Dogs can be man’s best friend, but not necessarily if they fall into the hands of the wrong owners. Although bites can sometimes result in minor injuries, they can also be severe, resulting in medical expenses and, potentially, even trauma, if small children are involved. The injuries depend upon the circumstances of the situation and those involved.
At the Law Offices of Ronald A. Ramos, we have handled many cases related to dog bite injuries in San Antonio, and we understand the many issues involved in these cases—especially the trauma that can apply to children and even parents who witness their children being attacked. If an animal bites someone, it is possible to seek compensation from the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance, allowing for the victim to address any injuries they may have incurred.What to Do After a Dog Bite
- Call the Police. Contact the police or animal control. Make sure that they fill out an incident report. This, along with other documentation of your dog bite/animal attack can help later when determining who is responsible for your injuries.
- Seek Medical Attention. If the injuries are severe enough to require emergency care, call 911 or go to the emergency room. Follow your doctor’s instructions to care for your injury.
- Document the Incident. Obtain as much information about the animal’s owner as you can, including name, address, any previous vicious behavior, and whether the dog is up-to-date on vaccinations. Also obtain names and contact information for any witnesses.
Although Texas does not technically have a statute on the books regarding dog bites, the state abides by what is commonly known as the “one bite rule.” This essentially means that a victim of a dog bite can recover compensation from the animal’s owner if the dog previously bit someone or indicated a similar type of behavior and the owner knew about it. This makes the investigation following the incident crucial in terms of uncovering history on the dog’s behavior and any knowledge on the part of the owner. It is also crucial to determine if the dog is inherently dangerous, or if they were provoked by the owner or someone else.
Like many personal injury claims, bite cases can be based on negligence, whereby the dog’s owner owed the victim a duty, the owner breached this duty, and this breach caused your injury. Various counties and cities may also have ordinances providing for extra requirements concerning animals, such as where they must be on leash, areas where they cannot trespass, etc. In some of these instances, the victim may be able to argue (with the assistance of an experienced attorney) that the dog owner’s behavior automatically violated the ordinance and was negligence per se.Who pays for dog bites?
When victims recover a personal injury settlement after a dog bite, it is usually paid under the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance policy. In cases in which the homeowner’s insurance policy doesn’t apply due to exclusions or extenuating circumstances, victims may recover directly from the dog owner.Other Animal-Related Laws in Texas
- Landowners must rid premises of a known dangerous canine, or they can be held liable
- Comparative Negligence: If the victim was in any way partially responsible for the attack (i.e. by provoking the dog, etc.), any compensation is reduced by the degree of the victim’s negligence (children are not held to the same standard of care as adults)
- Pets known to cause injury to other animals cannot roam at large (Sec. 822.012)
- If your pet is injured or killed by another pet (or by a person), you may be entitled to compensation.
It is crucial to seek advice from an experienced attorney to guide you through the process if you are concerned about a dog bite incident. Even if you feel that your bite injury is minor, it is always a good idea to get a second opinion and ensure that there aren’t unforeseen future costs associated with your injury.
Serving San Antonio and Laredo for over 33 years, the Law Offices of Ronald A. Ramos are committed to individuals and families that have been injured due to the negligent actions of someone else. We understand the value of personal service and our firm is dedicated to providing the highest standard of legal representation.
Contact us by calling (210) 308-8811 or filling out our online form to schedule a free consultation with our attorneys at your convenience. Often these cases are handled on a contingency basis, which means we don’t get paid unless you receive compensation for your injuries.