According to Nolo.com “ With nearly 90 million pet dogs in the U.S. and about 4.5 million dog bites every year, it’s no surprise that lawsuits over the resulting injuries are also common. Depending on the circumstances and where the injury happened, the victim may file a civil suit based on the dog owner’s negligence or on a “strict liability” dog-bite law that makes the owner liable regardless of the animal’s history or the owner’s carelessness.“
Texas dog owners can be held liable for the injuries their pets inflict, but Texas still follows the “one bite rule.” Essentially, the first time a dog attacks someone, the owner is not usually held liable except in limited circumstances, such as attacks by dogs known to be dangerous, accidents involving dog handler negligence, and violations of animal ordinances or leash laws.
Much has been said about the shortcomings of Texas’ dog laws. Many believe that they are not enforced regularly and that the one-bite rule should be abolished. In 2007 the Texas legislature enacted Lillian’s Law, which provides harsh criminal penalties for dog owners who knew (or should have known) that their dog could kill or severely injure someone. Unfortunately, the law did not change victims’ ability to seek civil damages when the dog attacks someone for the first time.
Children are especially vulnerable to animal attacks. They usually do not have the instincts or reflexes to protect themselves from a sudden attack. As such, they are more susceptible to facial injuries. The American Association of Ophthalmology suggests that children who suffer eye injuries in dog attacks face an increased risk of infection, additional surgeries and longer recovery periods.
Nevertheless, dog bite victims can seek compensation for medical treatment, counseling to overcome the emotional trauma of the attack, loss of earnings, and pain and suffering. Victims commonly seek compensation from the dog owner’s home insurance policy.
If you or a loved one has suffered a dog bite injury, seek counsel from an experienced personal injury attorney immediately.