Houston Dog Bite Lawyers
Representing Adult & Child Victims of Dog Attacks
Although dogs are often beloved members of our families, animals can still act out in ways we don’t fully understand. Even a well-trained, well-behaved dog may suddenly lunge out and bite or attack someone. In Texas, if you suffer a bite or attack from a dog with a history of attacks or viciousness, you may be entitled to seek compensation from the dog’s owner for your injuries and losses.
At Pines & Goldenzweig, PLLC, our Houston dog bite attorneys work tirelessly to help innocent injury victims like you pursue a fair financial recovery for overwhelming losses. Our attorneys can help you get medical treatment and address difficulties caused by your injuries. Our firm will strive to take the burdens of your case off your shoulders by handling all the hard work so that you can stay focused on your treatment and getting back to your life.
Contact us at (713) 609-1930 to speak with a knowledgeable lawyer for free. There are no upfront costs when you hire our firm—you only pay us if we win money for you.
Texas Dog Bite Law
When it comes to dog bite cases, Texas follows a “one-bite rule.” Unlike strict liability states, which generally consider dog owners and handlers to be liable for injuries caused by their dogs, the one-bite rule is somewhat more favorable to dog owners than dog bite victims.
To recover compensation after a dog bite under the state’s one-bite rule, you must prove that:
- The dog’s owner knew the dog had previously bitten someone or was unusually aggressive
- The dog’s owner was negligent in controlling the dog, and your injuries were directly caused by that negligence
To establish negligence, you must prove that the owner did not exercise reasonable care in protecting others from a dog bite. Allowing a dog to roam without a leash is a common example of negligence by a dog owner.
If you were injured by a dog in another way, such as being knocked down by a free-ranging large dog, you may also be entitled to recover damages for your injuries. In such cases, you would need to prove that the dog owner or handler was negligent, thereby breaching a duty of care owed to you, and that this negligence was the cause of your injurie and resulting damages.
Compensation for Your Dog Bite Injuries in Houston
Dog bites and attacks can lead to severe injuries and, in the most serious of cases, death. To help victims heal, the law allows them to bring claims against negligent dog owners and handlers to seek financial compensation for losses, or “damages,” related to the attack.
If you were injured after being bitten by someone’s dog, you may be entitled to money for the losses:
- Medical expenses, such as hospitalization, surgeries, and prescription medications
- Long-term care costs, like rehabilitation or home health services
- Lost wages and income from missed work
- Lost earning capacity if your injuries prevent you from going back to your regular job
- Physical and mental pain and suffering
- Lost quality of life from physical scarring or disfigurement or from disabilities that interfere with your ability to complete daily tasks of living or to participate in activities
If your child or loved one tragically passed away due to a dog attack, you may have grounds for a wrongful death claim. We urge you to contact our Houston dog bite attorneys right away to learn more, including how we can help protect your rights and help you fight for the justice you deserve.
Defenses to Dog Bite Liability in Texas
Texas law offers two basic defenses to liability in a dog bite claim:
- Lack of Knowledge: Under this defense, the owner may argue that they used reasonable care in controlling his or her dog, such as having the dog on a leash, and did not know of any previous bites or aggressive tendencies.
- Trespassing: In Texas, trespassing is an automatic defense against liability. If you are bitten by someone’s dog while unlawfully on the owner’s property, you may not recover damages from the dog owner.
At Pines & Goldenzweig, PLLC, we know how to push back against efforts to dispute or devalue your claim. Our legal team has extensive experience representing victims of dog bites and attacks throughout the Greater Houston Area, and we are ready to fight for you.
What Is the Time Limit for Filing a Dog Bite Lawsuit in Texas?
When you’ve been bitten or attacked by someone else’s dog, the Texas statute of limitations on personal injury claims gives you two years to file a lawsuit seeking compensation. Minor children who are injured in dog attacks have two years from their 18th birthday to file a lawsuit.
In any case, you have a limited amount of time to take legal action. Don’t wait to seek legal advice after a serious dog bite. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will almost certainly lose the right to seek compensation in court.
What to Do If You’ve Been Attacked by a Dog
Knowing what to do after a dog bite or attack is important, as it can help protect your rights—including your right to file a personal injury claim for compensation.
If someone else’s dog has attacked or bitten you, you should take the following steps (if possible):
- Notify the dog’s owner if they can be located. Get their name and contact information in the event you later decide to pursue a claim for compensation. If you can, ask for vaccination records, which will be helpful for your doctor when assessing your injuries.
- Take photos of any relevant details about the scene where you were bitten or attacked. For example, did the dog that bit you manage to escape through a broken fence? Was the dog on a leash or muzzled? Also, remember to take photographs of the visible injuries you suffered.
- See your doctor immediately after the attack, especially if you do not know the vaccination history of the dog that bit you. A doctor can diagnose all the injuries you suffered in the attack and begin treating you and monitoring for any complications, such as infection from the bite wound.
Perhaps most importantly, do not hesitate to talk to an experienced dog bite attorney after an attack. Treatment and recovery from a dog bite can be expensive. You should learn about your legal right to compensation.
If you or someone you love has recently been attacked by a dog in Houston or the surrounding areas, reach out to Pines & Goldenzweig, PLLC today to learn how we can help.
How Our Houston Dog Bite Attorney Can Help You
At Pines & Goldenzweig, PLLC, our goal is to take the pressure off you after a traumatizing animal attack. Right now, you should be focused on getting the medical care you need and recovering from the physical and emotional impact of the incident. You should not have to worry about how you’re going to pay your medical bills or keep up with everyday expenses while out of work.
Instead, allow our team to handle the legal details on your behalf.
Our skilled attorneys can:
- Ensure you have access to the medical treatment and rehab you need for your injuries
- Thoroughly investigate your case to recover evidence we need to establish liability for your injuries, including the dog’s past history of viciousness and the owner’s negligence in controlling the dog
- File insurance claims and negotiates with adjusters on your behalf for fair and full compensation in a settlement
- Prepare your case to go to court, when it represents the best option to pursue the compensation you deserve
Put Our Team on Your Side
We are here for you every step of the way, from the moment you call until the moment your case is resolved. Our Houston dog bite attorneys provide compassionate and highly personalized legal counsel. As a client, you receive direct access to your attorney and legal team throughout the entire process, and our staff is available to assist you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Contact our firm online or call our office at (713) 609-1930 for a free consultation. Hablamos español.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Can you sue if a police dog bites you?Yes. If a police dog bites you, it can be considered excessive force or police brutality. However, these cases can be extremely difficult to prove, as law enforcement is often shielded from liability in cases involving dog bites that occur while a working dog is on duty and carrying out duty-related activities. If you were bitten by a police dog, you should immediately contact a personal injury lawyer for legal advice and assistance.
What should I do if MY dog bites me?If necessary, seek medical care first and foremost. Secure your dog away from others until you can ensure it will not bite again. Consider training programs to help teach your dog not to bite so that you can avoid a possible lawsuit in the future if your dog were to bite someone else.
Can negligent dog owners be held criminally liable?If a dog seriously injures or kills someone, the dog owner could be held criminally liable. This means that, in addition to potentially being made to pay compensation to the victim and/or their family members, the dog owner may face charges involving criminal negligence, manslaughter, or homicide. Such charges carry harsh penalties, including jail or prison time, steep fines, and more.
Will I have to go to court for my dog bite case?While some dog bite cases do proceed to litigation, many are settled before trial. You may have to go to court if the liable party refuses to settle your claim. However, in many instances, we are able to appear in court on behalf of our clients. If your attendance is required, our team will work with you to ensure you know what to expect and feel fully prepared.
Should I sue for a dog bite?
This can be a difficult decision, especially if you know the dog and are on good terms with the owner. Did you accrue medical bills as a result of the bite? Did you miss work? Are you coping with permanent scarring or disfigurement? If so, you should seek compensation. Are you concerned that the dog could bite someone else in the future? If so, you may want to pursue legal action to ensure that the owner takes proper care in controlling the dog.
Keep in mind that when you pursue compensation for a dog bite injury, you are typically going through the owner’s homeowner’s insurance vs. demanding money from the person directly. The insurance company will be looking out for their best interests, so you should look out for yours.
How long does a dog bite settlement take?A dog bite settlement could take anywhere from 30 days to two years or more, depending on the situation. In cases of clear liability, it could settle anywhere from 30 to 90 days. In cases that require some investigation (known as the “discovery phase”) it could take six months to a year. Cases that go to trial could take two years or more to get a court date in order to be settled.
What happens to a dog after it bites someone?
What happens to a dog after it bites someone depends on the circumstances of the attack. In most cases, the dog is not put down. Rather, it is quarantined for a certain period of time—typically just a few days. This can be done at a local animal shelter or the owner’s home.
However, if the attack is particularly brutal, or if the dog is deemed to be “vicious,” it may be put down. In some cases, vicious dogs are allowed to live, but the owner is ordered to follow strict conditions meant to protect the safety of others.
Do I have to report if a dog bites me?You are not legally obligated to report a dog bite. However, if you wish to take legal action against the owner of the dog, it is necessary to report it within two years of the incident. Be sure to take photos and gather documentation such as medical reports, police reports, animal control records, and any other pertinent information.