What to Expect in a Dog Bite Injury Settlement

Williams & Cannon, PLLC

Dogs bite approximately 4.521 million people in the USA annually, and about 26% of victims are children.

Sadly, although some cases of dog bites are treatable, some end in fatalities, just like the case of Deann Stephenson, who was attacked viciously by a pack of dogs in Porter, Texas. Even when they are not fatal, a dog bite can result in emotional distress and mental anguish.

If you or someone you love has suffered a dog bite injury, a Dallas personal injury lawyer can help negotiate compensation to cover your medical bills.

This type of case is not always straightforward. So, we at our firm, would like to take this opportunity to educate you on what to expect in a dog bite settlement.

When Can a Dog Owner Be Held Accountable for a Dog Bite in Dallas?

In Texas, there are two types of dog owners who are recognised by the law:

  1. The owner who owns and controls the dog
  2. The owner who does not own but exercises control over the dog

Per SEC. 7-4.14A of the Dallas city code:

“A person commits an offence if the person is the owner or keeper of a dog and the person fails to secure the dog and the dog makes an unprovoked bite that causes bodily injury to another person, legally restrained domestic animal, or livestock, that occurs at a location other than the owner’s or keeper’s real property or in or on the owner’s or keeper’s motor vehicle or boat.”

According to this statute, a dog owner is liable when their dog bites another person.

If there’s bodily harm to the bite victim, this kind of negligence is a 3rd-degree felony, punishable with ten years in jail. But if it results in death, it becomes a 2nd-degree felony, punishable with 20 years in prison. But if the victim needs no medical attention, the owner is charged with a misdemeanor.

How to Prove Negligence in a Dog Bite Claim

Just like every other personal injury case, you must prove negligence. And to prove negligence, the bite victim must show that:

  • The dog’s owner knew the animal had bitten someone or had shown aggressive behavior before, or
  • The dog’s owner was careless in controlling the animal and keeping you from getting bit, and
  • Due to that gross negligence, you suffered actual, observable damages from an unprovoked attack.

Only after proving negligence in this way can you hold a dog owner liable.

What Should You Do After a Dog Bite to Prove Negligence?

What you do after a dog bite is essential in getting a settlement when you sue a dog owner.

After a dog bite, you should:

  • Get medical care immediately. This is not only to prevent infection but to document and prove that the incident happened. You will also use the record to get reimbursement for medical expenses you incur during treatment.
  • Inform Animal Control of the bite. In addition, they will ensure that the dog has been vaccinated, adding another paper trail to prove that the attack occurred.
  • Take photos of your wound every day when it’s new, and take pictures of it at different stages of the healing process.
  • Request the contact details of witnesses. They will help in proving your case.
  • Contact a Dallas personal injury lawyer at our firm. Dog bite laws make dog bite settlements very tricky. So, you’ll need Dallas personal injury lawyers and experienced dog bite lawyers who have handled a case like yours.
  • Finally, avoid any communication with the insurance adjuster of the dog owner’s insurance company. Sign no paper, give no statement, and offer no comment. Otherwise, you can make your case worse.

After You Have Proof of Negligence, What Next?

We will help you file an insurance claim or a lawsuit against the dog owner.

Filing an insurance claim

The potential damages you can file for include:

  • Pain & Suffering
  • Money spent on getting medical attention
  • Loss Of Consortium (especially if it’s a severe, long-lasting injury)
  • Physical Impairment
  • Mental Anguish
  • Out-of-Pocket Expenses
  • Property Damage
  • Lost Wages
  • Lost Earning Capacity

Suppose you decide to file an insurance claim. In that case, our personal injury lawyers will work with you to get the owner’s insurance policy, file a claim, and negotiate with the insurance adjuster to bring you an adequate settlement.

And if we fail to reach an agreement, we will proceed to file a lawsuit.

Filing a lawsuit

If you file a lawsuit, you will get punitive damages.

Punitive damages do not cover your losses like the damages above.

Instead, a jury will give you punitive damages if it is proved that the dog owner acted with gross negligence, fraud, or malice.

But if you’re filing a civil suit, you must do so within two years of the incident. According to Texas law, the statute of limitation for dog bite cases is two years.

How Much Compensation Can a Dog Bite Victim Receive?

The amount depends on several factors. They include:

  • The type and extent of the injury
  • The availability of evidence proving fault
  • The length of time required for medical care
  • Whether there were any complications during the healing process
  • The emotional distress caused by the injury
  • The financial burden associated with the injury
  • The effect of the damage on your ability to work or function
  • The total costs of medical care
  • The loss of income you incurred while recovering
  • The value of the services provided to you by others
  • The impact of the injury on your quality of life

As you work with Dallas personal injury lawyers at our firm, we will work to ensure you receive a sufficient amount through an insurance claim or lawsuit to cover every damage you may have incurred as a result of the attack.

Contact Our Personal Injury Lawyers in Dallas, Texas

our firm is a law firm experienced in personal injury, including dog bite cases. We will work with you to get fair compensation for your damages.

Contact us now for your free consultation, or call us at 214-295-2900.

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