The United States Postal Service recently released their 2015 report on employee injury statistics. According to the report, San Antonio ranked 10th among American cities for most dog caused letter carrier injuries. San Antonio letter carriers reported 39 injuries in 2015, up significantly from the previous year. Across the entire country, postal service workers reported over 6000 dog bite incidents. If you have been injured by a dog, please contact an experienced dog bite injury attorney for immediate legal assistance.
Dog Bites Injuries are Major Problem in Texas
Apart from San Antonio’s appearance on the list, the report from the Postal Service was notable because three other Texas cities also appeared in the top ten (Houston, Dallas and Fort Worth). This followed a report earlier this month from News Four San Antonio, which stated that State Farm Insurance paid out a record $118 million in dog bite injury settlements in 2015. Once again, Texas was one of the most common states reporting dog bite injury settlements, with 165 injury claims filed with State Farm Insurance alone. Further, late last year it was also reported that roaming dangerous dogs presented a serious safety issue in some San Antonio neighborhoods. This is worrying because dog bite injuries can be very serious, and even deadly.
Three Things You Need to Know About Dog Bite Injury Liability
Taking legal action after a dog bite is complicated. An experienced dog bite lawyer should always comprehensively review the individual circumstances of your case. However, there are a few general things that you should know:
- The dog’s history matters: Texas uses the ‘one bite rule’ when assigning liability for dog attack injuries. Essentially, this means that dog owners are only held liable if they ‘should have known’ that their dog posed a safety risk. So, if a dog attacks a person, from that point forward the dog owner will have a heightened obligation to protect the public from that animal.
- The ‘one bite rule’ is not literal: Though the Texas common law for dog bite liability is referred to as the ‘one bite rule’, a dog does not actually have to bite someone to be considered a threat. This means that Texas courts will consider any prior aggressive behavior shown by the the dog in question. If a dog consistently and aggressively barks at strangers, then it will not matter that the dog never actually attacked any person before. That dog has displayed clear aggressiveness, and therefore the owners are responsible to take reasonable precautions to protect innocent people. If they fail to do so, they will be held liable for any injuries.
- Punitive damages are possible: In some limited cases, Texas juries may award punitive damages for dog bite injuries. This can occur in cases where the court determines that the actions of the owners were extremely reckless, malicious, or intentional.
Need Legal Assistance?
Dog owners need to be held accountable for the damage caused by their animal. If you have been injured by a dog attack in Texas, our experienced personal injury team will help you recover the fair compensation you deserve. Please contact our San Antonio office today at (210) 308-8811 to schedule a free legal review of your case.