Cinco Ranch Dog Bite Attorney
Perhaps more so than any other personal injury claim, animal attacks cause deep physical and emotional wounds. When a large dog violently leaps at a vulnerable victim, the physical injuries are often gruesome. Furthermore, many animal attack survivors, especially small children, have permanent brain injuries. These attacks trigger chemical changes in the brain. Both the physical and emotional injuries are permanent, at least to an extent.
At the West Law Office, our compassionate Cinco Ranch dog bite attorneys understand the intense pain and suffering that these victims must endure. Therefore, we not only fight hard to uphold your legal and financial rights. We also proactively communicate with you through the whole process, so you are never in the dark.
Your Legal Options
Dog bite law varies significantly in different jurisdictions. Some states have victim-friendly animal attack laws, while others make it almost impossible for survivors to obtain fair compensation. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Texas law basically strikes a middle ground between these two extremes. Therefore, the law in the Lone Star State is very complex on this point. Some available legal options include:
- Scienter (Knowledge): If the owner knew the animal was potentially vicious, the owner could be liable for the aforementioned damages. Evidence of knowledge usually includes pre-bite behavior, such as aggressive barking and vicious growling, or prior attacks against people or animals.
- Ordinary Negligence: In most cases, owners have a duty of care to ensure that their property, including a pet, is reasonably safe. For example, it’s usually negligent to allow small children to play near a large dog.
- Negligence Per Se: Most Houston-area municipalities have very strict animal restraint laws, such as leash and fence laws. The state has similar laws. In fact, Texas law requires owners to chain animals in some cases. If an owner violates one of these provisions, and that violation causes injury, the owner could be liable for damages as a matter of law.
A third party could be financially responsible for damages in some cases. For example, landlords could be vicariously liable for dog bite injuries, if they knew that a dangerous animal was on the premises or a tenant had a dangerous dog which violated the lease terms.
Assumption of the risk and provocation, which is an offshoot of comparative fault, are the two most common insurance company defenses in dog bite claims.
A warning sign, like “Beware of Dog,” sets up the assumption of the risk defense. However, a sign by itself is insufficient.
Insurance company lawyers must still prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the victim saw the sign, could read the sign, and could understand what it meant. These items are difficult to prove if the victim was a small child or had limited English proficiency.
Provocation has a very narrow meaning in this context. Usually, provocation is an intentional, physical act. Victims cannot accidentally provoke a dog by moving fast or making a loud noise. Furthermore, verbal teasing usually isn’t provocation.
Instead, the insurance company must prove, once again by a preponderance of the evidence, that the victim inflicted so much physical pain on the animal that it had to respond violently to defend itself.
Connect with a Thorough Fort Bend County Lawyer
Personal injury victims deserve fair compensation for their serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced Cinco Ranch personal injury attorney, contact The West Law Office. Attorneys can connect victims with doctors, even if they have no insurance or money.