Houston Dog Bite Injury Lawyer
Perhaps there is nothing more inviting than seeing well-behaved dogs and their owners walking through your neighborhood or frolicking in dog parks. Dogs are often treated as valued members of a family, but unfortunately, sometimes these well-loved pets can turn violent or may have violent tendencies to begin with. Many owners would never think that their dog could do something as extreme as bite and inflict harm another human being. Dog owners often go through all necessary channels to prevent this from occurring. However, others neglect and may even mistreat their pets, or allow them to run around unleashed, which can, in turn, lead to a dog bite incident. Regardless of the source, dog attacks can cause devastating personal injuries.
Although a majority of dog bite incidents may not be medically serious, there are cases requiring extensive treatment and follow-up care. If a dog has attacked you or a family member, you deserve financial compensation for your injuries.
Attorney Tom‘s hard-working and compassionate team of Houston dog bite attorneys stands ready to help you obtain the maximum compensation for you or a loved one after a dog bite. Call us at (713) 244-6363 or reach out to us online to schedule a free and confidential consultation.
Why Do I Need A Lawyer?
Ideally, many potential cases need never reach the courtroom. A skilled attorney can negotiate with the owner or the owner’s insurance company to obtain a full and fair settlement. By the same token, the lawyer won’t hesitate to take the case to a judge or jury if necessary to obtain justice for you.
Dog bite laws, including leash laws, vary from state to state and even from city to city. In determining liability, it is important to retain a lawyer who is familiar with the applicable state statutes and local ordinances as well as the governing case law.
When it comes to dog bites, many states generally follow either the one-bite rule or strict liability.
In the former, if the owner of the dog has no reason to know or suspect that their pet is aggressive or would harm someone, the owner may not be liable for the dog’s first bite. However, if the owner has an aggressive dog breed or has any knowledge of the dog’s dangerous propensities, the owner may still be liable for the first bite.
In strict liability, the owner of the dog is automatically responsible for the injuries regardless if they knew of the dog’s aggressiveness or could have prevented the incident.
As a first-order inquiry in advance of any lawsuit, a dog bite lawyer needs to verify that:
- The dog bite victim was allowed to be in the area (no trespassing, etc.)
- The victim did not provoke the dog.
Your state or municipality may impose additional or varied conditions.
With an attorney who is immersed in the relevant law at your side, you are more likely to put together a concrete case to ensure a maximum financial settlement or a victory in court if it comes to that.
Types Of Cases We Handle
Attorney Tom handles all types of dog bite cases, including:
- Non-Aggressive Dog Bites: Many dogs may simply be playing around with their owners and others in the vicinity. However, some dog breeds, especially larger canines, can injure someone without the intention of actually doing any harm.
- Naturally Aggressive Breeds: Some dogs such as pit bulls and German shepherds are more aggressive by nature than others. Because of this, they are more likely to attack and harm either a person or another owner’s dog. Some jurisdictions may require special precautions for those breeds.
- Dog Biting A Child: Overly playful young children, in particular, may not understand the potential danger posed by a dog in some circumstances. This does result in unfortunate instances where a dog attacks a child if the dog is naturally aggressive or if the dog becomes nervous or feels threatened.
- Dog on Dog Attacks: If a dog inflicts harm on another dog, rather than a human, the owner can seek compensation for the injury.
- Poor Training And Mistreatment: In some instances, a dog may not be naturally aggressive, but was raised in a cruel manner or trained so poorly that the dog’s behavior becomes unpredictable and unsafe. This is another instance where the owner can be held liable.
Accordingly, there are several contributing factors that may lead to a dog bite incident. These include an absent owner or caretaker, a dog who is scared by the approach of an unknown person, an owner who fails to spay or neuter the animal, or negligence by the owner.
Frequently Asked Questions
We know you have concerns when you’re looking for legal counsel, which is why we’ve compiled some frequently asked questions. Read over them and call us at (713) 244-6363 today to schedule an appointment to discuss your dog bite case in more detail.
You should seek medical attention immediately if you or a loved one has been attacked by a dog. This ensures that the health of the victim is prioritized. You should also call 911 so that the authorities document the incident and which may require intervention by animal control officers. The health evaluation also provides the necessary documentation for your case. Also, obtain the contact information for the attacking dog’s owner.
Retaining a lawyer will secure you better compensation through a settlement or in the courtroom. Your lawyer serves multiple roles on your behalf: chief investigator, advocate, and negotiator (especially in a potentially uncomfortable situation where a neighbor might be the responsible party). Your attorney handles all the details while you or your family member can concentrate on recuperating from the dog bite injuries.
Whether the dog bite occurred on public or private property is not as important as determining who the owner of the animal is and whether or not that owner has insurance to pursue. No matter where the dog bite happens, the dog’s owner has a duty to keep their pet under reasonable care at all times. In some cases, people or businesses who do not even own the dog can be held liable if the dog was under their care at the time of the attack. An experienced attorney can assist you in determining liability.
We handle dog bite cases on a contingency basis. That means you pay nothing unless we win money for you.
It is definitely worth hiring a lawyer for your case if you want to receive the highest settlement possible. In some cases, plaintiffs have received upwards of half a million dollars in settlements.
National Dog Bite Statistics
According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 4.7 million dog bites occur each year in the U.S., with about 800,000 of those requiring medical attention. According to separate statistics, approximately 1,000 US citizens require serious medical treatment due to dog bites every day.
In the case of fatalities, the very young and elderly are statistically most at risk. The cost per claim has also risen by 103% in the last decade. Dog bite treatment cost more than $12,000 on average, and insurance companies pay more than half a million dollars every year for dog-bite related cases.
As noted above, because some dog breeds are more dangerous than others, many states have implemented regulations on certain more dangerous breeds such as pit bulls. Studies show that pit bull dogs have the highest fatality rates and medical bills for victims.
According to dog bite statistics, two people die on average each year to rabies. Also, approximately a quarter of dog bite fatalities occur from chained dogs.
Also, the average cost per claim has risen by around 85% in the last 10 years.
According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the average cost of a dog attack-related hospitalization is $18,200, which is about 50% more than the average injury-related hospital stay.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, in 2018, homeowners’ insurers paid out approximately $675 million in liability claims related to dog attacks.
Contact Us Today
Our firm’s motto is “serious injuries, serious attorneys.” In other words, we mean business. If you or a loved one has been injured in a dog attack, reach out to us today to set up a free consultation. Call us at (713) 244-6363 or contact us online. Attorney Tom is fully equipped to effectively present your case to an insurance company or fight for your rights for maximum compensation in court.