Hiring a dog bite lawyer in Houston, Texas can be an important decision. Every year, more than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs in the United States, and nearly 800,000 of them have to seek medical care for their injuries. Unfortunately, children are the most likely to victims of dog bites and they are also more likely to suffer severe injuries during a Houston dog bite.
If you or your child has been bitten by a dog or suffered dog bite injuries, you might want to consider hiring a Houston dog bite lawyer, as soon as possible, especially if the injuries required extensive medical care and out-of-pocket costs. To learn more about the importance of hiring a dog bite lawyer in Houston, read on.
When You Should Hire a Dog Bite Lawyer
The first thing you should do if you are bitten by a dog is to seek medical attention. Even if the bite does not seem severe, it can still cause an infection, especially if the dog breaks the skin. There is always the chance of bacteria being introduced into the wound, so watching it for signs of infection is important.
You should also ask the dog owner for their vaccination records. If the dog is not properly vaccinated, rabies could be a concern.
If you need to seek medical treatment for the dog bite, you should consider hiring a dog bite lawyer to seek compensation. You can try to do it on your own, by filing a claim with the dog owner’s insurance company, but if they are not insured or refused to pay, you will need a lawyer to fight for you.
If your medical bills are extensive, you don’t have insurance, or you have to pay a large portion of them out of pocket, the insurance company may not reimburse you for all of your expenses. A lawyer will fight to make sure you are fully compensated for your expenses. They will also be able to use their experience to fully estimate your costs and any future costs you may incur as a result of the bite.
Hiring a lawyer may also ensure that the dog owner is held responsible by local authorities for violating leash laws or not controlling their animal.
Benefits of Hiring a Lawyer
The biggest benefit of hiring a Houston dog bite lawyer is that they will typically be able to get dog bite victims more compensation for the dog bite injury than if they try to negotiate with the insurance company on their own. Not only that, but they also know the Texas law and regulations in your area and know how to negotiate with the insurance company when it is the dog owner’s fault.
Another benefit of hiring a personal injury lawyer is that they will take care of the negotiation for you. You can focus on healing your dog bite injuries and avoid the stress of dealing with the dog owners insurance company.
Many insurance companies will offer you a settlement right away for your dog bite to try to get you to agree and close the case. However, these dog bite settlements are often far less than what your injuries are actually worth. An experienced Houston dog bite lawyer will have an idea of what you can expect and can advise when the insurance company is trying to settle for less.
An attorney can also help you figure out the true cost of the dog bite, including:
- Medical costs
- Permanent disability as a result of the bite or attack
- Lost income from time away from work
- Repair or replacement of any personal property damaged
- Emotional distress as a result of the attack
Your attorney will help you document your injuries as well as all of the other costs associated with your injuries. Most of them do not get paid unless you win, so they have a vested interest in making sure you are fully compensated for your injuries.
Understanding Dog Bite Laws in Texas
Texas has something called a “one bite rule” which means that in order to successfully file a lawsuit against a dog owner, you have to show that the owner knew that in the past, the dog bit someone or tried to bite someone. If you can’t show this, you have to prove that the dog owner or keeper was negligent and didn’t properly control the dog to prevent the bite.
Two other important aspects of Texas dog bite laws are landlord liability and comparative negligence.
Landlord liability means that if a landlord knows that a dog that lives on a property that they own and lease to a tenant and is dangerous, they can be held liable for a dog bite. You do have to show that the landlord knew about the dangerous pet or should have known and show that the attack occurred in a common area under the control of the landlord.
Comparative negligence means that you can be held partially at fault for your injuries. The court will determine what percentage of the fault is yours and reduce any jury award by that percentage.
For example, if you are 25% at fault for your injuries, then you will only receive 75% of the jury award amount. If you are more than 50% at fault, you will not receive any compensation from a jury.
Hire a Dog Bite Attorney Today
Because many dog owners may refuse to file a claim with their insurance company or fail to take responsibility for the actions of their pet, you should consider hiring a dog bite lawyer. It may be difficult to prove that the dog was previously dangerous and that the owner acted negligently, so you need an experienced personal injury lawyer to ensure you get what you are entitled to.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you win your case.