Austin Dog Bite Lawyer
Dog bites can be a traumatizing experience, both physically and emotionally. In addition, dog bite victims often have costly medical bills and other expenses related to their injuries. The right attorney can help you fight for justice and pursue the compensation you deserve.
At Loewy Law Firm, our legal team understands the unique challenges of recovering from a dog bite injury. Our experienced Austin dog bite attorneys can provide you with legal guidance and support while seeking the money you need. Contact us today for a free legal case review.
Dog Bite Statistics
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), an estimated 4.5 million people in the United States are bitten by dogs each year. Unfortunately, dog bites can be deadly, too. From 2005-2019, dogs killed over 520 people in the US.
In Austin and Travis County, dog bite reports have increased, with 1,560 bites reported in 2012 and 1,696 bites reported in 2015. According to a study on fatal dog bites in Texas, 88 percent of fatal canine attacks occur on the dog owner’s property. In addition, children are the most affected by dog bites, with the AVMA reporting that over 45 percent of fatal dog bite injury victims were under the age of 16 from 2008-2018.
Dog Bite Injuries
Depending on the severity of the bite, dog bite victims may experience a range of physical and psychological effects. Common dog bite injuries include:
- Lacerations: Lacerations are deep cuts caused by the dog’s teeth. These wounds can be painful and may require medical attention to prevent infection.
- Scarring: Dog bites can cause permanent scarring on the skin, particularly if they are left untreated.
- Muscle damage: Dog bites can cause damage to the underlying muscle, tendons, and ligaments. This type of injury can be excruciating and may require surgery to repair.
- Emotional trauma: Being attacked by a dog can be a traumatic experience for both adults and children, sometimes resulting in anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Infections: If not properly treated, a dog bite can become infected. Common infections include tetanus, rabies, and bacterial infections such as Staphylococcus and Streptococcus.
- Nerve damage: When a dog bites with enough force, the nerves in the area can be damaged, leading to significant pain and decreased sensation. This can lead to permanent or long-term nerve damage, resulting in lasting discomfort and physical disability.
- Facial injuries: Dog bite facial injuries can include lacerations, scarring, and disfigurement. Additionally, a victim can suffer facial fractures, broken teeth, and eye damage if a dog bite is strong enough.
What Should You Do if Attacked by a Dog in Austin?
If you are attacked by a dog in Austin, taking the proper steps to protect your health and legal rights is crucial. Here are the steps to take after a dog bite injury:
- Get medical treatment: If you suffer a dog bite injury, seek medical attention immediately. Even if your injuries appear minor, getting a professional medical evaluation can help diagnose any underlying issues that may be present and prevent future infections. Keep all records of your medical treatments and bills related to the injury.
- Collect information about the dog and owner: After receiving medical treatment, try to gather information about the dog and its owner, including the name and contact information of the owner, as well as details about the breed and age of the dog.
- Take photos: Taking pictures of the scene where the attack took place and of your injuries can be very helpful in a legal case. Make sure to take close-up shots of any bite marks or scratches on your body.
- Report the attack: After a dog bite, you should report the attack to Austin Animal Services, so they can document and investigate the incident and provide resources regarding animal control laws in the city.
- Keep all of your records: After reporting the incident to the authorities, store all documents related to the incident, such as medical bills, police reports, and other documents.
- Contact an Austin dog bite lawyer: After being injured by a dog attack, consider contacting an experienced dog bite attorney who can help you understand your legal rights and work to get you the best possible outcome in your case.
Does Texas Have a One-Bite Rule?
Texas follows the “one-bite rule,” which means that a person may be eligible for compensation if they can show that the dog bit someone before or acted as if it wanted to do so. This only applies if the owner knew or reasonably should have known of the dog’s previous vicious or dangerous conduct. In other words, the victim must prove that the owner or keeper of the dog had reason to know that the animal was likely to cause harm. A dog bite injury victim can use the following evidence to establish that the dog owner was aware or should have been aware of the dog’s tendency to bite:
- The owner keeps the dog chained or muzzled.
- The owner received reports of the dog growling, attacking other dogs, or lunging at people.
- The owner trained the dog to fight or serve as a guard dog.
- The owner warned others about the dog’s propensity to bite.
- The owner has a “Beware of Dog” sign in their yard.
It is important to be aware that there is a trespasser exception to the dog bite rule. If the dog bit you while you were trespassing on the dog owner’s property, the owner might not be liable for your injuries.
Types of Dog Bite Claims
When a dog owner’s negligence leads to a dog bite injury, they may be liable for the victim’s medical bills and other losses. Negligence is when a person fails to take reasonable precautions to protect others, leading to injury. For example, if a dog owner fails to adequately control their dog or fails to abide by Austin’s leash laws and someone is bitten, the owner can be held liable for the resulting injuries.
Dog bite victims can also potentially bring claims against another liable party. For example, if a landlord is aware of a tenant’s dangerous dog but fails to protect others from it, they could be held liable for any injuries caused by the dog. Similarly, if a business fails to take adequate precautions against customers’ dogs, like requiring them to be on leashes, they could be held responsible for any resulting injuries.
Comparative Negligence for Texas Dog Bite Injuries
If you’re injured in a dog bite incident in Texas, it’s essential to know that Texas is a modified comparative negligence state. The court will deduct any percentage of fault attributed to the plaintiff from their award. For example, if the plaintiff is 20% at fault, their award would be reduced by 20%. However, if the plaintiff is more than 50% at fault, they are not allowed to recover damages from the defendant. Regarding dog bite cases, comparative negligence can come into play if the plaintiff provoked the animal, entered the property without permission, or failed to take reasonable safety precautions.
What Types of Compensation Can You Get for a Dog Bite Injury?
After a dog bite in Austin, Texas, you may be able to pursue compensation for your medical bills and other losses relating to the dog bite. Depending on the severity of the injury, victims of a dog bite may be able to seek compensation for:
- Medical expenses: A dog bite victim can file a claim for any medical costs incurred due to the injury, such as doctor visits, hospitalizations, rehabilitation, medications, or any other costs related to the treatment of the injury.
- Pain and suffering: Victims of a dog bite may be able to seek compensation for the emotional distress and physical pain they experienced as a result of their injury.
- Lost wages: If the victim could not work due to their injury, they can pursue compensation for any lost wages during their recovery period.
- Punitive damages: In certain cases, a victim may seek punitive damages, which are intended to punish the dog’s owner for their negligence or recklessness leading up to the attack.
How a Dog Bite Attorney Can Help
Dog bite attorneys understand the laws that protect dog bite victims and their families. They know how to navigate the legal system. After a dog bite injury, a lawyer can help you determine the strength of your case, gather evidence to support your claim, file a lawsuit if necessary, negotiate settlements, and represent you in court. An experienced dog bite attorney can also help you seek the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Speak With a Dog Bite Lawyer in Austin
If you suffered an injury from a dog bite in Austin, seek the help of an experienced dog bite injury lawyer. At the Loewy Law Firm, our experienced personal injury lawyers have extensive experience representing clients attacked by dogs. We understand the legal complexities of dog bite claims and have the knowledge and resources to help you pursue the compensation you need. Contact Loewy Law Firm today for a free legal consultation with an experienced Austin dog bite attorney.