When a dangerous dog causes a bite, a lawyer may be the victim’s best chance at getting compensation and justice for their injury. Animal attacks are notoriously difficult to take legal action against here in Texas. Texas is known as a one-bite-rule state, which means that canines and their owners may not be considered responsible the first time a canine attacks, unless there was sufficient reason to believe that the canine was aggressive. This gives negligent owners a lot of room to feign ignorance and avoid responsibility, but with proper evidence and representation, a victim can fight back.
WHAT WILL AN ATTORNEY LOOK FOR WHEN SOMEONE IS HURT BY A DANGEROUS DOG?
A lawyer faces a tough challenge when pursuing a claim against a pet owner. Though owners are protected from legal action if their animal has never shown aggression before, there are several instances where this protection might not apply. These instances include:
- The canine barks ferociously at others or pulls at its leash when spotting other people and animals in public. If the canine makes it clear that it wants to attack others, or at least seems to want to, then that canine would be considered aggressive by most courts. However, if the animal is displaying aggression while in its backyard, then it may not be considered such.
- The canine was roaming freely at the time of the attack. Even if an owner has no reason to suspect that their canine was aggressive, they must still provide a secure enclosure for the animal and ensure it doesn’t have free run of the neighborhood. If a canine attacks someone after it has escaped, its owner may face full liability for any injuries it causes.
- The canine has been trained to fight. Dogfighting is illegal, and any canine that has been trained to fight is almost always considered aggressive in the eyes of the court. Even if the canine is not trained to fight, it could be considered aggressive if it has a history of attacking other animals.
- The animal is prone to jumping on people in excitement. If an animal is believed to have trouble regulating its emotions, then it may also be considered aggressive.
- Others have filed complaints with police in the past. If other neighbors have complained to police about the animal in the past, it may not get the benefit of the doubt if it later hurts someone.
When a dangerous dog renders a bite, a lawyer may be able to help the victim in seeking compensation for their injuries, which may be severe, and even permanent and life-changing in some instances. With the help of an attorney, a victim can force the animal’s owner to take responsibility for their actions and provide restitution to the victim.