Texas Woman Awarded Nearly $700,000 in Dog Bite Lawsuit
The Star-Telegram recently reported that that a Texas woman was awarded a verdict of $695,000 in a dog bite case. The dog attack occurred in June of 2014 and left the victim with ‘permanent and disfiguring’ injuries. Dog bites remain a serious problem throughout Texas, including in San Antonio. Dog attack injuries can be very severe, victims should always seek immediate medical attention.The Lawsuit
According to the testimony heard by the jury, the victim, Jennifer Duggin, was out taking a walk around her neighborhood, when she turned a corner, an aggressive dog came running straight in her direction. The dog attacked, leaving her with severe vascular damage and permanent leg scarring. Her lawsuit alleges that this particular dog had bitten other people in the past and that the owners had specifically trained it to act violently. Based off of this evidence, the victim argued that the dog owners were unquestionably aware that their animal posed a danger. In Texas, owners of dangerous dogs have heightened requirements. They must take prudent measures to protect the public from their animal. In this case, the attack occurred when the dog owners were out of town. The couple’s children were watching the house at this time. Duggin’s attorneys argued that the minor children were not adequately able to supervise this type dangerous dog, therefore prudent care was not taken by the dog owners. The court agreed with the victim and found that her injuries were caused by dog owner negligence. She was awarded compensation for her injuries and for her pain and suffering.Texas Dog Bite Law: Dangerous Dogs
The fact that this dog displayed aggressive tendencies before this incident is very relevant under Texas dog bite law. Without evidence of past aggressive behavior, Texas dog owners may be able to escape liability. The common law is the ‘one bite’ rule. Essentially, it means that owners of dogs who have displayed aggressiveness towards people in the past have additional legal obligations. As soon as a dog displays aggression, that dog owner has to recognize that their animal presents a potential danger. Therefore, if the owner fails to take proper precautions to protect innocent people, they will be held liable for the injuries caused by that animal. Texas courts have found the following behaviors to be sufficient indicators of aggressiveness in dogs:
- Biting anyone;
- Being trained to fight other dogs or attack people;
- Jumping on people; and
- Threatening barking.
In this case, there was evidence presented that the dog has bitten people in the past and that the dog was trained to be violent. Sometimes, the evidence of past aggression will not be quite so clear. An experienced San Antonio dog bite lawyer can review your specific case and help you prove liability before a Texas jury.Contact Our Office Today
Violent dogs can cause serious damage, especially to vulnerable populations. If you, or a family member, has suffered a dog bite injury, let us help. Contact our San Antonio office today at (210) 308-8811 to schedule a free legal consultation.