Pearland Dog Bite Lawyer
Dogs are popular pets for a reason. They provide companionship and in many cases a sense of protection for their owners. But sometimes a dog’s protective instincts go too far and the animal ends up biting or attacking someone else. When this happens, the bite victim may have a legal claim for damages against the dog’s owner.
Texas courts have long held that animal owners can be held strictly liable for injuries caused by dogs that are known to be dangerous or potentially dangerous. So if you have been harmed by such an animal and need legal advice on what steps to take in response, an experienced Pearland dog bite lawyer can help. Attorney Keith B. French is a skilled Texas personal injury litigator who has assisted many clients in obtaining compensation for their losses following preventable incidents such as animal bites.
Texas and the “One-Bite” Rule for Dog Bite Cases
Many states have specific statutes governing the liability of dog owners should their animals bite someone else. Texas actually has no such law “on the books.” But the Texas Supreme Court established a common-law standard in a 1974 decision, Marshall v. Rane, which judges throughout the state continue to follow to the present day.
Basically, the Marshall decision established what is generally known as the “one-bite rule” for assessing an animal owner’s civil liability. This means that if a person’s dog had a prior history of biting people, the owner can be held strictly liable for any subsequent biting incidents. But even if the dog had no prior history of biting, a bite victim could still recover damages if they can prove the plaintiff was negligent in handling their dog.
It should be noted that in this context, a dog owner may be held liable for any sort of attack that results in injury, even if not technically a bite. For example, if a known vicious dog chases a person to the point where they trip and fall, that victim could still seek compensation for their injuries based on the dog owner’s negligence or the one-bite rule.
Dog bite victims should also understand, however, that the owner may have a number of legal defenses depending on the facts of a case. For instance, if the owner can prove you were on their property unlawfully–i.e., trespassing–then they are not responsible if their dog bites you. Similarly, if the defense can prove that you provoked the dog in any way, that may reduce or bar your recovery of damages even if you can prove the owner was negligent in some way.
Contact Keith B. French Law Today
Dog and animal bites are no minor matter. Victims are often left with serious injuries that can develop life-threatening infections if not properly treated. Additionally, bite victims often suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and other long-term emotional trauma.
Fortunately, many dog and animal bite cases are resolved without the need for extensive litigation. Owners are often willing to settle a potential personal injury claim, and many attacks by domestic animals are covered by homeowner’s insurance policies. Still, your chances of obtaining a more favorable settlement are improved if you work with a skilled Pearland dog and animal bite lawyer. Contact the offices of Keith B. French, PLLC, today to schedule a free consultation.