Severe dog bites and dog attack injuries in Dallas, Texas, lead to major injuries, primarily to children caught around a dangerous dog. Dallas dog owners must follow city and state ordinances regarding dangerous and even ordinary dogs. If you have been mauled in a severe dog attack injury, you might be entitled to compensation from the owner. The Dallas dog bite lawyers of The Benton Law Firm have years of experience handling cases like this and can help you hold the dog owner accountable for their careless actions.
Why Should I Choose a Dallas Dog Bite Lawyer from The Benton Law Firm?
At The Benton Law Firm, our team our team of dog bite lawyers in Dallas strive to help community members get back on their feet in times of need by securing the compensation they need to heal. Our attorneys balance being open and honest with our clients to ensure they are not overwhelmed while recovering from trauma and injuries. Our firm offers compassionate, dependable, and informed representation with attorneys who have ample experience in the courtroom and at the negotiating table. Call us today if you are the victim of a severe dog bite.
Serious dog bites can cause muscle/flesh to get ripped open, ripping calf muscles, and permanent scarring. Few people want to believe that the pets we encounter daily are capable of intense violence, and nobody wants to bring legal action against our neighbors or acquaintances. Our attorneys understand the precariousness and trauma associated with these cases. Our ultimate concern is offering the best representation to help you recover painlessly.
Steps You Should Follow After A Serious Dog Bite
If you get attacked by a dog, whether a stray or owned by someone, you should immediately follow the steps below. You must obtain specific information and do what’s necessary to protect your rights to compensation.
- Secure the dog so it can’t run away. If it is a stray, call the police or animal control.
- Notify the dog owner of what happened and ask for their name and phone number. If you suffered injuries on commercial property, complete an incident report with the manager and ask for their liability insurance details.
- Wash your wound to prevent an infection.
- If anyone was around when the dog attacked you, write down their names and phone numbers. They might be able to provide witness statements to the insurance company to confirm what happened.
- Seek immediate treatment at a hospital or other medical facility. Dog bites can lead to serious infections, and if you don’t tend to them promptly, the results can be fatal.
- Maintain copies of everything associated with the case, including medical records, bills, and other documents.
- Hire a Dallas dog bite attorney to assist you with your case.
How Can a Dallas Dog Bite Lawyer Help with the Investigation?
The Benton Law Firm will begin investigating as soon as you retain our services. We will need to obtain evidence that proves you sustained injuries, and that someone else was responsible for it. Some of the evidence we might collect includes:
- Eyewitness statements
- Video surveillance footage
- Insurance policy documents
- Photos from the scene of the incident
- The estimated cost of damage to your personal property during the attack
- Your medical records and medical bills
- Evidence of prior documented attacks or bites from the dog
There are various laws in Dallas that dog owners must follow when they bring their dogs out in public. It is illegal to allow a dog to attack someone without provocation. The owner could face civil and criminal penalties if they didn’t properly secure their pet.
How Much Compensation Could I Receive?
The amount of compensation you receive could depend on multiple factors, including:
- The type and severity of the attack or other injuries
- Availability of relevant evidence proving fault
- The duration of necessary medical treatment
- The length of the recovery period
- Any emotional or mental trauma experienced after the attack
- The total medical expenses resulting from the injuries
- Any time missed from work due to pain, doctor’s appointments, and other reasons
- The impact of the incident on your quality of life
- The estimated cost of future medical bills
The Benton Law Firm will review the details of your case to determine how much compensation we believe is fair and will adequately cover your damages. “Damages” refer to the total expenses and losses suffered from an injury. You could pursue the damages below in an insurance claim or lawsuit:
- Pain and suffering
- Medical billsisfigurement
- Loss of consortium
- Physical impairment
- Mental anguish
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
You could also potentially seek punitive damages if you file a lawsuit. Punitive damages don’t compensate for your losses like the damages above. Instead, a punitive damage award punishes the responsible party for the careless actions that led to a victim’s injuries. A jury will award punitive damages to you if you can prove with clear and convincing evidence that the dog owner or another liable party acted with gross negligence, fraud, or malice.
Common Injuries Associated with Dog Bites and Dog Attacks
You might not realize how much damage a dog can do when it bites someone. They have strong jaws and sharp teeth that can tear through a person’s skin, tissue, nerves, and muscle. Some can even crush bones.
The most common injuries serious dog bites can cause include:
- Muscle/flesh getting ripped open
- Nerve damage
- Broken bones
- Finger amputations
- Facial lacerations
- Eye injuries
- Head and neck injuries
- Psychological injuries, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Some people need limb amputation due to severe damage or an incurable infection. Others require painful treatment to recover. Physical scars, functional limitations, and even emotional trauma can last long after the attack. The Benton Law Firm will fight hard to ensure you receive the compensation you need to cover your damages so you can heal and move forward with your life.
How Much Does A Dallas Dog Bite Lawyer Cost?
Our Dallas dog bite attorneys take cases on contingency. That means we don’t charge upfront fees or costs when clients hire us. We will attempt to recover the monetary award you deserve and won’t collect any legal fees until that happens. If we cannot win your case, you won’t have to pay us for our time and effort.
Dog Bite Laws In Texas
Prior to 2007, Texas law essentially allowed a dog to get “one free bite.” This meant that the owner of a dog who bit a person one time would not face any liability from the bite. However, this law was changed in 2007 after a pack of loose dogs killed 76-year-old Lillian Stiles.
The Texas Families Against Dangerous Dogs group worked hard to pass “Lillian’s Law” in 2007. It states that the owner of a dog who causes someone injury or death may be found criminally negligent in failing to prevent the dog from escaping or to properly restrain the dog if it’s known to be dangerous. The owner of the dog may face jail time.
If the person is injured in the attack but does not require medical attention, the owner may be charged with a misdemeanor. If the dog bite severely injures someone, the owner may be charged with a third-degree felony and could serve up to a 10-year prison sentence. If a person is killed in a dog attack, the owner may be charged with a second-degree felony and face up to 20 years in prison.
Under the Texas code, prosecutors must prove that the injuries caused by the attack are fatal or have caused severe impairment, and they must also prove that the owner was criminally negligent in not properly securing the animal.
While the Texas criminal laws regarding dog bites are now quite extensive to hold the dog owner negligent, they do not provide for compensation to the victim or the victim’s family.
Bringing a claim in civil court can lead to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, or pain and suffering. Additionally, Dallas follows a leash law, meaning that owners must restrain their dog at all times when in public or when the dog is left outside on their property.
Filing A Dog Attack Lawsuit in Texas
If you want to file a lawsuit, you should hire The Benton Law Firm immediately. These lawsuits are complicated, especially if you’ve never sued anyone. There’s also a strict deadline you must comply with, or you could lose your right to compensation. The statute of limitations in Texas is two years. That means you have to file suit two years from the date you sustained your injury.
Your Dallas dog bite lawyer will complete each step of the lengthy process so you can focus on your recovery. The steps involved in a lawsuit are:
- Filing legal documents and serving them to the defendant.
- Once the defendant responds to our initial filing, we will begin the discovery process, which involves obtaining documents and other evidence collected by the defense team.
- Scheduling a mediation in an attempt to settle with the other party. We will prepare for a trial if we can’t reach a settlement agreement.
- Preparing for trial involves gathering additional evidence to present in court, locating eyewitnesses to the attack who can testify, and preparing an argument that proves our claim that you deserve compensation for your suffering.
Insurance Claims Process Following A Dog Attack
Insurance claims can take anywhere from a few weeks to over a year. It all depends on the factors associated with the case, such as whether there’s sufficient evidence proving fault and how severe the injury is.
The steps we follow in an insurance claim are these:
- Determine who should be held liable and request a copy of their insurance policy.
- File a claim.
- Gather crucial evidence and submit it to the insurance company.
- Negotiate with the insurance adjuster for a settlement we believe is fair. If they agree, we will ensure they send the check promptly.
- If the insurance company won’t provide an adequate settlement offer or denies the claim altogether, we will proceed with a lawsuit.
Dallas Dog Attack Statistics
When it comes to dog bites, certain breeds have a tendency to be more aggressive or temperamental, quickly becoming dangerous to those nearby. Dog bites are painful, traumatizing, and can require medical attention.
So what are the real differences between Golden Retrievers, who are said to be good with children, and Pit bulls, who are sometimes kept as guard dogs? How often does each breed bite? While it’s difficult to reliably count the exact numbers of bites, and many people get bitten by unidentified or mixed-breed dogs, there are still some general trends:
- Non-fatal dog bites account for 1.1 percent of emergency department (ED) injury visits in the US, an average of 337,103 ED visits per year.
- The average age of dog bite victims is 28.9 years. 52.6 percent of dog bite victims are male, and 47.4 percent are female.
- Most bites occur on the upper extremities (47.3 percent), head and neck (26.8 percent), lower extremities (21.5 percent), and trunk (4.4 percent).
- Younger patients tend to have more head and neck bites, while older patients usually suffer more upper extremity bites.
- More bites occur in summer and on weekends (80.2 percent at home), and 98.8 percent of dog bite injuries are unintentional.
- The annual incidence rate of dog bite injuries is 1.1 per 1,000 people, slightly higher among males (1.18) than females (1.02).
- The estimated annual cost of dog bite injuries is at least $400 million.
- Among all dog bite incidents, 49.39 percent involve intact male dogs, 21.8 percent intact females, 19.55 percent neutered males, and 9.26 percent spayed females.
- Puncture wounds are the most common nonfatal dog bite injury across all breeds.
Now, let’s examine how things break down by breed. In a three-year study period:
- Contributed to 1,500 to 1,750 bite injuries nationwide in three years.
- Have the greatest frequency of causing severe bite injuries (49.57 percent).
- The odds of a severe injury from a Pit Bull are 213 percent higher than most other dog breeds.
- Pit Bulls bite multiple body parts more often than other breeds.
- Pit Bulls have the greatest percentage of maulings and severe injuries compared to other breeds.
- Contributed to 750 to 1,000 bite injuries nationwide in three years.
- Have the second-highest rate of severe bite injuries after Pit Bulls (12.92 percent).
- Bite the legs and hands more frequently than other body parts.
- Contributed to 500 to 750 bite injuries nationwide in a three-year period.
- Have the third-highest frequency of causing severe injuries after Pit Bulls and Labrador Retrievers (7.69 percent).
- Bite the torso more often than other body parts.
- Contributed to 250 to 500 bite injuries nationwide in a three-year period.
- Tend to bite the hands and legs more often, and less on the arms than other breeds.
- Caused no reported maulings or severe injuries during the three-year study period.
Frequently Asked Questions About Dallas Dog Attacks
Dog owners are legally responsible for controlling their dogs. This means that owners must follow the leash laws and any other laws regarding dogs in the state they live or are visiting. In terms of dog attacks, Texas is unlike many states in that it does not have a statute that covers a dog owner’s civil liability for damages caused by their pet attacking another person.
Instead, the Texas Supreme Court ruled in 1974 that the state would follow Section 509 in the Restatement of Torts. By adhering to this rule, Texas is considered a “negligence” or “one bite rule” state. In a typical dog bite claim in Texas, the injured party must prove that the dog owner knew that their pet was aggressive or dangerous and that the owner failed to reasonably control the dog or prevent the attack.
If a serious dog bite has injured you or your family member, a few damages may be recoverable in a lawsuit. The damage most likely to be calculated into compensation is any medical expense. This can include surgery costs, hospital stays, ambulance transportation, and any other expense related to your medical care. You may also receive compensation for lost wages if your injuries force you to take time off work. Lastly, you may be compensated for your pain and suffering.
Once you have had your injuries examined by a medical professional, it is essential to seek legal help. As soon as possible, find a knowledgeable lawyer with experience with dog bite cases. Your lawyer will be able to evaluate the incident and provide you with all your legal options. An experienced dog bite lawyer will be valuable in your fight for financial compensation.
Contact an Experienced Dallas Dog Bite Lawyer from The Benton Law Firm
At The Benton Law Firm, we believe everyone deserves quality legal representation and the opportunity to hold negligent dog owners accountable for their actions. We will advocate for your rights and fight hard for your deserved compensation. You should not have to suffer for someone else’s carelessness.
Serious dog bites can lead to severe injuries and even death. When you are forced to face the aftermath of an attack, it can be overwhelming. You are in pain, attending doctor’s appointments, and watching the expensive medical bills pile up. It causes great stress, and we want to ensure you don’t have to deal with this alone. We will remain by your side every step of the way and help you get through it.
You can depend on our dog bite lawyers in Dallas to provide the guidance, support, and advice you need during this devastating time. If you suffered injuries from a dog attack and need help with your legal case, call The Benton Law Firm today at (214) 777-7777 for a free consultation.