There are approximately 4.7 million dog bites each year in the United States. Serious and fatal attacks inflicted by dogs are a frequent occurrence both nationally and in Texas. In fact, in 2015, Texas led the United States in lethal dog attacks. Unfortunately, children account for approximately one-half of all dog bites that occur throughout the country with the elderly following in a close second.
What Is Considered A Dog Bite In The Realm Of Personal Injury Claims?
Texas is one of the states that have the “first bite is free” rule. What that means is that if you are a victim of a dog bite, you must show that the dog owner knew or should have known that his dog was aggressive or dangerous or had at least shown aggressive tendencies in the past. To state it another way, if the dog had always been docile and this was the very first time that it had ever acted aggressive or bitten someone, there is probably not a claim.
Is There A Certain Breed Of Dog That Is More Prone To Violence Than Others?
Research over the last decade has shown that two of the deadliest dog breeds in America are the Pit Bull Terriers and Rottweilers. These high-risk breeds are more likely to commit a dog attack than any other breeds. However, it’s important to keep in mind that other breeds are able to act in a dangerous manner towards humans and you can never really tell which dog may or may not act out. Certainly the way the dog is raised, kept and treated plays a large role in whether the dog may be aggressive or not.
Do Dog Bite Claims Typically Involve Strangers Or Acquaintances?
The Parker Law Firm has handled a variety of dog bite cases including those where the animal turned on a stranger, such as someone walking down the street, a neighbor as well as someone familiar with the dog. It’s unpredictable as to who may be the subject or target of a dog bite.
What Are Some Common Scenarios That Lead To Dog Bite Injuries?
The most common scenarios that Attorney Brad Parker sees in representing dog bite victims are those involving strangers. Typically, it will be someone who is taking out the trash and is attacked by a neighbor’s dog who happens to get out. Oftentimes he also sees cases where someone is outside in the morning exercising and walking around the neighborhood and a dog gets loose and attacks the morning jogger or walker.
What Are The Common Types Of Injuries Sustained From A Dog Bite?
Obviously all serious dog bite injuries involve puncture wounds from the bite itself but the types and extent of the injuries can vary greatly. The attorneys at the Parker Law Firm have handled cases where there is a single bite, puncture wound as well as the more severe cases involving a mauling which usually involves the ripping away of flesh, muscle and tendons. The extent of the injury in these types of cases can be from relatively minor to extremely severe and in some cases, even death.
Is There A Level Of Severity Of A Bite Or Injury In Order To Make A Personal Injury Claim?
Like any personal injury claim, the more severe the injury the more significant the claim. Obviously, all dog bites are serious. Attorney Parker takes the position at the Parker Law Firm that just being attacked by an animal, even if it’s just one bite, is a horrific and a life-shattering event that has profound implications. However, of course, if the bite required stitches, left scars or required constructive plastic surgery, those factors would certainly make the claim more significant than if it were just a bite with a couple of punctures.
Who Should Be Contacted In The Event Of A Dog Bite?
If someone is the victim of a dog attack, the first person they should contact are medical professionals and have the wounds treated to whatever extent is necessary. Additionally, the victim or victim’s advocate will want to contact the dog owner to find out if the animal has been properly vaccinated. The Parker Law Firm recently had a case where a woman was walking and was bitten by a dog and for whatever reason, the dog owner wouldn’t respond to the request about vaccination records. Therefore, without knowing whether or not the animal was vaccinated, the woman had to undergo rabies shots. While those have changed dramatically over the years, it’s still a very frightening experience to have those shots.
Additionally, the other people that need to be notified would include local authorities and particularly animal control. Even if the dog had never acted out before, the authorities need to know in case there is another incident. Likewise, if this is the dog’s second, third or fourth attack, there are provisions under Texas law that would label the animal as a vicious dog and require the owner to take special precautions in boarding so it can’t get loose. Likewise, if the dog had several attacks, the local authorities may decide that the dog needs to be put down. Therefore, again when injured by a dog bite a person needs to get medical care, contact the dog owner and certainly contact local authorities including animal control.
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