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How dog bites are viewed under Texas law

On Behalf of | Dec 17, 2020 | Personal Injury

Dogs are great companions to many Houston families, but not all dogs are trained to be safe. When a dog bites someone and injuries result, the victim may want to seek the recovery of their damages from the dog’s owners. This can involve litigation and involving personal injury attorneys.

This post will introduce the legal theories under which Texas dog bite cases can proceed. It does not offer legal advice. All individuals with questions and concerns about dog bite incidents should speak with Houston-based personal injury lawyers.

Strict liability for dangerous animals

Texas is known as a “one bite rule” state. This means that unless a dog is known to be dangerous or has a history of dangerous actions, its first bite of someone will not cause its owner to be strictly liable for the victim’s losses. Strict liability is the assignment of fault without additional evidence to support an event.

For example, if a dog has never bitten anyone in its life and nips a person while out for a walk, strict liability will not demand that the dog’s owner unconditionally pay for the victim’s injuries. To recover their losses, the victim would have to show that the dog’s owner was negligent and that negligence caused their losses.

Proving negligence in a dog bite case

Negligence is a legal theory that is based on a person’s breach of duty to others that results in harm. In the above example, if the dog’s owner did not have control over their animal, or was not paying attention when the dog attacked, they may be found negligent due to their failure to maintain the safe presence of their dog around others. Building a case for negligence is factual and based on the circumstances of unique events.

Getting help with a personal injury claim is important. There are limits on how long a victim may wait before they may seek compensation for their losses. Victims of dog bite incidents are encouraged to learn about their rights and options to recover their accident-related damages.