Houston Dog Bite Lawyers
Dog bites and attacks cause numerous deaths and serious disfiguring injuries every year in and around Houston. Children are especially vulnerable to getting attacked. If you or your child are injured by an attack, seek a dog bite lawyer with experience in handling these types of cases. Click here to start the process and see if you have a claim.
This could be you or someone you love.
In August 2016, an 86-year-old grandfather and Houston area resident was bit in the leg by a neighbor’s dog.
He immediately had his injuries tended to at the hospital. Still, despite the professional medical care, the injury became a massive infection that turned his leg black and threatened his life.
Even worse, this episode wasn’t the first time he and has family had a run-in with the unruly canine. The dog has a habit of escaping from its yard and attacking children and families in the area.
What level of owner neglect was in play when, time after time, children and the elderly were unsafe in their own neighborhood?
Obviously this should never happen in Houston, TX, or anywhere.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a dog bite it is important that you contact the experienced Houston, Texas, dog bite lawyers at Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C. as soon as possible.
Treating Dog Bite Injuries from Physical to Legal
Dog bites are a personal injury with devastating and often unpredictable consequences …
- Mental anguish
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Long-term physical and psychological care
When we meet someone who has sustained a serious dog bite, we understand the severity of the situation and are prepared to take every legal recourse to obtain justice.
What to Do After a Dog Bite
If you or a loved one have been bitten by a dog in Houston or anywhere in Texas, first and foremost you need to seek medical attention for the injuries.
After a dog attack, these are the most important things you can do:
- Obtain proper medical attention as soon as possible.
- Have somebody identify the owner of the dog so that you can verify that its vaccinations are up to date.
- Contact the board-certified personal injury trial lawyer at Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C. before speaking with any insurance company adjuster.
You want a professional who knows “what are the dog bite laws in Texas” giving you sound legal advice.
Dog Bites: Who Is at Fault?
When a dog bites or otherwise attacks a person, the owner can be held liable.
Often, such liability is covered by a homeowner’s insurance policy of the dog owner.
To prove liability for a dog attack, general negligence factors are analyzed. Basically, if the owner knew or should have known that the dog was capable of biting or attacking a human, they could be held liable for the injuries.
Some breeds of dogs attack more than others. Furthermore, if the owner is in violation of any governmental regulation such as leash or containment laws or ordinances, the liability could be greater.
The lawyers at Michael P. Fleming & Associates help you navigate the judicial system and any questions you have about dog bites and who is responsible.
Dog Bite Liability in Texas
When it comes to dig bites, who is responsible? Who should pay for the dog bite?
Texas is considered a “one bite state” because it does not specifically have a law about dog bites. As a result, someone cannot recover damages from a dog owner if the dog has not previously bitten another person or behaved in a way that suggests that it was about to bite another person.
However, those who are bitten by dogs may be able to sue the owner for negligence.
Under Texas law:
- A dog owner can be sued if he or she did not take the necessary steps to ensure that the dog did not injure someone else.
- Someone can be sued if they witness their dog initiating an attack on someone, but does nothing to stop it when it is in progress.
- A landlord can be sued for knowingly having a vicious dog on the property and failing to protect tenants.
In addition, Texas has a bystander law that allows someone who witnessed a dog attack — someone close to the victim, like a sibling, parent or child — to sue the owner. This law recognizes that witnessing such an attack can cause emotional distress, therefore you may be eligible for damages when being present during a dog attack.
Dog bites can be serious, and in extreme cases, they can even lead to the death of the victim.
After you have been treated for your injuries, if you want to hold the dog owner legally responsible for the incident, contact a qualified personal injury attorney.
At Michael P. Fleming & Associates, we will talk to you about how much dog bite compensation you may be able to obtain for your injury.
You may be eligible to receive compensation to pay for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages.
What Dog Breeds Bite Most Often
Dogs are said to be man’s best friend. However, over 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the United States.
Our dog bite lawyers are also kept busy helping folks who have been attacked. In 2011, 31 fatal dog attacks occurred in this country, with 45% of these fatal attacks being by a dog outside of the family.
Texas, along with California, leads the country with the highest number of fatal dog attacks.
Many factors have been shown to play a role in a dog attack — breed, gender and neutering.
Studies have shown that male dogs are over 6 times more likely to bite a person than female dogs. Also, neutered dogs are less likely to attack than dogs who remain intact. Furthermore, the frequency of attacks and degree of resulting harm to victims differs with the breed.
A recent study tracked dog attacks from 1982 to 2011, and examined the relation between a breed type and the number of attacks on humans. As is often speculated, pit bulls, rottweilers, wolf hybrids, and their close mixes lead the pack in attacks on people; they account for 77% of attacks that result in bodily harm.
Moreover, this category is responsible for 73% of the attacks on children and 81% of the attacks on adults. And, most frightening is that nearly 80% of attacks by these breeds result in a severe maiming or disfigurement of their victims(s) and nearly 70% of the attacks result in death.
Although there appears to be a greater incidence of death resulting from attacks by this category of breeds, this does not mean that these breeds are solely responsible for the startling number of dog bites to people each year.
Studies show that any dog can bite, but the degree of injury is more severe and the likelihood of a resulting fatality is greater among attacks by pit bulls and their closest relatives.
Dog attacks result in costly medical treatment as well as physical pain and emotional scarring. Nearly one-fourth of the 4.5 million people bitten each year by dogs in the United States require medical attention.
A dog attack victim can experience many medical complications resulting from an attack including infection of the wound site, and prolonged healing times.
Furthermore, these injuries can often times require surgical intervention including reconstructive or scar revision surgeries.
The emotional scars left behind on the victims of dog attacks and their families are often the worst and hardest to address.
Who will pay if I bring a claim for a Dog Bite?
Dog bite victims often wonder if it is worth pursuing a claim against an individual for the pain and suffering, medical expenses and other damages caused by a dog attack. The fact is that people often have insurance coverage that will provide the compensation you or your child deserves. We have had great success pursuing dog bite claims against people who have homeowner’s insurance. These policies usually provide liability protection which would cover dog bite claims. We have also seen situations where an auto insurance policy can cover a dog bite. Certainly, if the attack takes place on the property of a business, the commercial insurance policy should provide coverage.
Types of Dog Bite Injuries
A number of studies have shown that the highest percent of injuries from dog bites affect children aged five (5) to nine (9).
To make matters worse, the most of the bites injure the head, face and neck. Injuries can include:
- Cuts and lacerations of the skin causing bleeding
- Broken blood vessels and bones
- Nerve and muscle damage
- Physical impairment
Treatment and Risk of Infection
Dog bite injuries require immediate medical attention primarily because of the risk of infection. This is usually treated with antibiotics, however there are more serious infections like Tetanus and Rabies.
- Tetanus, which is also referred to as lockjaw, can be fatal. It causes muscle spasms which can be so severe that they can cause bones to fracture and affect your ability to breath. Most people would have been immunized for tetanus as a child but if it has been more than 10 years since immunization, you will likely require a booster shot if you have been bitten by a dog.
- Rabies is another serious infection that can cause an acute inflammation of the brain and affect the central nervous system. Like tetanus, rabies is transmitted through a bite from infected animals like dogs. A series of injections may be required to prevent rabies after you have been bitten.
To treat cuts and lacerations stitches will be required for bites that penetrate and puncture the skin. Depending on the severity of the bite, victims may be left with permanent scarring and disfigurement.
What You Can Do To Prevent Bites
Dogs may be man’s best friend, but they are not always friendly — especially when they are around young children.
In order to protect your children from dog bites, the National Institutes of Health suggests that parents provide their children with dog bite prevention education.
Some important tips include;
- Always be careful when visiting friends and relatives who have dogs, but no small children. Chances are, their animals are not used to being around small children and may react negatively – and even become jealous – when a small child is around.
- Teach your children never to approach an unfamiliar dog.
- Keep your children away from dogs that have a history of aggression.
- Tell your child how to behave when approached by a dog. Namely, children should stay calm, stay still, and avoid eye contact with the animal.
No matter what the circumstances you should always be sure to keep a watchful eye on your child whenever he or she is around a dog, whether it is familiar to you or not.
What are some of the defenses in Dog Bite Cases?
Not every dog bite or dog attack means that the owner is liable for damages. Some defenses raised by dog owners include common-sense situations such as:
- The dog was provoked. If somebody was intentionally trying to hurt the dog before the attack, there may be a defense that this caused the attack. However, this does not prevent liability when a child is attacked if the owner was negligent in letting the dog get too close to the kid.
- Trespassing. Certainly, people have guard dogs to protect their property from trespassers and criminals. If a dog is kept in its enclosed property and a trespasser is attacked, the owner could claim that the trespasser was owed not duty to protect it form the dog. This defense would not apply to people who have permission – express or implied – such as meter readers or postal workers.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a dog attack, contact Houston, Texas, Superlawyer Michael P. Fleming to discuss your claim immediately.
Our lawyers are versed in dealing with the injuries you have experienced and the demands of these claims.