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Dog Bites & Dangerous Animal Lawyers

Dog Bite Statistics

In the United States, each year 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs.[1]   The majority of the bites occur in children, with the highest rate for those children ages 5 to 9 years [2].  Animal bites account for 1% of all emergency department visits in the United States and more than $50 million in health care costs per year. [3] In 2012 alone, over 27,000 people underwent reconstructive surgery as a result of dog attacks. [4]  Most dog attacks are from a dog usually known to the victim. 77% of dog bites are from pets of family or friends, and 50% of attacks occur on the property of the owner of the dog. [5] Between 2005 to 2013, 283 Americans suffered death due to dog bite injuries. Of those dog bite injuries, 62.2% (176) were caused by the Pit Bull breed, 11.7% (33) were caused by the Rottweiler breed, 3.9% (11) were caused by the Husky breed,  3.9% (11) were caused by the German Shepherd breed. [6]  Dog bites are a very serious problem with many victims and very serious life altering injuries.  In many cases, a person bitten by an animal may have a legal right to recover damages from the animal’s owner or another responsible party.  Attorney Rosie Alvarado represents victims who are seriously injured by dog bites.

Deadline to Bring a Dog Bite Law Suit in Texas

In Texas you have a 2 year Statute of Limitations in a dog bite case.  This means you have two years from the date of the dog bite to file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court.  If you fail to file your dog bite lawsuit by the specified two year deadline your claim can no longer be validly filed and will be barred forever.

What You Have to Prove In A Texas Dog Bite Case?

Texas is a “negligence” or “one bite rule” state . This means in order to make a recovery in a dog bite case, the injured person must show that:

  • the dog’s owner knew the dog had bitten someone before or had acted aggressively in the past, or
  • the dog’s owner was negligent in controlling the dog or preventing the bite from occurring, and that negligence caused the plaintiff’s injuries.

Essentially, you will need evidence to prove that the owner, while aware that the dog was aggressive, failed to use reasonable care to prevent the dog from biting others.

What You Can Recover In A Texas Dangerous Dog Bite Case?

Depending on how series the injuries are resulting from a dog or dangerous animal attack, you may be entitled to recover for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of future earnings
  • Pain and suffering
  • Physical impairment
  • Physical disfigurement
  • Mental anguish
  • Property damage
  • Loss of consortium

In some instances, you may also be entitled to punitive damages, which are awarded to punish someone when his or her behavior is found to be especially harmful. To be awarded punitive damages, you must show that the wrongdoer’s conduct is more than mere negligence. Instead, you would have to show reckless or intentional conduct. For example, if a dog owner knew his dog was very dangerous, trained it to be vicious or allowed it to roam freely in the neighborhood, and the dog eventually attacked a child, a judge or jury could conclude that punitive damages are appropriate.

In some instances, if you witnessed a horrific dog bite attack you may be able to bring a “Bystander Claim” to recover for your emotional injuries.  Texas law is restrictive on who and how such bystander claims may be made.  To determine if you can recover under a “Bystander Claim” it must be determined whether you were near the scene of the accident (close proximity), if the shock you experienced was a direct emotional impact from a sensory and contemporaneous perception of the accident (experiential perception), and if you and the victim of the attack are closely related or not.

 Types of Dangerous Dog Breeds

There is considerable debate on whether or not certain breeds of dogs are inherently more prone to commit attacks causing serious injury (i.e., so driven by instinct and breeding that, under certain circumstances, they are exceedingly likely to attempt or commit dangerous attacks). Some of the breeds which have received national attention for vicious injury causing attacks are:

  • Pit Bull
  • Rottweiler
  • German Shepherd
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Bullmastiff
  • Husky
  • Malamute
  • Wolf Hybrid
  • Boxer
  • Great Dane
  • Akita
  • Chow

This list is by no means all inclusive.

Texas Dog Bite Law

There are several statutes that cover dog attacks, and dangerous dogs and animals in Texas. Below are a some links to various statutes:

Defenses to Dog Bite Liability In Texas

In Texas, a dog owner typically has two defenses against a dog bite claim: lack of knowledge and trespassing.

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured as a result of a dog bite or dangerous animal attack, call Rosie Alvarado P.C. for a free personal injury case evaluation at (210) 223-2685.

Rosie Alvarado, P.C.
115 Camaron,
San Antonio, Texas 78205
Phone: 210-223-2685

 

References:

  • Gilchrist J, Sacks JJ, White D, Kresnow MJ. Dog bites: still a problem Injury Prevention 2008.
  • CDC. Nonfatal Dog Bite–Related Injuries Treated in Hospital Emergency Departments–United States, 2001. MMWR 2003; 52(26): 605-610.
  • Ellis, R; Ellis, C (Aug 15, 2014). “Dog and cat bites.”. American family physician 90 (4): 239–43.).
  • American Society of Plastic Surgeons. 2012 Plastic Surgery Statistics Report [online]. 2012. [cited 2013 Oct 24]. Available from URL:  http://www.plasticsurgery.org/Documents/news-resources/statistics/2012-Plastic-Surgery-Statistics/full-plastic-surgery-statistics-report.pdf
  • Phillips, K. Dog Bite Statistics. Available from URL: http://dogbitelaw.com/dog-bite-statistics/all-dog-bite-statistics.html
  • Dog attack deaths and maimings, U.S. & Canada September 1982 to December 31, 2013, by Merritt Clifton, editor Animal People, December 31, 2013.

 

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Rosie Alvarado, P.C.