Every year, nearly 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs, half of these are children according the Center for Disease Control. One in five dog bites are serious enough to require medical attention. Unfortunately, many people are bitten by dogs they know – pets owned by family members and friends. In many cases, if a dog has bitten you, you have a legal right to recover damages from the dog owner or another responsible party. While this can put you in a tough situation as you may be apprehensive about suing someone you know, you need to cover your medical bills. What you might not know is that dog bite injury claims are normally filed against the dog owner’s renters or homeowners insurance company, not the dog owner individually.
In addition to civil penalties, a person who owns a dangerous dog may face criminal penalties as well, including prison time and fines. Each state has its own dog leash laws and dog bite laws. Texas does not have a dog bite statute, but does have a leash law and dangerous dog statute. A dog is considered “dangerous” if the dog attacks a person when unprovoked outside the dog’s home, yard, or enclosed space and causes injury; in this instance, the dangerous dog owner would be committing a criminal offense.
Legal Responsibilities of Dangerous Dog Owners
- All dangerous dogs must be registered with local animal control.
- Dangerous dogs must be kept in a secure enclosed space that is fenced in, or a locked structure that keeps children and adults out, as well as prevents the dog from escaping. When the dog is not in this area, they must be on a leash at all times.
- A dangerous dog owner must maintain liability insurance coverage of at least $100,000 to cover damages for injuries caused by their dog.
What To Do If A Dog Attacks You
If you are attacked or bitten by a dog, seek immediate medical attention. If you are not treated, a dog bite can cause serious injury, infection and potentially even death if the animal is infected with rabies or another disease. You should also consider consulting a Lubbock Personal Injury attorney with specific experience in animal bite cases. The lawyers at Liggett Law Group will be able to tell you if you have a valid claim and what medical expenses and other damages you may be able to recover.
Typically, the dog owner will be required to report the attack to the Lubbock Police Department and Lubbock Animal Control. The dog will then be listed as a “dangerous dogs” or “potentially dangerous dogs.” In severe cases and when the dog is a threat to people, officers may impound the dog or put it down.
If you were attacked and bitten by a dog while performing work on someone else’s property, it is the property owner’s legal responsibility to keep you reasonably safe from harm. Prior to performing the work or arriving on site, the owner should tell you about any dogs or other animals on the property and should keep the dog confined. If you were injured by a dog while working at someone’s home, you might also have a worker’s compensation claim and it is important to contact the experienced workplace injury lawyers of Liggett Law Group.
What Damages Can You Recover from a Dog Bite Injury Claim?
Depending on the seriousness of your injuries from a dog bite or attack, you may be able to recover:
- Lost wages
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
Lubbock Dog Bite Lawyer
In some dog attack cases, punitive damages can be awarded to punish particularly reckless dog owner behavior. For example, if a dog owner knew their dog was dangerous, yet repeatedly allowed the dog to run free without a leash at the park or in a neighborhood with kids, and the dog eventually attacked a child, a jury could award punitive damages. If you or a loved one has been attacked or bitten by a dog, you should contact an experienced Lubbock dog bite lawyer at Liggett Law Group to help you determine your legal rights and who to bring a claim against.