Austin Dog Bite Laws
If a dog bit you or someone close to you, know that you are not alone, and legal help is available to you. The Austin dog bite lawyers of The Loewy Law Firm understand the pain, frustration, and uncertainty that comes with vicious animal attacks that cause severe injuries. You might be facing costly medical bills and other unexpected expenses. You might be dealing with physical and emotional scars that might never heal. You also may not know where to turn for fair compensation for what you’ve experienced. If this has happened to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for help.
We have extensive experience handling dog bite cases in Austin, and we’ll be ready to put our skills to work for you. Before recovering compensation, it is important to know how Austin and the state of Texas’ laws regarding pets will apply to your case. Read more here and contact us right away to discuss your legal options if you’ve been bitten.
What Are Austin’s Dog Bite Laws?
While some states allow dog owners to be held legally liable for any dog bites or injury, Texas state law observes the “one-bite” rule: for a dog owner to be legally responsible for an attack committed by their dog, it must be proved that the owner knew that the animal had a tendency to be dangerous. Still, Texas allows local jurisdictions to adopt other laws regarding aggressive dogs.
The City of Austin has implemented further restrictions for dogs that have a documented history of aggressive behavior or attacks on other animals or people. According to Austin / Travis County Animal Services, a “dangerous dog” is one that has, when outside its usual enclosure, committed an unprovoked attack or aggressive action threatening bodily harm. When a dog is found to be dangerous, its owner becomes legally responsible for implementing several requirements, including putting a “dangerous dog” tag on the dog’s collar, keeping the dog restrained or enclosed at all times, and obtaining liability insurance or showing proof of financial responsibility in case of further injuries caused by attacks or bites.
A “vicious dog” designation is more serious, based on the number of attacks and the severity of the injuries inflicted. The owner of a dog found to be “vicious” by these standards may have their pet’s registration revoked and be required to remove the dog from within Austin’s city limits. So Austin’s local laws concerning dangerous and vicious dogs make compensation claims a bit more complex than in other parts of Texas.
What to Do if You’ve Been Bitten by a Dog in Austin
If you have been bitten or otherwise injured by a dog, the first thing you should do is clean and bandage the wound—wash with mild soap and flush by running warm water over it for several minutes. Use a clean cloth to be sure the bleeding is stanched, then apply an antibiotic ointment (if you have it) and cover the wound with a sterile bandage. If the wound is severe, call 911 for emergency medical assistance, and even if it appears to be only to be a minor injury, you should go see a doctor as soon as possible.
Austin residents should call 311 to report the incident, and Travis County residents outside the city limits should call 512-974-2000. All dog bites or injuries need to be reported to the city’s Austin Animal Center.
It’s critical that you follow common-sense steps for care of the bite, including the cleaning and dressing of the wound, and seek medical attention as soon as possible. Reporting the bite or attack is essential as well since a report of the incident will then be generated, and, if needed, an investigation will be launched. Reports provide documentation that can be extremely valuable if compensation needs to be determined at a later time.
How Do I Know if I Need a Lawyer?
If you suspect that the owner knew that their dog could be dangerous, then Texas’ one-bite law would allow you to seek compensation for damages in court. However, the facts of the case may not be clear-cut, and there are other avenues, besides a lawsuit, for obtaining compensation for your injuries. Once you have sought appropriate medical treatment and reported the bite to the Austin Animal Center, it’s a good idea to contact an attorney or firm with experience in dog bite cases. They can advise you on the best way to proceed in seeking damages and compensation in your particular situation.
What if a Friend or Family Member’s Dog Bit Me?
If you were bitten by the dog of someone you know—a friend or relative or neighbor—then you’ll naturally want to approach the question of legal responsibility and possible compensation carefully. Most homeowner’s insurance policies include some coverage for animal bites and attacks, usually both on and off the owner’s property.
While a resolution involving insurance might be a more convenient and less confrontational option for many people, several factors should be considered to ensure that you will be appropriately compensated for your injuries. These include the limits of the dog owner’s coverage, whether they have medical payments coverage as well as personal liability coverage, the full cost of your physical injuries and your pain and suffering, and more. Insurance policies are rarely simple and straightforward. And, insurance companies don’t like to pay out claims when they don’t have to. You can expect them to try to deny or diminish any claim you make to save the company money.
What Compensation Could I Recover for a Dog Bite Claim?
Possible compensation for injuries from a dog bite or other injury includes:
• Medical expenses
• Pain and suffering
• Scarring and disfigurement
• Lost income
• Psychological and emotional trauma and treatment
How an Austin Dog Bite Lawyer Can Help
The dog bite attorneys at The Loewy Law Firm are here to help you if a dog has bitten you in Austin or the surrounding areas. We understand just how painful your injuries and this experience can be, and we are here to help you get answers, justice, and fair compensation. Let us help you navigate the often-complicated waters of a dog bite claim, and let us help you get the money you need to rebuild your life and move on from the attack. Call us at (512) 280-0800, fill out a contact form, or chat with us live on our site and schedule a free consultation with us right away.