Dog Bites Attorney in Houston, Texas

I understand very well why dogs are considered man's best friend. They are a beloved member of many families all over Texas, including Houston, South Houston, Pasadena, and beyond. These loving animals provide us with endless laughter and love. However, as a dog bite lawyer, I know dogs have animal instincts that can sometimes cause them to lash out and bite others unexpectedly. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 4.7 million dog bites occur every year, with about one in five of them requiring medical attention. Some are hospitalized, while some need years of physical therapy. Many dog bite victims suffer emotional trauma that can last a lifetime, especially when the victim is a child.

If you or a loved one has been bitten by someone else’s dog, reach out to my Texas law firm — Jose Orihuela, Attorney at Law — so you can seek compensation for your injury.

The Texas One-Bite Rule

I have represented hundreds of dog bite victims throughout Houston and Harris County over the years. Under Texas law, a dog bite victim may receive compensation for negligence, which is defined as a lack of ordinary care that a responsible person would exercise under the same or similar circumstances. Put simply, if the dog's owner or handler failed to control the dog to the extent necessary, the dog bite victim may initiate a lawsuit to recover damages for negligent handling. 

The frequency and severity of dog bites in the state make Texas dog bite laws very important. Dog bites can occur at any time, and many, if not most, are preventable. That means the owner of the dog is often negligent. Under Texas dog bite law, the bite victim can be compensated for all of their injuries if the owner is proven negligent.

Is the Owner Responsible for My Injury?

If you have been bitten by someone's dog, I can tell you if you have grounds for a personal injury or premises liability lawsuit, and I can help you recover for your current and future medical expenses, your lost wages, and perhaps a lot more. My extensive experience as a Houston, Texas personal injury attorney will give you confidence that the responsible party will be held accountable.

Texas dog bite laws include a "one-bite rule." That means courts look at each dog individually and apply a "strict liability" standard to most cases. If a dog has been classified as "dangerous," which only takes one previous bite, the strict liability rule means the dog bite victim does not have to prove the dog's owner did not take reasonable care to restrain the dog; the bite victim need only prove the dog previously bit someone and that the owner knew about it. 

Negligent Handling 

A negligent handling action will come into play in a dog bite case in which the dog's owner creates an obvious dog bite risk, such as when they walk their dog off the leash, or they allow the dog to wander into a back yard where children are playing. To recover on a claim of negligent handling, the dog bite victim must prove the following elements:

  • The defendant owned or possessed the biting dog
  • The defendant was required to exercise reasonable care to prevent the dog from harming others
  • The defendant failed in their duty to meet that standard, resulting in negligence
  • The negligence directly caused the plaintiff's injury

One advantage of this type of claim over the "one bite rule" is that the dog bite victim doesn’t have to prove the dog’s owner knew about the canine’s dangerous tendencies before the attack. The Texas negligent handling rule applies to more than dog bites. It can apply to any injury caused by a dog. 

I Can Help You After a Dog Bite Injury in Houston

Texas law defines a dog as "dangerous" if they have done any of the following: 

  • Bitten or scratched someone on at least three separate occasions
  • Bitten or scratched someone and a physician presented an affidavit to the local health department stating that someone's life was endangered by the dog
  • Either killed or severely injured another pet or livestock at least once and a veterinarian presented an affidavit to the local health department that the injury risked the animal's life

In Harris County and beyond, there are several ways for a dog owner to become aware their animal is legally dangerous:

  • The dog's owner is aware their dog has previously bitten someone
  • The court gave notice to the dog's owner that the dog has been found dangerous
  • Animal control has notified the owner that their dog is considered dangerous 

Texas dog bite law may seem simple, but it is rarely as easy as it seems, especially since dog bite cases usually involve dealing with insurance companies. I’ve been handling dog bite cases for years and I can tell you that insurance adjusters are not interested in you; their primary concern is to pay out as little as possible. Without a qualified and experienced dog bite attorney working with you, they will undervalue your claim. 

Work With a Knowledgeable Attorney

Because of my wide range of knowledge within personal injury, I know exactly how to counter insurance company tactics and negotiate a fair level of compensation on your behalf. Only an experienced dog bite lawyer knows how to navigate through the often-complex legal system. 

That's why you should hire an experienced and knowledgeable dog bite lawyer at Jose Orihuela, Attorney at Law, as soon as possible after your dog bite. You have to act quickly because Texas law gives you only two years to file a claim and initiate a lawsuit. If you fail to meet that deadline called the statute of limitations, you will forfeit your right to compensation for your losses forever. 

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Effective Dog Bite Attorney in Houston

Contact my office in Houston, Texas today to schedule a free consultation for your dog bite case. Our first meeting will involve us getting to know each other, examining your case, and discussing options for moving forward. I have clients from all over South Houston, including Pasadena, Clear Lake, Friendswood, League City, Alvin, Dickinson, Bacliff, and everywhere in between.