According to the CDC, around 800,000 Americans seek medical attention each year because of dog attacks. See Center for Disease Control, Dog Bite: Fact Sheet. While it is true that most dogs do not are a danger to people, it is also true that dogs can cause serious bodily injury, especially to those most vulnerable, like children and the elderly. Most of these accidents can be avoided if dog owners exercise proper pet care. Texas ranks in the top ten states in the Nation for dog bite victims. In addition to legislation specifically prohibiting municipalities from enacting legislation that targets specific breeds, until recently, Texas effectively gave one free pass to negligent dog owners who placed others at risk with their carelessness. Also known as the “One Bite Rule”, it shielded owners from liability for injury-inflicting dogs for the first occurrence of a dog attack. However, horrific stories across Texas and elsewhere, forced Texas legislators to enact laws protecting innocent victims. The Texas dog bite statute imposes liability on dog owners when a person:
- with criminal negligence fails to secure the dog and the dog makes an unprovoked attack on another person, that occurs at a location other than the owners’ real property or in or on the owner’s motor vehicle or boat and that causes serious bodily injury or death to the other person, or
- knows the dog is a dangerous dog by learning that the person is the owner of a dangerous dog, and the dangerous dog makes an unprovoked attack on another person that occurs at a location other than a secure enclosure in which the dog is restrained and that causes serious bodily injury or death to the other person. TX Health & S 822.005.
The same law also gives owners certain defenses against prosecution. However, personal injury attorneys experienced in dog bite law are well versed both in the statutory requirements and other legal basis to bring an action for injuries related to dog bites. At the Bettersworth Law Firm we have extensive experience with dog bite cases, and we are committed to providing each case the professionalism and attention it deserves.