Houston Dog Bite Lawyer

Each year, hundreds of people suffer injuries due to dog bites and attacks, often arising from negligent owners and a failure to restrain dangerous animals. If you are the victim of a dog attack, you can suffer from painful wounds, psychological trauma, and financial hardship. 

In these situations, the Houston dog bite attorneys at AK Law Firm can help. We represent victims of Houston dog attacks in their lawsuits, advocating aggressively for full compensation from negligent and careless dog owners. Our attorneys are committed to our clients and will fight to secure the best possible settlement on your behalf. 

Houston dog bite attorney

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Why Choose Our Dog Bite Attorneys

  • At AK Law Firm, we will always put your needs first. Our injury attorneys in Houston have secured millions of dollars in settlements, arbitration, and jury verdicts for our clients.
  • We believe in honest, transparent communication. You will always have a direct line to your attorney, and we will respond to all correspondence within 24 hours. 
  • Our firm takes all cases on a contingency fee basis. You will not pay legal fees unless we recover compensation on your behalf.

Dog Bite Statistics

Dogs are a very popular pet, especially in Texas. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), 38.4% of American households owned a dog in 2017. These animals can provide companionship and security—but dogs can also be very dangerous. 

Dog attacks are common in the United States. According to research from the National Canine Research Council, approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur each year, with less than 1 out of every 200,000 cases resulting in a fatality. While the majority of these attacks do not cause injury or only result in a minor injury, statistics from the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh state that 800,000 of annual dog bite injuries are severe enough to require medical attention. Out of those injuries, 334,000 dog bite cases require hospitalization. 

Children are more susceptible to dog bite injuries than adults. Approximately 50% of all dog bite victims are children, and 26% of child bite victims require hospitalization. In comparison, only 10% of adult dog bite victims require hospitalization.

The scope of dog attacks is startling. Additional statistics from the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh include the following.

  • Approximately 2,400 dog attacks occur every day in the United States, or one dog attack every 36 seconds.
  • For children, injuries from a dog are more common than injuries from bike accidents, playground injuries, and skateboards.
  • Treatment for dog bite injuries costs more than $1 billion per year.
  • The highest percent of injuries affect children between the ages of five to nine, and the most common injuries affect the head, neck, and face. 

Types of Dog Bite Injuries

Although fatalities are relatively rare, dog bite injuries can be painful and may result in serious complications. Dogs have sharp teeth that can puncture the skin, leading to deep cuts that may require stitches or reconstructive surgery. Since most dog bite injuries impact the head, neck, and face, it is possible that you can suffer permanent damage or scarring due to the attack.

Common types of dog bite injuries include the following.

  • Abrasions 
  • Broken bones
  • Cuts and lacerations
  • Broken and damaged blood vessels
  • Permanent nerve or muscle damage
  • Disfigurement
  • Physical impairment
  • Crushing injuries

Even if you do not believe your dog bite wound is serious, you should always go to the hospital after a dog attack. Without immediate treatment, bacteria from the dog’s saliva can enter your open wound bites and cause an infection. If the dog has a disease, such as rabies, you can develop a serious, potentially life-threatening condition. 

There are several strains of bacteria in a dog’s saliva that can cause illness in humans, including the following. 

  • Tetanus: This infection occurs when bacteria called Clostridium tetani passes into your bloodstream. Tetanus is a painful, sometimes life-threatening condition that causes serious muscle contractions and may interfere with your ability to breathe. While relatively rare in dogs, it is possible to contract tetanus from a dog bite.
  • Rabies: In humans and dogs, rabies is fatal. A bite from an infected dog can transmit the rabies virus into your body, leading to severe brain inflammation, symptoms such as fever or paralysis, and eventual death. 
  • MRSA: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a particularly treatment-resistant infection that can affect different parts of the body. While mild MRSA cases only affect the surface of the skin, this infection can become serious if it enters your bloodstream through a dog bite.
  • Capnocytophaga: These bacteria live in dogs’ mouths naturally. When Capnocytophaga enters the body through a bite, you can develop an infection. Symptoms of Capnocytophaga infection include fever, vomiting, stomach and muscle pain, and draining pus, swelling, or blistering around the bite wound.
  • Pasteurella: These bacteria are common in dog saliva and, like capnocytophaga, can cause infection in humans. One study found that Pasteurella was present in 50% of infected dog bite wounds. Symptoms of Pasteurella infections include pain and redness and may lead to complications for immunocompromised people.

Who is At-Fault for a Dog Bite?

Unlike most states, Texas does not have a statute that explains civil liability for dog owners in case their animals injure another person. However, the 1974 Texas Supreme Court Case Marshall v. Ranne established that the state will follow the one bite rule when it comes to dog-related personal injury lawsuits.

The one bite rule states that a dog’s first attack is essentially a free pass, and the owner cannot face liability. After this first bite or aggressive act occurs, however, the owner is liable for any attacks that happen in the future. He or she will have a responsibility to take reasonable measures to prevent the dog from injuring someone again.

In order to secure compensation from the owner of the dog that attacked you, you will need to prove that a previous bite or aggressive behavior occurred in the past. You will need to prove at least one of the following facts to collect damages in your claim.

  • The dog’s owner knew that the animal had a history of aggressive behavior or had bitten someone in the past.
  • The dog’s owner failed to use reasonable care to control or prevent the dog from attacking you. As a result, you suffered injuries. 

A dog owner may attempt to defend himself or herself by claiming that he or she did not have knowledge of the dog’s behavior. He or she may also claim that you were trespassing on his or her property at the time of the attack, making you ineligible for compensation. It is necessary to collect enough evidence after the attack to defend yourself against these accusations and prove the owner’s responsibility.

Your Houston dog attack attorney from AK Law Firm can launch a comprehensive investigation into your case to determine if the owner is liable for your injuries and discover the dog’s past history. Your lawyer will gather significant pieces of evidence, such as police reports, medical records, witness testimony, and surveillance footage, to craft a compelling case for your compensation. 

Banned Breeds in Texas

According to a recent study from researchers at Ohio State University, certain breeds are responsible for the majority of dog bite cases. Pit bulls, German shepherds, terriers, and rottweilers cause a significant percentage of dog bites in the United States. In contrast, the dog breeds responsible for the least number of attacks include dalmatians, pointers, Great Danes, Pekingese, and spitzes. Mixed breed dogs and dogs of an unknown breed are also among the top perpetrators of these attacks.

Many municipal and county governments across the country have adopted breed-specific legislation imposing restrictions or banning certain types of dogs. Houston has not banned any dog breeds, but some Texas towns have implemented laws against certain breeds.

There are very few Texas cities with banned breeds, and for good reason. In 2006, Texas banned municipalities from implementing new breed-specific legislation targeting dogs like pit bulls. Texas cities have the right to declare certain breeds as dangerous but cannot outlaw residents from owning them. Cities may also implement laws for registration, restraints and enclosures, and liability insurance for dangerous dog owners.

Dog barking aggressively

Statute of Limitations for Dog Bites in Texas

Every state has a law known as the statute of limitations in place for civil lawsuits, which sets a filing deadline. The statute of limitations is important for several reasons; the deadline protects defendants from years-long threats of liability, and ensures plaintiffs file their lawsuits when evidence and witnesses are still fresh, reliable, and available.

In Texas, you have two years from the date of the dog attack to file your personal injury lawsuit in civil court. If you file after the deadline passes, the court will almost certainly dismiss your claim. 

There are two exceptions to the two-year rule.

  • If you were a child under the age of 18 or had a legal disability at the time of the attack, the statute of limitations clock will not begin until the period of disability ends, or you turn 18.
  • If the negligent owner leaves Texas after the attack and before you can file your claim, the court will not count the absence toward the two-year statute of limitations.

Time is an extremely important factor in Texas dog bite lawsuits. As soon as possible following the attack, contact a Houston dog bite lawyer to discuss your case. Your lawyer can help you identify your filing deadline and take the first steps toward filing your claim.

What to do After a Dog Bite

The moments after a dog bite can be frightening, and it can be difficult to know what to do next. After the attack, your top priority should be your health and safety. Get to a safe location and call 911. This will bring a police officer to the scene who can create a report to document the attack, providing valuable evidence for your case.

You should also receive first aid for the bite as soon as possible. While you should always go to the hospital for treatment, you are at risk of a serious infection if the wound is not clean. As soon as possible following the bite, take the following steps to clean and dress your wound.

  • Wash the wound with mild soap and warm water for at least five minutes.
  • If there is any bleeding, press a clean cloth to the wound to stop it.
  • If you have an antibiotic cream, apply it to the wound.
  • Use a sterile bandage to wrap the wound.
  • Go to the doctor immediately to examine the wound. Follow your doctor’s instructions for treatment and aftercare.

If you want to file a lawsuit against the owner, you should also collect and document as much evidence as possible for your case. This evidence is freshest immediately after the attack, so take the following steps if it is safe to do so.

  • Take photographs of your wounds, preferably before and after you clean them. 
  • Photograph the area around the attack from as many angles as possible. 
  • Identify the owner of the dog so you can verify the animal’s history. Exchange contact information with the owner.
  • If there are any witnesses in the area, ask them for their contact information to use in your future case.
  • Seek medical attention immediately and save all records related to your injuries.
  • Contact a dog bite lawyer at AK Law Firm. Do not speak to an insurance adjuster or the dog’s owner before speaking with your lawyer.

Contact a Houston Dog Bite Attorney

If you are the victim of a Houston dog attack, you may be eligible to collect compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, and other damages related to your injuries. In these situations, you need someone who can advocate for your best interests—and the Houston dog attack lawyers at AK Law Firm can help.

At AK Law Firm, we provide aggressive, compassionate, and committed representation to each of our clients. We can assist your dog bite lawsuit in several ways, including the following:

  • Completing and filing court paperwork
  • Gathering evidence to support your claim and right to damages
  • Communicating with the at-fault dog owner and his or her legal counsel
  • Representing your interests in settlement or insurance negotiations
  • Contacting expert witnesses who can provide testimony in your case
  • Crafting compelling arguments to use in the courtroom
  • Evaluating your case and establishing an estimated settlement value
  • Strategizing your optimal pathway to maximum compensation

Contact AK Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation with our Houston dog bite attorneys. At your appointment, your dog bite lawyer will ask you questions about your case and evaluate your legal options in Texas.