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Dog Bite

Animal bites can cause serious injury to a victim. Pet bites are more common than wild animal bites; the most common bite cases come from dog and cat bites. Most of this section will refer to dog bites, but other animal bite issues will be intertwined within. Wild animals kept in residences can also create a greater risk factor for injuries to unexpected victims. From a child to an adult, anyone is capable of being a victim of an animal bite; sadly, children are the common victim in dog and animal attacks. From minor nips causing minor injuries to dog maulings causing permanent damage, victims deserve the right compensation to help them recover.

The typical legal route to recover in an animal bite case is negligence. Under a dog bite case, there are 4 main elements to assert a cause of action:  1) the person owned or possessed the animal; 2) the person had a duty to exercise reasonable care to prevent the animal from “attacking”; 3) the duty was breached; 4) the breach of the duty proximately caused injuries to the victim. Sometimes, depending on the type of animal, strict liability issues can come into play which is another route to recovery. Other legal concerns relate to the Texas Dangerous Dog Act, leash laws, city ordinances and regulations, and negligence per se arguments.

Texas is considered to have a “one-bite rule”. This means that a dog owner is considered liable if they knew his or her dog had a tendency to bite, the owner commanded, intentionally, or negligently allowed a bite to occur, or violated an animal control law. Under Texas law, a dog that has caused death or serious bodily injury to a person by attacking, biting, or mauling the person, can be seized by the local animal control authority and in some instances can be destroyed, as stated in Texas statutes. After an injury has occurred, this helps to eliminate future problems with the specific dog; however, this does not rectify the injuries that have already taken place. The owner of the dog can be held to felony level criminal charges for certain attacks. The owner of the dog also has a duty to make an attempt to stop a dog attack once it has started.

Dog and animal bite cases are not as simple as one might assume. These types of cases take just as much investigation as other major personal injury cases. The Kiechler Law Firm PLLC will take the necessary steps during the investigation of a victim’s case. This includes contacting the local animal shelter and local county health department to see about prior occurrences with the specific dog, dog owner, and address of the dog’s owner. Obtaining licensing and vaccination history can prove to be beneficial in certain cases. Veterinarian records can also prove to be helpful in the pursuit of the right amount of compensation. Typically, investigating the dog’s training, background, and history of its nature (i.e., aggressive), can help lead to the best strategy in protecting a victim’s rights.

Most of the time people think that only certain dog breeds are capable of causing substantial and severe harm; this statement is not correct. Every type of dog and animal is capable of causing bodily injury. There are some breeds that are more prone to have aggressive natures, but this does not mean that the neighbor’s dog that is a known breed that is not aggressive will not attack someone randomly. Some of the common aggressive breeds are as following: Akitas, Boxers, Chow Chows, Doberman Pinschers, German Sheppards, Great Danes, Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Siberian Huskies, and Wolf Hybrids.

Victims can suffer both physical and emotional injuries. Physical injuries can lead to emergency medical treatment, physical therapy, long-term rehabilitation, even permanent irreversible damage, pediatric treatment, and a newly created fear of dogs and other animals. Common injuries that can result from a dog or animal attack are as follows: abrasions and lacerations, punctures, tissue loss, crush injuries to body parts, fractured bones, sprains and strains, infections, and permanent scars. Although most animal bites are not life-threatening, serious medical problems can arise if the bites are untreated. The four most significant infections are caused by Pasteurellosis, Streptococcal, Staphylococcal, and Capnocythophaga. The type of injury and severity of the injury can have a substantial relation to the age, health, and size of the victim.

It is sometimes hard to understand how a victim can be compensated for his or her injuries. In auto accidents, drivers have auto insurance. With dog and animal bites, certain homeowner’s insurance policies cover injuries from these bites. In certain circumstances, exceptions under a homeowner’s insurance policy can exclude routes of recovery due to certain breeds of dogs being excluded or other types of wild animals being excluded. Sometimes a dog owner cannot be found or there is no way to prove an affirmative link between a dog and possible owner. The Kiechler Law Firm PLLC will investigate all routes of recovery and will try and make sure a victim is rightfully compensated. Typical compensation can be for medical treatment, disfigurement, physical impairment, lost wages, mental anguish and emotional distress, and wrongful death.

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Our office is in Lubbock, Lubbock County; however, we continuously are providing legal services throughout all the counties of the South Plains.

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