Why You Should Contact a Lawyer Soon After Your Dog Bite
Dogs make great companions, espeically when they are taught to behave; however, if they are not properly trained or cared for, they can be agressive. A dog bite, or worse, an overall attack on a human, can result in not only wounds, but also infections and perhaps even broken bones and permanent scarring.
Texas gives dogs and their owners the benefit of the doubt when it comes to biting incidents. Many states have adopted what is called a “strict liability” standard, meaning that any dog bite or attack is subject to legal action, which often boils down to an insurance claim on the owner’s home or renter’s insurance.
Texas, however, embraces the “one bite” rule, which means a dog and its owner are not strictly liable unless the dog has bitten people before. This may put more burden on the victim to make a claim or to take legal action, but it certainly doesn’t prevent making a claim based on the owner or handler’s negligence. Perhaps they failed to properly keep their pet on a leash, or knowing the animal had tendencies to bite, failed to take the necessary precautions when around other people.
If you or a loved one has been bitten or attacked by a dog in Houston, Texas, contact Deborah Hubbs, Attorney & Counselor at Law, PLLC. I have more than two decades of experience in practicing law, and I can handle your insurance claim for a dog incident or, if need be, file a personal injury lawsuit. I will consult with you and offer you your best options going forward and then help you claim the just compensation you or your loved one deserves.
What to Do After a Dog Bite
Depending on the extent of the injuries from your dog bite, or attack, you certainly will need to get medical attention as soon as possible. Also, you will need to obtain as much information about the owner and the dog’s vaccination history as possible to know how to respond going forward.
Responsible dog owners will keep their dog’s rabies shots up to date, so if you can verify that, it will relieve you of the worry of getting rabies. Rabies is treatable, but treatment must begin before symptoms start setting in. A dog bite can also result in tetanus, so for your own sake, you should make sure you’re up to date on your tetanus vaccinations.
Assuming you’re not so physically injured that you need immediate medical attention, other steps beyond obtaining owner and dog information you should take include:
TALKING TO WITNESSES: If there are any witnesses to what happened, you need to get their contact information and record their statements, if you can. Witness testimony will bolster any insurance claim you make, and certainly if you file a personal injury lawsuit, witnesses can be essential. However, if you’re walking with your friend when you’re bitten, your friend’s testimony can be challenged as being biased, but it can still play a vital role.
TAKING PHOTOS: Use your phone and take pictures at the scene of the incident, including wounds or cuts you suffered. If you can, take pictures of the dog, especially if it’s unleased or roaming freely. If the dog escaped through a broken fence or a gate left open, take a picture of that as well.
REPORTING THE INCIDENT TO ANIMAL CONTROL: Texas law requires that you report any dog bite or attack to animal control services. This is certainly important if the dog had no license tag on it and/or is assumed to be a stray.
CHECKING YOUR LEGAL OPTIONS: Even with Texas’s one-bite exemption, an owner may still be held responsible if they have been negligent. Perhaps they knew their dog had a tendency to bite, or they were letting the dog run around freely without supervision. An attorney can help you sort through the details and advise you of your next steps. If you do file an insurance claim, your attorney can handle the claims adjuster and negotiate for a better settlement
Reasons to Contact a Dog Bite Attorney
You may feel like, “I have a dog bite, but I can make a claim on my own.” Yes, you can, but insurance companies are for-profit institutions, and they hire professionally trained specialists known as claims adjusters to limit their liability.
If you try to deal with a claims adjuster on your own, you will find yourself being put through the proverbial ringer with questions and demands for further proof. They may even try to get you to admit you somehow provoked the dog. Bottom line is they will use what you say to limit or deny your claim. Any settlement they offer will be low-balled, at best.
Studies have shown that having an attorney negotiate with claims adjusters can increase the settlement by two or three times over what you could obtain on your own. An attorney also knows when the threat – or actual filing – of a personal injury lawsuit can result in a better or quicker settlement, even if matters never actually go to trial.
Rely on an Experienced Dog Bite Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has been injured in an incident with a dog, reach out to me immediately. I will help you assemble the proper evidence and medical records to press a claim or even a lawsuit, if necessary. I will also handle the claims adjuster for you.
If you’re in Houston, Fort Bend, Harris, or Montgomery, Texas, and were attacked by a dog, contact Deborah Hubbs, Attorney & Counselor at Law, PLLC.