If you or a loved one has been the victim of a dog attack in the state of Texas, you’ve probably got a lot of questions concerning the legalities of the situation. Contacting a skilled, experienced Houston personal injury lawyer should be your first step. Following are five things that you should know about dog bite law in the state of Texas.
The One-Bite Rule
Like many states, Texas adheres to a “one-bite” rule when it comes to dog bites. However, this in not a blanket rule that applies equally to all situations. For instance, you may have a case if it can be shown that the owner was aware of aggressive tendencies on the part of the dog, that the owner encouraged the action of the dog, or that the owner was in violation of animal control laws. The owner may also have liability if it can be proven that the animal was mistreated because these dogs are statistically more prone to aggressive acts.
Negligence by Owners
The court can deem that owners are negligent under circumstances, such as violating an animal control ordinance. For instance, if your neighbor routinely lets his dog roam free throughout the neighborhood despite local containment laws and it bites you, that owner may be held liable even if it’s the first time the dog has ever bitten anyone.
Criminal Liability of Owners
In Texas, dog owners can face criminal charges if an unprovoked attack by their animal that takes place away from the owner’s home or personal property results in severe injury or death.
Liability of Landlords
Landlords can be held liable under Texas law for dog bites that take place on rental property if it can be shown that they were aware of the presence of a dangerous dog and failed to have the animal removed. For instance, if you’re living in an apartment building and another tenant’s dog has lunged, snarled, bared its teeth, or otherwise exhibited aggressive behavior toward tenants and complaints to the property owner or management company have gone unheeded, the landlord may bear some responsibility along with the owner. This law usually covers attacks that take place in common areas of the property.
Emotional Distress of Bystanders
A dog attack is a terrifying thing to witness, and those who’ve seen them may suffer from nightmares and other symptoms of deep emotional distress caused by seeing a traumatic occurrence — and in Texas dog owners can be sued for it.
Please feel free to reach out to our office at your convenience to discuss your dog bite case with an experienced Houston personal injury lawyer.