When dogs attack, they can cause serious and life-threatening bodily injuries. Survivors may have to deal with permanent scarring, disfigurement, and emotional trauma because of a dog attack. If you or a loved one suffered a dog bite injury, speak to a San Antonio dog bite attorney the Law Offices of Maloney & Campolo. Contact us to schedule an initial free case evaluations.
Why Choose Our Lawyers?
- We provide honest, transparent answers. We encourage clients to call the office 24/7, where a lawyer (not an assistant) will answer questions and concerns.
- We have a case history of success. Our success rate is 95%. We have secured over $150 million in financial awards for personal injury claims.
- We only charge attorney’s fees if the case succeeds. You will never pay any fees upfront or out of pocket – or at all, unless we win.
Why You Need an Attorney After a Dog Bites You
A dog bite injury is often catastrophic. They can lead to exorbitant medical bills, from skin grafts and rabies vaccinations to rehabilitation and emotional therapy. The victim can also suffer lost wages and psychological trauma from the dog attack. When facing such significant losses, do not attempt to negotiate with the insurance company alone. This is likely to lead to a lowball settlement that does not fully cover your damages. Instead, hire a San Antonio dog bite lawyer to take care of your claim for you. Your lawyer will fight for the fair compensation you and your family need to truly move forward after a dog attacks you.
Common Types of Dog Bite Injuries
Dog attacks often result in hospitalizations for serious wounds. When an aggressive dog attacks, it may go for the kill if it perceives the victim as a threat. This can result in severe harm done to critical areas of the body, such as the neck, face and stomach. Children and the elderly are most at risk of sustaining life-threatening injuries in dog attacks, but they can be extremely harmful to anyone.
Some of the most common dog bite injuries include:
- Puncture wounds
- Broken bones
- Crush injuries
- Soft-tissue injuries
- Significant loss of flesh
- Muscle, tendon and ligament damage
- Nerve damage
- Face, neck and eye injuries
- Internal injuries
- Diseases, such as rabies
- Significant scarring and disfigurement
- Wrongful death
At Maloney & Campolo, our San Antonio personal injury lawyers are equipped to handle all types of injuries caused by dog attacks. This includes not only injuries from dog bites but also from a dog jumping on a victim and knocking him or her over, with injuries such as hip and wrist fractures.
Dog Bite Laws in Texas
Most states have dog bite laws. These laws determine if and when victims have the right to file personal injury and property damage claims against pet owners. Unlike most states, Texas does not have a specific dog bite statute. Instead, the courts use the legal theory of negligence to decide on dog bite cases. To obtain compensation for a dog bite injury, the victim or his/her attorney must establish a history of violence or aggression in the dog’s past. Then, your San Antonio dog bite attorney must prove that the pet owner failed to exercise reasonable care in preventing the dog from attacking.
Using the theory of negligence, the goal of the injury claim will be to show a judge or jury that the dog owner knew or reasonably should have known (based on the dog’s history) that a propensity of violence existed, and that the owner failed to prevent the attack or bite. It is also possible to bring a personal injury case for other pet-related incidents, such as a dog jumping on a victim and knocking him or her over.
Texas One Bite Law
Texas generally abides by a “one bite rule” in regard to dog bite injury cases. Under this rule, there must be an established history of the dog exhibiting vicious, violent or aggressive behaviors in the past to hold the pet owner responsible for an attack now. If there is no evidence that the pet owner knew or reasonably should have known of the dog’s vicious propensities, the owner may not be held liable for a dog bite injury. In other words, the dog is given one “free” bite.
As a claimant under the one bite rule, you or your attorney will have the burden of proof. Your lawyer must demonstrate that the pet owner is liable for the damages related to your injuries based on a preponderance of the evidence (with at least a 51 percent certainty). It must be proven with clear and convincing evidence that the owner reasonably should have known the dog to be dangerous before the incident occurred. This may require proof such as witness statements from neighbors, previously filed dog bite injury reports, and documents or records from the local Animal Control Center.
Texas Strict Liability
The burden of proving negligence will be present in most dog bite claims in Texas, but some may use the strict liability rule. Strict liability means the defendant will be liable for damages without the injured person needing to prove negligence. Texas courts may apply a this rule in cases where the dog owner knew the animal to be vicious, dangerous, or mischievous. A dangerous dog may be one that caused significant bodily injury to another victim in the past, or a certain breed according to Texas municipal laws. In Forest Hill, for example, city law has declared pit bulls a dangerous dog breed.
Determining Liability for a San Antonio Dog Bite
While the owner of a dog that attacks someone is the most commonly identified defendant in a dog bite injury claim in San Antonio, it may not be the only possibility in your case. Other parties could also be held accountable for dog bite injuries if they were negligent or played a role in the attack occurring.
A landlord, for example, could be held liable for a dog bite injury that occurs on rented property if there is evidence that the landlord should have taken greater care to keep a dangerous dog from the property, such as enacting no-pet rules or breed restrictions.
In some cases, an individual in charge of controlling a dog at the time may be held liable rather than the pet owner. This could include a pet sitter, dog walker, kennel, boarding center or dog daycare. Any person who was in control of the dog and negligently failed to prevent a foreseeable attack could face legal action in San Antonio.
Finally, a property owner could face liability for a dog attack that occurs on his or her property, even if that individual is not the owner of the dog. A premises liability claim could potentially be brought for the negligent failure to maintain a safe premises for lawful visitors.
What to Do After Suffering a Dog Bite
If you get bitten by a dog in San Antonio, remain calm and try to remember the steps that you should take to protect yourself. Do your best to safeguard yourself physically, emotionally and financially after a traumatic dog attack with the following steps:
- Get to a safe location. Put your safety first; get away from the dog to assess your injuries. If the dog is running at large, call the authorities to capture the animal.
- Get professional medical attention. Dog bite injuries come with a high risk of infection due to bacteria in the dog’s saliva. Get professional medical care the same day.
- Collect information. While you are still at the scene of the attack, write down the pet owner’s name, address, phone number and information about the dog.
- Report the dog bite injury. Contact San Antonio Animal Care Services by calling 311 or (210) 207-6000 to report the attack. The dog may need to be quarantined to check for rabies.
- Take care of your injuries. Follow your doctor’s treatment plan exactly. Take photographs as your injuries heal. Consider keeping an injury journal where you document how you feel each day.
- Seek help from a therapist. Dog attacks can cause post-traumatic stress disorder, a new phobia of dogs and other emotional harm. Get the help that you need to move forward from the incident.
- Obtain evidence of damages or losses. Keep copies of all hospital bills, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses and proof of your injuries to support your injury claim.
- File a claim against the pet owner (or another defendant). File your dog bite injury insurance claim as soon as possible to avoid missing any deadlines that apply to your case.
- Do not accept a fast insurance settlement. Do not sign a liability waiver from an insurance company before talking to a lawyer; the first settlement offer may be inadequate.
- Consult with a San Antonio dog bite injury lawyer. Contact an attorney for assistance filing an injury claim and negotiating fair financial compensation from a defendant.
You have rights as an injured victim who has been bitten by a dog in San Antonio. The best thing you can do in this frightening situation is to contact an attorney. You can trust your lawyer to help you rebuild your life as much as possible and hold someone accountable for the devastating dog attack.
How Long You Have to File a Dog Bite Injury Claim
In Texas, a law known as the statute of limitations gives injured accident victims no more than two years from the date of an accident to file a related personal injury claim. Under this law, you must take legal action for a dog bite injury within at least two years. Filing a claim as soon as possible, however, is the safest way to preserve your rights. This can help you avoid missing your deadline, which would effectively bar you from seeking financial compensation for a dog bite injury. Acting quickly can also mean greater evidence available to support your claim, before anything can get lost or destroyed.
Talk to our Experienced Dog Bite Lawyers Today
At the Law Offices of Maloney & Campolo, we have years of experience representing dog bite cases throughout Texas. Our dog bite lawyers in San Antonio will listen to your story, investigate the attack, collect information about the dog and its owner, and help you find the medical care in the area. We are here to help you. Let us represent your claim to maximize your odds of achieving a successful settlement or jury verdict. Contact our personal injury attorneys in San Antonio today. Call (210) 922-2200 or request your free consultation online.