Dog attacks are a frequent occurrence here in the Dallas, Rockwall and Kaufman county areas. Much of our county contains rural homesites where people are more likely to let their dogs run free. Our area can also be densely populated with neighborhoods where dogs are kept in backyards but quite often those dogs find themselves running loose out of the backyard and are not used to coming in contact with new people. However, the most common scenario surrounding a dog bite is where a friend or family member comes over for a visit and is attacked by the homeowner’s dog.
According to handctr.com, there are as many as one million animal bites that happen each year across the United States. It can happen in an instant. You or a loved one is over at a friend’s house or jogging on the street and out of no where the dog attacks. It happens too often. The worst part about dog bite cases is not always the initial injuries sustained but it is the time period of recovery. Dog bites are a mixture of puncture wounds that dig through flesh and deep cuts and scratches caused by the teeth and claws of the animal. As a result, the injuries can take a long time to heal, leave lasting scars and disfigurement as well as nerve damage and nerve pain. Dog bites also impress upon the victim a distinct level of pain and suffering and mental anguish as a result of becoming fearful of dogs and other animals as a result of the attack. Someone who used to be a dog lover may be left being fearful for their life every time they come in contact with a new dog.
Establishing Premises Owner Negligence
Texas does not have a statute that provides for recovery against the owner of the home or business when a dog attack occurs, so we must rely case law to provide us with how an injured party can recover when they have been attacked by a dog. A good case on point is Labaj v. VanHouten, a Court of Appeals case out of Amarillo in 2010 which has a good short statement of what a Plaintiff must prove in such cases:
To recover on a claim of negligent handling or keeping of an animal, a plaintiff must prove: (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. (Labaj v. VanHouten, 322 S.W.3d 416, 420 (Tex. Ct. App.–Amarillo, 2010).
That court also cited the Restatement of Torts § 518 (1977) which provides that:One who keeps a domestic animal that possesses only those dangerous propensities that are normal to its class is required to know its normal habits and tendencies. He is therefore required to realize that even ordinary gentle animals are likely to be dangerous under particular circumstances and to exercise reasonable care to prevent foreseeable harm…. So, too, the keeper of an ordinary bitch or cat is required to know that while caring for her puppies or kittens she is likely to attack other animals and human beings. Id. at 420
In order to recover damages after a dog bite, the injured party will have to show that the owner, while aware that the dog was aggressive, failed to use “reasonable care” to prevent the dog from biting you. For instance, if the owner regularly lets the dog out to roam the neighborhood without supervision, a court may find the dog’s owner was negligent at the time the attack occurred. If the court finds that the dog’s owner was negligent, then you will then have the opportunity to recover damages as a result of the attack.
This same negligence rule may also be applied where the dog injured you, but may not have actually “attacked” you. Example, if a large dog knocks you down and as a result you are injured, you may be able to recover damages if you can show that, “but for” the owner’s negligence in failing to control the dog, the dog would not have been able to knock you down and injure you.
INJURED IN A DOG ATTACK? CALL THE TRUSTED LEGAL TEAM AT GUEST AND GRAY, P.C.
If you have been injured in an dog attack in the Dallas, Kaufman or Rockwall county areas, or anywhere in the State of Texas, you need to call the trusted law firm of Guest and Gray, P.C. Our firm is the largest and highest rated firm in both Kaufman and Rockwall counties and we serve all surrounding Dallas/Fort Worth Counties, including Dallas, Collin, Tarrant, Hunt, Henderson and Mclennan. Our personal injury attorneys are caring, trusted and local. We pride ourselves in hard work and results.
Don’t call just any law firm to guide you through the claims process. When you hire an attorney from Guest and Gray, P.C., you not only get an attorney assigned to your case, but you get a knowledgeable and caring support staff. Dealing with injuries or the loss of a loved one is stressful enough. Don’t waste your time having to hassle with your legal team. Call the law firm that cares. Call Guest and Gray, P.C. at 972-564-4644