It's an unfortunate reality that man's best friend sometimes turns on him or her. Be it an aggressive breed, neglectful owners, a predisposition towards biting and attacking, or other factors, dog bites and the associated injuries are all too common. Some breeds are more predisposed to violent behavior than others, and some breeds' attacks are prone to be especially gruesome. And, frankly, some individual dogs are just meaner than others. Because dogs are such a common pet and because dog bite injuries occur so frequently, a substantial body of law has risen around these types of cases.
Elements of a Dog Bite Claim
To hold a dog owner liable for their pet's bites, the State of Texas has established the following test, which the victim must prove in order to recover:
To sustain . . . a claim, the victim of [a] dog bite must show: “(1) the defendant was the owner or possessor of the animal; (2) the defendant owed a duty to exercise reasonable care to prevent the animal from injuring others; (3) the defendant breached that duty; and (4) the defendant's breach proximately caused the plaintiff's injury.”
Stein v. Reger (Tex. App. Jun. 2, 2016) (citing Labaj v. VanHouten (Tex. App. 2010)). This is relatively straightforward, but there are some nuances to what constitutes “breaching the duty of exercising reasonable care” when it comes to dog bite lawsuits. As a Texas dog bite lawyer will tell you, perhaps the most important nuance is the doctrine that commonly has been called the “one bite rule.”
The One Bite Rule
The “one bite rule” or the “one free bite rule” is one of the most-known doctrines—primarily because of its unusual name. This rule essentially states “that a dog owner must know of a dog's vicious propensity before the owner can be held liable for that dog's bites.” Id. at *3. The way a Plaintiff would show that the owner had such knowledge at trial is by showing evidence or giving testimony of the dog having attacked or bitten someone else. In other words, the Plaintiff would show that the owner had already use his or her “one free bite,” and, thus, that owner can no longer claim they did not know of the dog's propensity. Rather, that owner is on notice that the reasonable thing for them to do is to take precautions. A Dallas dog bite lawyer can help you understand and navigate the specific way this rule may apply to your case. A Fort Worth dog bite attorney can also help you to understand and look for the exceptions to this rule that may or may not be applicable to your case.
Damages in A Dog Bite Lawsuit
Like any other personal injury case, a Texas Dog Bite Attorney will help you understand what types of damages are available to you. The most obvious of these will be medical expenses and billing. But, unfortunately, dog bites often leave behind permanent damage. Dog attacks can cause permanent disfigurement, permanent injuries and symptoms, and they can also even cause severe psychological distress. You may also miss time from work as a result of a dog attack, which can go to a lost wages claim. Again, these are all facts of your case that a DFW dog bite attorney can help you navigate, and here at Glenn Law Firm, we would be happy to talk with you about the injury you've suffered.
Call For A Free Consultation
The personal injury attorneys at Glenn Law Firm work on a contingency fee basis, which means we only take a fee if we're able to secure for a settlement or a judgment for you. Further, there is no cost to call us and seek a consultation. To do so, either fill out the online Submission Form, or call us at (817) 424-5999.