Houston Dog Bite Attorney
Dog Bites & Attacks in Harris County &Throughout TEXAS
While most dogs are beloved members of the family, they can still be unpredictable. Unfortunately, dog bites and attacks are incredibly common, with about 4.7 million recorded dog bites in the United States. According to some studies, Texas is the third-leading state when it comes to dog bite claims, second only to California and Florida. Sadly, the majority of dog bites and attacks involve children.
At Payne Law Firm, we understand how frightening it is to be bitten or attacked by a dog, whether it was a trusted family, friend, or neighbor’s pet or a strange dog. We also recognize that filing a dog bite claim can be sensitive, particularly when the dog owner is someone you know. However, it is important to remember that you should not have to pay for your medical bills, make up for lost wages, and cope with the pain and suffering you are experiencing on your own.
When you file a dog bite claim, you typically seek compensation from the dog owner’s insurance provider; their insurance is there to protect victims in situations just like this. However, the insurance company is likely to dispute or undervalue your claim, and they may try to deny it altogether. We strongly recommend that you reach out to our team at Payne Law Firm to learn how our Houston dog bite attorneys can help protect your rights. We have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for our clients, including many people who suffered catastrophic injuries and losses after being bitten or attacked by dogs.
Is Texas a Strict Liability State for Dog Bites?
While some states follow strict liability laws for dog bites, which allows victims to hold dog owners liable regardless of whether the dog was considered “dangerous” or had any past aggressive tendencies, Texas is not one of them. Instead, Texas follows what is known as a “one-bite” rule. Under this rule, a dog owner can be held liable when they knew the dog had bitten someone in the past or had reason to believe the dog might act aggressively but failed to take appropriate measures to prevent injury. In other words, dog owners can be held liable when they are negligent.
To prove a dog bite case in Texas, you must generally prove the following elements:
- You were bitten by the dog
- The dog had bitten someone before or had acted aggressively in the past
- The dog owner knew about or should have known about the dog’s aggressive tendencies
- The dog owner failed to use reasonable care to control the dog or prevent the dog from biting
- The dog owner’s failure to use reasonable care was the cause of your injuries
- You did not provoke the dog
These same rules apply in cases involving non-bite injuries caused by dogs. You can hold a negligent dog owner accountable if you are attacked, knocked down, or otherwise injured by a dog, even if the dog does not actually bite you.
When Is a Dog Considered “Dangerous?”
In Texas, a dog is generally considered “dangerous” when it attacks a person entirely unprovoked in an area other than its normal enclosure (i.e., the yard where the dog is normally kept, the home in which the dog lives, etc.). A dog might also be considered “dangerous” if it acts aggressively to an extent that causes a person to believe the dog might attack and cause injury.
When a dog is considered “dangerous,” it may be seized and kept in quarantine until a hearing at which a judge determines whether the dog actually inflicted injury and/or is dangerous. At this point, the judge may order the dog be destroyed to prevent future attacks, however, this is not always the case. Sometimes, the judge may order the dog’s owner to take certain precautions to keep the dog contained and prevent future injury.
What to Do If You Are Bitten or Attacked by a Dog
If you or someone else is bitten or attacked by a dog, the first thing you should do is get to a place of safety and assess the injuries. If necessary, call 911.
You should also try to locate the dog’s owner and get their name and contact information. If possible, ask the owner for the dog’s vaccination records and the contact information for their veterinarian. Make sure you document the attack by writing down information about/taking pictures of your injuries, the dog, and the location of the bite.
If you do not receive emergency medical attention, be sure to wash the wound with warm water and mild soap to remove dirt, debris, and other items that can cause infection. For anything other than a very mild injury, you should immediately see a medical provider. Dog bites can lead to serious complications, such as sepsis, infection, and hemorrhaging. Without proper medical treatment, they can even be life-threatening.
After the bite or attack, make sure to keep all medical records and other documentation (such as an official report of the bite with the appropriate animal control service in your area). Attend any follow-up appointments with your doctor and follow your doctor’s treatment plan.
You should also reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the attack. At Payne Law Firm, our Houston dog bite lawyers can help you take the next steps and work to hold the negligent dog owner accountable. You should not have to deal with the immense physical, emotional, and financial consequences of your injuries on your own. Our team can help you seek fair compensation for your damages so that you can get back on your feet and move forward with your life.
“Payne Law Firm was invaluable in helping my family navigate the most difficult situation we had ever experienced. Mr. Payne and his entire staff were professional, responsive, and empathetic throughout the entire process.” - Fatimar J.
“My experience with "Payne Law Firm" was extraordinary! They were efficient, professional, and persistent. I have and will continue to recommend “Payne Law Firm” because you are treated like family!” - Sheori S.
“My experience at Payne Law Firm was very pleasant. I had no worries at all. He was there for everything I needed help with.” - Gloria J.
“I have used Payne Law Firm services on several different occasions and have always been pleased with the outcomes.” - Leonard J.
“Payne Law Firm calmed my fears and assisted with easing my pain, by always being available to answer my questions, calming my fears, explaining the law to me in layman’s terms, while offering comfort and support.” - Joyre T.
If you were injured or if your loved one died after being bitten or attacked by a dog in Houston or anywhere in Harris County, turn to Payne Law Firm. Since 2004, we have been fighting for the rights of injured individuals and the families of those wrongfully killed throughout Texas. Our attorneys have recovered millions of dollars in compensation and are proud to offer compassionate, client-focused representation, coupled with aggressive advocacy. We are not afraid to pursue your case at trial if that is what is necessary to recover the maximum compensation you are owed.
We provide our legal services on a contingency fee basis, meaning you owe nothing unless we win your case. We are happy to meet with you to discuss your potential claim during a complimentary consultation, either in person at our Houston office or over the phone.
Client-FocusedWe will help you every step of the way, providing answers to your questions and continuing to update you on the status of your case.
A History of SuccessWe have helped over a thousand injured individuals and families get the compensation they deserved.
Battle-TestedWe not only understand the complexities of insurance companies but know how to fight them.
Full TransparencyOur team knows the importance of your case and is committed to doing what is best for you.