As much as we all may love our furry friends, sometimes formidable accidents happen where they are the instigator. Although, at times, these dog attacks occur due to their owner’s negligence. It should be noted that as a pet owner, you must always maintain control over your animal; especially when in public so you are not putting strangers at risk as well as yourself with legal battles. So what happens when the unfortunate ‘dog bite’ situation occurs? In addition, what legal action should be taken?
Imagine you are walking in the park when you witness a dog owner that does not have their dog leashed. Subsequently, the dog nips you and you wind up needing stitches. What should your next steps be?
1.) Depending on the severity of the bite you may need to dial 911 and apply first aid. It is crucial to receive aid quickly so you don’t get an infection from any of the bacteria. You also may want to call the authorities so an incident report can be filed and animal control can be notified.
2.) Next, you should inform the dog owner of what happened if they did not witness the bite. On top of this, you should collect the owner’s name and phone number, if they refuse the authorities may need to get involved.
3.) If anyone else witnessed the bite, you should also collect their names and phone numbers. They will be able to provide witness statements to the insurance company to confirm the events that ensued.
4.) Keep copies of everything, this includes everything associated with your case, medical records, bills, and other documents that pertain to the matter.
5.) Lastly, you should consider hiring a personal injury attorney to assist in your case so you can possibly receive compensation from the owner. In 2021, it was reported that the average settlement in Texas for dog bites was $39,000, so it is always smart to consult with a lawyer on what you may potentially be owed.
What is the one-bite law?
Texas is a one-bite state, which technically protects the dog owner from liability if it is the dogs first time biting someone. Unless liability can be proven with knowledge of negligence or intentional behavior. This negligence includes things like being in violation of leash laws or ordinances.
Who decides on euthanization?
In Texas, the victim does not get to decide if the dog should be euthanized. There is no law that permits a victim to request or demand that the dog be euthanized. The decision of whether or not the dog is euthanized or not is up to the discretion of the dog warden, police department, or health department.
Dog Bite Classifications and Severity
Each dog bite is rated on a scale of 1-6. 1 being the least severe and 6 being the most severe. Level 1: A level one dog bite is classified as skinless contact with the dog. The dog may have growled and shown teeth and maybe even nipped at the victim’s clothing, but the dog’s teeth did not actually make contact with any skin.
Level 2: A level two bite is when the dog’s teeth do make contact with the victim but it does not puncture the victim’s skin. The bite may leave a mark but does not actually lacerate the skin. Level 3: A level three bite is when the dog leaves a single bite with 1-4 puncture wounds, with lacerations.
Level 4: A single bite with deep puncture wounds, and lacerations as well as possible bruising. Level 5: Multiple dog bites that range from Level 2-4 in severity.
Level 6: Death of the dog bite victim.
Accidents can happen, but some accidents can be avoidable. This is why it’s important to make sure we all comply with state laws and ordinances pertaining to our pets so we can protect ourselves and others from preventable situations. If an incident does occur, contact a Dallas TX dog bite lawyer at Brandy Austin Law Firm for help on your case.