Many people have dogs as pets and love them just like family members. Unfortunately, dogs are still animals and have animal instincts that can kick in and turn your furry best friend into a dangerous force in certain situations. While most dog owners know the general temperament of their pets and how to handle them in a variety of situations, not all dog owners are as responsible. If a dog or other animal has injured you, your child, or someone you know, it is important to know how long you have to file a dog bite lawsuit in Texas.
Those who own and take care of dogs have a responsibility to others to take reasonable steps to protect the public from harm, including being injured by a dog bite. When a dog owner, dog walker, or dog breeder engages in negligent behavior with animals, it puts you and your loved ones at risk. Dog owner negligence can include walking a dog without a leash, failing to use a muzzle on a dog known to be dangerous, or failing to warn you that their pet is likely to bite.
While some municipalities have local ordinances in place, Texas state law does not have a civil statute covering an animal owner’s responsibility in the event their pet harms another; however, the Texas Supreme Court ruled in 1974 that our state will follow the one-bite rule. The one-bite rule means that once a dog has bitten someone, the owner is then on notice of their pet’s dangerous tendencies and is more likely to be found negligent and responsible the next time the dog bites someone. The dog bite injury victim will need to prove that the dog owner knew the dog acted aggressively and/or bit someone before and/or the dog owner failed to use reasonable care to control their animal and prevent the victim from being injured. In some cases, a dog owner can even face criminal liability for the injuries caused by their pet under Texas Health and Safety Code Section 822.005.
While you might think dog bites are relatively uncommon, nearly five million people in the US are bitten by dogs each year – with the most common victims being children. According to the CDC, the incidence of dog bites is highest for children aged five to nine. Even worse, at least one multi-year analysis found Texas is the top state for dog bite fatalities in the country. Pit bulls were responsible for most dog bites, followed by mixed breed dogs, German shepherds, terriers, and rottweilers. Both the dog bite victim and their family members who witnessed the attack may have legal recourse against the dog owner and should speak to a personal injury lawyer.
Dog Bite Lawsuit Statute of Limitations
The law places time limits on the length of time an injured party has to bring a claim, these time limits are called statutes of limitations. Different deadlines apply to different types of cases. Dog bite claims fall under the umbrella of personal injury lawsuits. In Texas, under the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Section 16.003, all personal injury cases must be filed no later than two years after the date of the incident. This means that you have two years from the day the dog bite occurs to file a lawsuit or else you will lose your opportunity to recover financial compensation for your injuries and other losses. This deadline can be extended in certain cases, including when the victim is a minor child.
Don’t wait two years though, as it takes time to develop a successful case strategy and it is important to preserve evidence for your claim. A Texas dog bite lawyer will need to gather and analyze evidence, including eyewitness statements, photos of the dog, the area where the attack occurred, and the resulting injuries, along with any medical records showing the extent of the victim’s physical and mental injuries. Lawyers also need time to consult with experts in areas such as animal behavior, veterinary care, and/or medical professionals.
Houston Dog Bite Lawsuit Lawyers
Dog bite victims should seek out a full financial recovery, including compensation for medication, emergency treatment, diagnostic testing, surgery, cosmetic procedures, psychological counseling, lost income, pain and suffering, and more. We pursue financial coverage for victims of dog bites. We will explain how long you have to file a dog bite lawsuit and can file that lawsuit for you if you are eligible. If you or a loved one has been the victim of an animal attack, contact J.D. Silva & Associates today at 281-971-3200. We will work with you to explore all the possible ways to hold the owner responsible and get you the compensation you deserve for your damages.