Dog bite injuries are some of the most common injuries that occur in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) there are over 4.5 million dog bites each year in the United States. In addition, many dog bite injuries likely go unreported. Dog bite injuries can be dangerous because they can easily become infected. Also, unvaccinated dogs could carry the rabies virus, which is deadly. If you were bitten by a dog, you may experience a great deal of pain and accumulate a lot of medical bills. You may be owed money for your damages from the negligent dog owner.
Who is Responsible for a Dog Bite Injury?
The dog owner is generally responsible for a dog bite when he or she was negligent. Texas does not have an actual “dog bite” law but relies on case law from the Texas Supreme Court, Texas Restatement of Torts, Section 509. The law generally establishes negligence and has a one bite rule. The one bite rule means that a dog bite victim can receive compensation if the dog has bitten someone or acted like it and the owner knew about the dog’s previous behavior.
A dog bite victim may also prove negligence. Even the owner of a dog that did not previously exhibit signs of viciousness can be sued for dog bite injuries on the grounds of negligence. A dog owner may be negligent if he or she failed to take ordinary care in handling the animal. The owner acted in a way a careful person in a similar situation would not act.
Houston Dog Leash Laws
Houston has laws in place that pertain to the care and control of dogs. Commonly called the leash law, code states that a dog owner or person in charge of the dog must not allow the dog to run at large without a leash. Dog owners are forbidden to allow their dogs to run at large within the city limits. An owner must have physical control of his or her dog. A person may not take a dangerous dog off leash.
A dangerous dog must be properly contained in a secure enclosure at least 6 feet in height and is locked. The enclosure must be capable of preventing escape and the area must be marked with a sign that states it contains a dangerous dog. Dog owners who disobey the laws are subject to fines and animal impoundment and are typically considered negligent.
What to do After Suffering a Dog Bite
Immediately following a dog bite, obtain information about the dog and owner. You will need to verify whether the dog has had its rabies vaccination. Call the police to file a report. Animal control will be involved to check the animal’s health. If the dog does not have a rabies vaccine it may be impounded for a period of time. Seek medical treatment immediately and if the rabies vaccine of the animal is not known you will need to undergo rabies preventive treatments.
Contact an experienced personal injury attorney soon to assist in getting compensation for your damages including medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.