Are you looking for an experienced dog bites attorney in Houston? Vicious dogs can lead to serious injures! We recently obtained a 1.9 million dollar verdict after a chained pit bull used as security for a business attacked a client. In the United States, dog bite statistics show that over 4 million dog bites and dog attacks are reported every year. Often, bites from dogs aren’t just physically painful; they can leave emotional scars too. According to information from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, about one in five victims of a dog bite need to seek medical attention. In some horrific cases, dog attacks can even be fatal. If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, you may be eligible for compensation. Jerome O. Fjeld is a personal injury attorney based in Houston, TX. He is an experienced dog bite lawyer handling numerous serious dog bite incidents and dog bite attacks. Jerome O. Fjeld, PLLC, provides an initial free consultation, free case evaluation and does not charge any legal fees unless the law firm obtains compensation for our client. Our law firm is committed to justice and helping victims who’ve been injured because of the negligence of a pet owner.
Dog Bites in Texas
While dog bites occur throughout the United States, Texas seems to have more dog bite cases than average. More than 30 people have suffered dog bite injuries so serious that those injuries lead to their death between 2005 and 2013. In Texas, 68 percent of dog bite fatalities were children under the age of 11. In these attacks 76 percent were committed by pit bulls, a breed that is known for unruly behavior and aggressive propensities. Rottweiler attacks accounted for 15 percent of these deaths. Big dogs can be powerful and those with a tendency towards aggression can be deadly. Yet, even smaller dogs can cause serious injuries with their bites.
The One-Bite Rule & Other Regulations & Ordinances
Many states have a one-bite rule regarding dogs. In essence, this rule gives dog owner’s a one-time free pass the first time their dog bites someone. The first time a victim suffers from dog bite injuries, the pet owner can claim that they did not know their dog had a propensity to be aggressive. If someone is injured by a dog again, the owner does not have the free pass any longer and they may be liable for damages. This is one of the reasons it’s important to report a dangerous dog incident to the City of Houston or Harris County. Often, it’s difficult to prove that a dog has bitten someone previously unless a Houston dog bite lawyer was involved in a prior claim. Depending on where you live in Houston or Harris County there are other regulations such as leash laws. Additionally, in some parts of Houston, communities may have regulations where it is a violation if you have a breed with propensities of aggressiveness such as pit bulls, rottweilers, german shepherds, wolf hybrids and some mixes.
See Also: The One Bite-Rule
Determining if a Dog is Aggressive
Texas law may determine that a dog is vicious if it:
- Has bitten a person
- A doctor has determined (in a formal affidavit) that a dog bite or scratch could have been life threatening
- The dog has killed another dog or domestic pet or has killed livestock at least once previously
- The dog attacked another animal, causing it to sustain life-threatening injuries (verified by a veterinarian)
A dog owner should be aware that their dog may be considered dangerous if it has attacked a person in the past, a court has issued you a notice that your dog is viewed as a danger, animal control has issued a warning that your dog is a danger.
Preventing Dog Bites
Sometimes, it’s impossible to prevent an attack. People who have been out for a job in their local park have been attacked by an aggressive dog that seems to come out of nowhere. Some types of aggressive dogs may even jump their fence to attack someone who’s simply walking down the street. There are some things you can do to try to prevent some attacks such as:
- Never approach a dog you don’t know
- Avoid stray dogs
- Avoid reaching through a fence to pet a dog
- Do not chase or tease dogs
- Ask the owner’s permission before petting a dog
- Never leave a young child alone with a dog
If you provoke a dog, you may be ineligible for compensation. Of course, many defendants will attempt to say that you provoked their dog, but ringing your door bell or jogging in a park are not acts of canine provocation.
In order to achieve compensation, a dog bite victim must prove that the dog’s owner was negligent. If the dog’s owner allowed their aggressive dog to roam unleashed, they would be considered negligent. Negligence is defined as failing to provide ordinary care. So, failing to mend a broken fence or letting the dog roam free could be regarded as negligent acts by dog owners.
Unfortunately, many dog owners fail to take precautions to secure their potentially dangerous pets. They may feel quite safe in their pet’s presence, but if they do not take precautions, especially if they understand that their dog is a danger, they may be liable for damages to dog bite victims.
What Should You Do If You Are Bitten by a Dog in Texas?
If you, a family member or loved one, in your care is bitten by a dog in Texas, you should seek medical care. Even what appears to be a non-serious bite can be more serious than you think. Medical providers can examine the bite wound and clean it properly to ward off infection. When obtaining medical care, be sure to keep track of all hospital or clinic paperwork and your medical bills. These documents can provide you with evidence should you pursue a claim. You should also document your lost wages.
Next, you should contact animal services or even the police. The dog that bit you could pose a serious danger to your community. If the dog is a stray, animal control or police will need to track it down. If the dog attacked and bit you, it could do the same to someone else, possibly even a child. Some attacks can be life-threatening. Injuries caused by a dog bite can cause serioius injuries and scars.
Photograph Your Injuries
In cases of severe dog attacks, it’s not uncommon for hospital staff to photograph the victim’s injuries. You, too, can take photos of your wounds. These photos may be used as evidence if you pursue your claim. Documentation of treatment, medical bills and photos of the trauma can help dog bite injury lawyers establish an owner’s negligence and that you have been injured by a dog.
Contact a Houston Dog Bite Attorney
After getting medical care and reporting the dog incident to the policel, call Jerome O. Fjeld, PLLC your Houston dog bite lawyer for a free initial consultation and free case evaluation. We can provide legal advice about how to best proceed after the case evaluation and help you obtain the medical treatment and compensation you deserve. There is a statute of limitations for filing claims. We can discuss the time limits involved in your case. We can also help track down information about the dog that bit you. We’ll do our best to investigate whether the dog has been involved in other reported cases. We may talk to witnesses who say the accident. They may be able to provide extremely important testimony that could support your version of the events like:
- The dog was roaming around unleashed
- The victim did not provoke the dog or it was a dangerous dog
- The dog’s owner knew the dog was dangerous or was unable of keeping control of the dog
- The dog owner’s fencing was in a state of disrepair and unable of keeping the dog confined
As part of our service to our clients, we routinely investigate matters associated with the claim. If there’s video footage, for example, we’ll hunt it down. Our goal is to bolster your claim with relevant evidence. If a dog owner has been negligent and you’ve been injured as a result, you deserve fair compensation.
Evaluate Your Claim
Not every victim of a dog bite is eligible for compensation. That’s why Jerome O. Fjeld, PLLC, offers clients a free initial consultation. We’ll carefully examine your claim so that we can understand its merits and challenges. A common defense that a defendant is apt to use is that the victim trespassed at the time they were bitten. If you entered a person’s gated yard without permission and a dog bit you, you are unlikely to have a case. We’ll provide you with our honest opinion of the matter after going over every detail of your claim.
How Long Does It Take to Resolve a Dog Bite Claim?
Dog bite lawyers cannot gaurantee how long it may take to resolve dog bite cases. Dog bite liability, dog bite injuries, facts and home owner’s insurance coverage may play a role in the case. Victims may wish to recover more fully before pursuing their court case—and that takes time too. dog bite injuries
Statute of Limitations for Dog Bites in Texas
Personal injury claims like dog bites must be filed within two years of the dog bite incident or attack. Victims of dog bites have two years from the date of their attack to file a dog bite lawsuit.
In Texas, dog bite victims can seek compensation in two forms: economic damages and non-economic damages. The economic damages are the medical expenses and lost work wages associated with the case. The medical costs can be extensive, particularly in severe attacks that cause disfigurement. While recovering, some dog bite victims may be unable to attend work. The dog owner may be liable for these damages. Non-economic damages refer to pain and suffering. Dog bites can be incredibly traumatic for victims. In Texas, a parent who witnesses a dog biting their child can sue for emotional distress.
See Also: Dog Bite Compensation In Texas
What Happens to Dogs that Bite?
There isn’t a hard and fast rule about how to deal with dogs who have bitten or attacked. Vicious dogs who’ve killed are typically put down if they are seized by animal control. However, the consequences vary tremendously with each dog who bites. Another way to address this issue: what happens to owners whose dog bites?
If an owner’s dog is declared to be dangerous, they owner has a legal responsibility to prevent their dog from attacking. Cities like Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio have statutes in place that guide owners of aggressive dogs. They may have to provide a certain type of barrier. This barrier is subject to checks from Animal Control representatives. Texas takes aggressive dogs seriously. The onus is on the dog’s owner to prevent the animal from harming others.
See Also: What Happens to a Dog that bites you?
Rely on Jerome O. Fjeld, PLLC – Top Houston Dog Attack Attorney
If you’ve been bitten by a dog in or around Texas and believe you have a claim, contact the law firm of Jerome O. Fjeld, PLLC. We will carefully examine your claim and provide other services that include:
- File court documents
- Manage paperwork and case-related documents
- Attend appointment and court proceedings punctually
- Communicate with defendant’s insurance company (if it’s involved in the claim)and attorneys
- Speak with witnesses
- Obtain supportive evidence like photos or video footage
- Obtain testimony from medical experts
- Provide clients with legal advice
- Aggressively negotiate or litigate the case
As a small firm, we are able to give our clients personalized attention. You’ll never get the brush off with us! Too often, clients feel anonymous when they walk into large law firms. At our firm, we take time to answer your questions and address all of your concerns. You’re not a mere case number in our book. We get to know you and all the details of your case so that we can provide you with the customized service you deserve.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
- What kind of lawyer do I need if a dog bit me?
In these types of cases, you will need to contact a personal injury attorney that has many years of experience with dog bite laws, animal attacks, including dog attacks. Make sure the personal injury attorney you choose is a trial lawyer with a good reputation and has solid reviews.
- How much will homeowners insurance pay for a dog bite? Homeowners insurance normally covers damages between $100,000-$250,000 depending on the policy. Normally expenses above this amount are the responsiblity of the dog owner.
- How much is a dog bite law-suit worth? This depends on the extent of the damage from the bite itself. Some dog bite claims may exceed $500,000 in damages.