Dog attacks represent some of the most gruesome personal injuries that are suffered, particularly where a child is involved (as is often the case). In its most recent study, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, estimated that at least 27 people died as the result of dog bite attacks (18 people in 1997 and 9 in 1998; See Dog Bite Data). Of 27 human dog bite related fatalities (DBRF), 19 (70%) were children (1 was 30 days old, 3 were between 7 and 11 months old, 9 were between 1 and 4 years old, and 6 were between 5 and 11 years old), and 8 were adults (ages 17, 44, 64, 70, 73, 75, 75, and 87). It is important to teach children to be safe around dogs to prevent these catastrophic events from occurring.
Texas has a strict liability dog bite statute that states that the owner of a dangerous dog is liable for damages up to $10,000 if the dog makes an unprovoked attack on another person and causes bodily injury. An owner may also be criminally liable. Tex. Health and Safety Code § 822.044.
In addition, the old common law approach is also available for injured plaintiffs. Under the traditional approach, the owner of a dangerous dog is liable for damages inflicted by his/her dog if the plantiff can prove:
- 1. That the animal is of vicious, dangerous or mischievous propensities
- 2. That the owner or keeper has knowledge, either actual or constructive, of such characteristics
- 3.That injury or damage result from such propensities of which the owner or keeper had knowledge. Wells v. Burns ( Tex. Civ. App. - El Paso 1972 )
If a stray bites you, you have little legal recourse because you must file your claim against a dog's owner or keeper. Your municipality is not responsible for the dog, even if you have called the animal warden several times to pick up the stray.
In all dog bite cases it is essential that measures be taken promptly to preserve evidence, investigate the incident in question, and to enable physicians or other expert witnesses to thoroughly evaluate any injuries. If you or a loved one is a victim of a dog bite, call Rochelle McCullough, L.L.P. now at (214) 953-0182 or CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT A SIMPLE CASE FORM. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to accept your case, we will work on a contingent fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary award or recovery of funds. Don't delay! You may have a valid claim and be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but a lawsuit must be filed before the statute of limitations expires.