Were you seriously injured by a dog bite? These types of injuries are not only painful, but also traumatic. Dogs are familiar companions in American society, and most people who have dogs in their homes consider them to be members of the family. This can make pursuing a dog bite case not only complicated, but uncomfortable, especially in a case where the owners of the dog are relatives or friends. Knowing you will encounter resistance and defensiveness, it’s understandable to be reluctant to file a dog bite claim. Our Texas dog bite attorneys understand this, and also know that you deserve to be compensated for your injuries. We want to help you build a successful dog bite case. Call us today at 713-574-7777 for a free consultation.
Do I Have a Dog bite Case?
Dog bites are the most common type of animal attack reported in the United States. While many of these incidents don’t cause serious harm, hundreds of them do, and some are even fatal.
Serious dog bite injuries not only cause physical harm, but can also cause financial harm, if the person injured misses work due to their injuries. Dog bites are traumatic events that typically lead to fear and anxiety that may linger, making counseling or medication necessary. These issues are serious, and make determining whether or not you have a dog bite claim important.
The State of Texas holds dog owners responsible for the harm caused by their dogs depending on what the dog owner knew about the dog at the time of the attack or what the dog owner did or did not do at the time of the attack. A common misconception regarding dog bite attacks is that dogs in Texas get one free bite before the dog owner is responsible for the harm caused, also referred as the “one-bite” rule.
In fact, a dog owner who is aware that his/her dog has bitten someone before, will be held strictly liable for the injuries and damages caused by the dog. Strict liability imposes a higher standard of care on the dog owner when handling a dog that is known to bite. The “one-bite” rule simply requires the dog owner of a dangerous dog to be more careful given that the dog is prone to attack and harm others.
In some situations, the dog may not have bitten before, but because the dog owner created the conditions that triggered an otherwise normally gentle dog to harm others, the owner can be held responsible. The dog owner has a duty of reasonable care to prevent his/her dog from injuring others.
One of the defenses a dog owner will probably put forth is that they had no idea their dog would bite someone or had no idea the dog would behave a certain way. Proving a dog owner had prior knowledge of the dog’s tendency to bite can be challenging. Additionally,
proving the dog owner acted in a careless manner can also be challenging. Our Texas dog bite attorneys have the experience and resources to carry out the necessary investigation involved in establishing your claim. Call us today at 713-574-7777 for your free consultation.
How Do Shared Fault Rules Affect My Case?
Another tactic that dog owners might try in order to escape liability is blaming the person who was bitten. They may claim you were trespassing. If true, this could have an impact on your case, but don’t assume you have no claim to compensation.
Texas has a shared fault rule that means you can be found liable to some degree for your injuries. How much you can recover in damages if you are found partially liable depends on the percentage of liability you bear. If you’re found to be between 1% and 49% liable, you can recover some damages. If you are found to be 50% liable or more, you will not be able to get compensation.
The shared fault rule doesn’t mean you shouldn’t file a claim, but it is another reason to have a capable attorney on your side. Our Texas dog bite attorneys know what evidence you need to present a strong case, and we have the resources to get it. Having an attorney can result in recovering much more in damages than you would by going about your case alone. Call your Texas dog bite attorneys today for your free consultation at 713-574-7777.
What Kind of Damages Can Be Awarded?
In a civil personal injury case, the term “damages” refers to financial compensation for the ways in which you were harmed by your injuries. There are two types of damages considered in a dog bite case: economic and non-economic.
Compensation in the form of economic damages is for the objective, quantifiable losses you have suffered. This can include lost income from not being able to return to work while healing, medical expenses incurred because of the injury, and bills for ongoing things like medication, counseling, and physical therapy. Your future economic losses can also be estimated, based on the already established cost of various therapies or potential future surgeries.
Compensation for non-economic damages is for losses that are just as important, but more subjective and therefore harder to put a price tag on. These can include anxiety, pain and suffering, depression, and emotionally and mentally coming to terms with a lessened quality of life due to your injuries.
Call our experienced Texas dog bite attorneys to discuss the details of your case. We have the skill to ensure that all of your damages, whether economic or non-economic, are accounted for in your claim.
How Much Time Do I have to File a Claim?
The statute of limitation on filing a dog bite claim is two years from the date of the injury. Even though this may seem like a long time, it’s vital to make sure you adhere to this deadline. Twenty-four months can go by very quickly, especially if you are healing from a serious injury and possibly going through counseling or other therapies as a result of the dog bite.
Given all you are already dealing with, we urge you to call our Texas dog bite attorneys to handle your case. Bringing a personal injury case to a successful conclusion is a marathon, not a sprint. You’ve got enough to deal with right now. Call our experienced attorneys right away to give them the time they need to build you the strongest case possible, and give yourself the space to focus on recovery.
How to Build a Strong Case
To build a case that can withstand the insurance company’s scrutiny, it’s important to avoid some common mistakes. One of them is not getting medical attention right away for a dog bite. When you’re bitten by a dog, there are a lot of things that may cause you to delay or avoid going to the doctor. You may be embarrassed because you blame yourself on some level for the dog biting you. If the dog reacted reflexively out of fear, you may be telling yourself you shouldn’t have tried to pet it, pick it up, or get close to it. After all, it was scared…
Second-guessing yourself is natural after something as traumatic as a dog bite, but it is important to separate facts from doubts. No matter what precipitated the injury, the fact is you are now injured and you need to get treatment. Our Texas dog bite attorneys will take the time to carefully review the facts of your case and give you guidance. Even if you are found partially liable, it is very likely that the owner of the dog is, too. This is probably not the first time the dog has lashed out.
Another reason people hesitate to take action after a dog bite is fear of recrimination for the dog, or causing a problem with the owners, especially if they are relatives or friends. This is understandable, but it does not take away the need for you to take care of your physical well-being. Once you get checked by a doctor, call our Texas dog bite attorneys for a free consultation. We’ve handled many dog bite cases, and understand the emotional complexities that can be involved. Let us help ease your mind by giving you as much information about your options as possible. Call us today at 713-574-7777 for your free consultation.
Getting medical treatment for a dog bite will also help to establish a timeline and evidence of how severely you were injured. If you don’t do this, making a claim for your injuries can become very difficult. This is because, like it or not, the liable party’s insurance company can use any delay in getting medical care against you. They can say you were not injured as badly as you said you were and try to devalue your claim.
A common mistake you can protect yourself from is giving a recorded statement to the insurance company. Any information you provide can and probably will be used against you. Your best course of action is to call The Bowen Law Firm, PLLC as quickly as possible and let us handle the communications with the insurance company.
Another mistake people make that is possibly the most damaging is failing to hire an experienced attorney. Sometimes people assume that they can handle the case themselves. While this may be true under other circumstances, taking on the intricacies of what is probably an emotionally charged, dog bite claim while you are recovering from your injuries is risky. Even if you are normally a master negotiator, the pain and emotional stress of healing is going to make standing up to the insurance company’s legal team more daunting than ever. Let us level the playing field and fight for you.
As you consider hiring an attorney, it’s a mistake to think that hiring any attorney for your dog bite case will do. There are myriad types of civil law, and each comes with rules and restrictions specific to its category and its state. It’s also important to know that not all attorneys are skilled at going to trial.
The Bowen Law Firm, PLLC dog bite attorneys have the specific knowledge and training to give you the best chance for full and fair compensation. We can handle the tactics of the insurance company and negotiate with them effectively. Our attorneys also have the experience to win in court if your case goes to trial.
Call Our Texas Dog Bite Attorneys Today
Dog bite injuries are not only painful, but often traumatic. It’s very possible that you not only have physical healing to do from your injury, but emotional healing caused by lingering anxiety. Filing a claim for a dog bite injury can be fraught with emotions as well, like guilt and anger. With everything you are dealing with in this difficult time, taking on your legal case yourself is probably not going to benefit your health or your case. Our attorneys are extremely capable in all facets of personal injury, from investigation all the way to settlement or trial. Call The Bowen Law Firm, PLLC today at 713-574-7777 and let us step in to protect your right to compensation.