Like all personal injury cases in the state of Texas, there is a two-year statute of limitations from the date of the actual act in which to file a lawsuit. However, you should never wait that long to begin the process of the claim. There are going to be witnesses and other evidence that needs to be gathered early on in order to have a stronger claim. As time goes by, memories fade, people move and different things happened that can make pursuing the claim more difficult. Therefore, the need to seek legal counsel and advice early is highly recommended.
What Type Of Insurance Pays Out On A Dog Bite Claim?
Typically, a homeowner’s insurance policy for the dog owner pays the damages in a dog bite claim. There are certain policies that specifically exclude animal attacks but those are rare and usually only in situations where the insurance company knows that the homeowner is housing a dangerous dog.
If the homeowner does not have adequate insurance or any insurance at all, the next things to look at for compensation are assets. That can be a very problematic issue in and of itself. However, in majority of cases the homeowner’s insurance is going to be responsible for paying out on a claim in a dog bite case.
What Information Or Evidence Is Used In A Dog Bite Claim?
The single most important information that can be obtained in a dog bite case is evidence or information concerning the dog’s dangerous propensities in the past. In Texas, there is a “first bite is free” rule. In order to prove a case, you need to demonstrate that the dog owner knew or should have known of dangerous propensities or aggressiveness on part of the dog. In that regard, neighbors, other people who frequently walk the block, maybe family members, others who have seen the dogs loose in the neighborhood or have experienced aggressiveness of the dogs are extremely important. It’s critical to preserve that evidence to pursue the case.
Other forms of evidence including as pictures, medical bills, communication with the neighbors and those types of things are also very important. However, first and foremost in any lawsuit, the most important thing is the evidence that establishes the dangerous propensities of the dog and the owner’s knowledge of those propensities.
How Difficult Is It To Prove The Damages In A Dog Bite Claim?
The difficulty involved in proving damages in a dog bite claim all depend entirely on the case itself. The more time that elapses from the time of the dog bite to retaining counsel, the more difficult it is going to be to prove the case. With the lapse of time memories fade, people move and the willingness to be involved dissipates. Attorney Brad Parker has seen cases where immediately after the dog bite, the witnesses were more than willing to come forward, give statements and provide testimony. Over time, however, the witnesses became less inclined to help out in that regard. It’s extremely important to try and gather this evidence and seek counsel as early as possible.
Can Someone Negotiate A Dog Bite Claim With Insurance On Their Own?
It may be possible to work with the insurance company by yourself, if you have minor injuries sustained from a dog bite. However, if someone has suffered any kind of significant injury, that’s not going to be true. The rule in Texas is going to be the “first bite is free”.
In Attorney Parker’s experience, every dog owner has always claimed, “I had no idea my dog was mean”. All dog owners want to take the position that their pet isn’t dangerous. Therefore, the insurance companies take the position that they are not going to pay on the claim.
Keep in mind, insurance companies are in the business to make money. They do not make money when they pay out money on a claim. They try to minimize or even eliminate the claim completely. Unless you have the assistance of an attorney to help you through this process, they are going to try to take advantage of it and stonewall you at every turn.
How Does An Attorney Assist Someone In A Dog Bite Claim?
With more than 4.7 million dog bites occurring annually across this country, you can see that this is a serious problem. At the Parker Law Firm, they have handled numerous dog bite cases. That experience has shown, that early intervention by a lawyer who is board certified in personal injury trial law is necessary to get the very best result possible.
There are a whole host of things that need to be done in order to pursue the case to the best of its ability and to preserve the evidence that’s there including: taking witness statements; taking pictures; contacting the insurance companies and doctors; obtaining medical records; contacting animal control and local authorities, just to name a few.
With over 30 years of experience in handling personal injury claims involving serious dog bite cases, the Parker Law Firm welcomes the opportunity to visit with and outline your rights and the remedies that might be available to you.
Have You Been Injured In A Texas Accident?
If you've been injured you need to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Bedford, Texas office directly at 817.440.3888 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation. We help personal injury clients throughout Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington as well as all areas of Texas.