Although it’s possible to only suffer a minor dog bite, for the most part, these are extremely serious injuries. At the very least, the person who was bitten will need to see a doctor and possibly get stitches. For many people, the dog bite itself is traumatizing and can mean being afraid of all dogs for the rest of their lives. When small children are bitten, it can be particularly difficult for them to deal with anxiety and fear every time they see an animal.
Some of the injuries that result from dog attacks include the following:
- Nerve damage
- Fractured bones
Other injuries that happen with dog bites include infections such as rabies, cellulitis, and C. canimorsus infections (also called dog bite septicemia). When people are bitten on the face (which is common when small children are bitten), injuries can include scars and facial fractures.
These injuries are the visible physical injuries that occur. However, the mental injuries can be just as severe. Many people have to deal with a morbid fear of dogs and any other animal after they have been bitten. Some people find that they relive the attack every time they are outdoors or in the same area, which can cause them to stay indoors out of fear for long periods of time.
Who Is the Most Likely to Be Bitten
Unfortunately, nearly 90 percent of dog bites happen to children under the age of sixteen. While people frequently don’t think the dog means any harm, the truth of the matter is that some dogs feel dominant to children because of their size.
Often, the dog will display protective behavior toward a territory, possession, or person, which explains why children are bitten when they grab a dog’s toy or food that is near the canine’s owner. Basically, the dogs are attempting to guard something, and when they feel threatened, they unfortunately attack children they perceive to be encroaching.
Another reason dogs bite children is because the animal might experience a form of anxiety. This includes dogs with separation anxiety and thunderstorm anxiety. Medical conditions in dogs can also cause them to bite people, especially if the dog is uncomfortable or in pain.
No matter the cause, dogs biting children is a particular concern simply because most small children are no match for an animal. When dogs attack kids, they can cause serious injuries that last forever.
Dog bites have also led to fatalities, especially when large dogs are involved. For this reason, it’s important that any dog that bites is dealt with appropriately to prevent a small child or another person from being seriously harmed in the future.
Why You Need an Attorney After a Dog Bite
If you have been bitten by a dog or someone you know has experienced an attack, it’s crucial that you have an attorney who can help you determine the best way to move forward. Besides the medical bills and injuries, there are losses that you will experience that you could get compensation for from the dog’s owner.
However, it can be difficult to even consider starting a dog bite case, especially if it was your neighbor’s dog, a friend’s dog, or even a family member’s dog. Many people don’t want to go forward with legal proceedings because they fear that the dog will be euthanized. However, it is crucial that you consider what could happen in the future if that dog were to attack someone else, especially if you ignored the signs and avoided handling the first dog bite.
Furthermore, if you are a dog owner whose dog bit a trespasser or was provoked, a lawyer can help you protect your pet and prevent you from being held responsible for an injury that wasn’t your fault. A dog bite attorney can make sure you retain your rights whether you are the pet owner or the victim of a dog bite.
Dog Bite Laws in Texas
The laws regarding dog bites in the state of Texas can seem complicated. For the most part, there is no specific dog bite statute in Texas. However, in Marshall v. Ranne, 511 SW 2d 255 (Tex. SC 1974) the Texas Supreme Court adopted the view of the Restatement of Torts section 509, meaning that Texas uses the “one bite rule.”
The one bite rule states that the dog’s owner is liable for injuries caused by the animal if the owner knew the dog had bitten someone before or acted aggressively in the past, or if the owner was negligent in controlling the dog or preventing the bite. As a victim seeking financial damages through a personal injury claim, you also must prove that the owner’s negligence caused the injuries.
For owners, there are two defenses against dog bite claims, which are a lack of knowledge and that the person bit was trespassing. If the owner can prove that they had no knowledge or indication that the dog would bite or that the victim was unlawfully on private property, the owner likely won’t be held liable for the injuries.
If you or a family member were bitten by a dog and the owner was negligent, it’s important that you act as soon as possible. The statute of limitations for dog bites in Texas is two years from the date of the dog bite. However, this can go fast, especially if you are dragging your feet and unsure if you should file a dog bite case. If you wait too long and file your claim later than two years after the dog bite, your case could be dismissed.
Dealing with a dog bite is not easy for anyone involved, including the dog who may not have even intended to hurt anyone. To make sure you get the best possible outcome all around, make sure you have a qualified legal team on your side.