected if you don’t treat them quickly. Even if the bite seems small, it’s important to see a doctor to avoid problems.
  • Find out who owns the dog – If you can, get the name and contact information of the dog’s owner, and ask if anyone saw what happened. This information could help you get financial support for your injuries.
  • Report the bite to animal control – Report the dog bite to the local animal control or police. They can find the dog and check if it has a history of being aggressive.
  • Keep records of what happened – Take pictures of your injuries and where the bite happened. Write down what happened, including when and where it happened, and any details about the dog and its owner.

By taking these actions, you safeguard both your health and legal rights. However, this is often just the beginning. Maximizing your claim requires a deep understanding of the legal process and potential outcomes.

Who Pays For Damages in a Dog Bite Claim?

In Houston (and throughout Texas), there’s actually no specific statute in place for dog bites. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have options when you get bitten by a dog. Because it falls under common law, a dog bite is typically approached by a judge by applying negligence and a “one-bite” rule. This means that:

  • A dog’s first bite might not make the owner responsible, unless they knew the dog was dangerous. But after the first bite, the owner can be held responsible for any more bites.

Also, in Texas, if a dog causes any injury, not just a bite, the owner might still be responsible under negligence. For example, if a dog knocks you down and you get hurt, you can still file an injury claim.

So, the dog’s owner is the one that is going to be primarily responsible for paying for your damages. However, this is going to take some work on your end to establish liability. You can do this by showing:

  • Ownership or control of the dog by the other person.
  • You were bitten, attacked, or otherwise injured by the dog.
  • You were either in a public place or legally on someone else’s property.
  • The bite left you with damages.
  • The dog wasn’t provoked into attacking you.

Even if it’s clear who’s responsible, you’ll still need to file an injury claim after a dog bites you in Houston. And like any other injury claim, it involves a certain process you have to go through.

How Do You File a Claim After a Dog Bite?

After deciding to pursue a dog bite claim in Houston, it’s important to know what to expect. The process for filing a claim for a dog bite injury is similar to other injury claims, like car accidents or slip and falls.

The main difference is that Texas law makes it clear that the dog owner is usually responsible. When filing your claim, you’ll typically do so with the dog owner’s home insurance company. Here’s what the process involves:

  • Filing an insurance claim
  • Filing a personal injury lawsuit

The damages you might get include:

  • Medical expenses – This is for costs related to your treatment, both now and in the future. It covers things like doctor visits, surgeries, and any other medical care you need.
  • Lost income – If you’re unable to work because of your injuries, you can claim the income you’ve lost. This includes wages from missed workdays or the inability to perform your job in the future.
  • Pain and suffering – These damages are for the physical pain and mental angusih caused by the dog bite. It considers the discomfort and stress you’ve endured.
  • Scarring and disfigurement – If the dog bite leaves you with scars or permanent damage that affects your appearance or abilities, you can claim compensation for this.
  • Reduced quality of life – This covers any disruptions to your daily life caused by the injury. It includes things like difficulty performing tasks or participating in activities you used to enjoy.
  • Emotional distress – These cover the psychological impact of the dog bite, such as anxiety, fear, or PTSD.

In severe cases where the owner’s behavior was especially harmful or reckless, you might also be awarded punitive damages. These are meant to punish the owner and deter them from acting similarly in the future. It’s an extra amount of money on top of the other damages.

Remember, there’s a time limit for filing a claim. In Texas, it’s usually two years from the date of the bite. Missing this deadline means you might not get these damages for your injuries.

Causes of Dog Bite Incidents

Unfortunately, getting bitten by a dog can be a scary and painful event. Regardless of your familiarity with dogs or how calm they seem, any dog can bite under certain circumstances. While dog bites in Houston aren’t always random, there are several common reasons behind these accidents:

  • Failure in training or socialization – Dogs that haven’t been trained or socialized properly may react aggressively or defensively in new situations or around new people.
  • Negligence or recklessness – Some dog owners might not supervise their dogs well or knowingly allow them to act dangerously.
  • Not following leash laws – Dogs that aren’t properly secured or leashed might escape or become aggressive.
  • Aggressive behavior – Certain breeds, temperaments, or past experiences can lead some dogs to display aggressive or defensive behavior.
  • Unfamiliarity or fear – Dogs that aren’t familiar with people or are afraid of certain types of people, like children, may be more likely to bite or attack.

Although you can’t stop all dog bites, it’s important to lower the chances. Learn about dog behavior, avoid unknown dogs, and tell authorities about dangerous ones that you come in contact with.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the dog’s owner always responsible for a bite?

Not always. if the bite happens at a store or someone else’s property, they might also share some of the blame. Generally, though, the dog’s owner will at least be partially at fault, unless this is the first time the dog has bitten someone.

Is there a time limit for filing a dog bite claim?

Yes. In Texas, you have two years from the date of the bite incident to file your claim. This is known as the statute of limitations.

How long does it take to resolve a dog bite case?

It varies based on how complicated the case is and how negotiations play out. Some cases wrap up in a few months, while others take longer.

Free Consultations for Houston Dog Bite Victims

If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog in Houston, you can count on our experienced team at the Gutierrez Law Firm. We have the knowledge and skills to guide you through the legal process. Don’t wait. Contact us today to set up a free consultation and start your recovery.