If you suffer a dog bite injury in Texas, you must report it if you believe you could contract rabies, according to Texas Health and Safety Code §826.041. This could happen when you do not know the dog’s vaccination status or if a stray dog bit you.
Not only are you required to report some dog bites to the proper authorities but doing so could also protect your legal rights. If you decide to pursue compensation for your medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering due to your injuries, your report can be valuable evidence that helps you or a dog bite lawyer prove your case.
Why You Have to Report Your Dog Bite in Texas
Here are the reasons you must report your dog bite in Texas.
Protecting Public Health
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services (TxDSHS), all dog bites (and other animal bites) should be reported immediately due to public health threats. Without tracking bites, rabies can spread. Regardless of whether or not you know the animal’s vaccination status, you should always report what happened.
Once you report your injuries, the “Local Rabies Control Authority” or LRCA will deal with the animal. While high-risk, wild animals are often captured and euthanized, this is not commonly the case with dogs—so do not fail to report because you think you are protecting the dog. The LRCA may advise home confinement and quarantine for the animal, so there is no need to fear reporting.
Protecting Your Rights
In addition to protecting public health by reporting your dog bite, you also protect your rights when reporting the incident. By establishing a paper trail, you create evidence of the dog attack and your injuries. This can be useful if you later seek compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
A dog bite injury lawyer from our law firm can review your rights after a dog has bitten you. We can also explain what damages you could expect to recover through a successful personal injury claim or lawsuit against the parties responsible.
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What Is the ‘One Bite Rule’ and How Can It Affect Your Dog Bite Injury Case in Texas?
While no laws in Texas specifically address dog bite victims holding dog owners liable for their injuries, it is a “one bite rule” state, and injured parties can pursue damages. This means dog owners can be held legally responsible for any injuries and losses their animals inflict on others if they knew or should have known their animal would harm another, particularly if they know the dog has attacked someone before. Past behavior is an important indicator of an animal’s nature and temperament.
Each dog bite case is unique, so even if a dog has never attacked someone before, its owner could still be responsible for covering medical care, emotional injuries, and other losses from a dog bite attack. However, the injured party must prove the owner is strictly liable for their injuries if the dog has never bitten anyone or shown tendencies to be capable of doing so.
An Attorney Can Protect You If the Dog Owner Challenges Your Claim
A personal injury attorney can review a situation and sort out any unclear or challenging aspects of a case and how to hold a negligent party responsible. They can also set out to prove liability in case and counter any defenses a dog owner may use, such as:
- Saying they didn’t know their dog was capable of an attack or dangerous behavior or vicious propensities
- Claiming you did something to provoke the animal to attack you
- Alleging you were trespassing on their property, which led to an attack
Evidence in your case can help you prove fault and who should cover your expenses. An attorney can also prove negligence occurred if the owner had a duty of care to reasonably protect you from harm but didn’t, resulting in an incident that caused your damages and losses.
Pursuing Compensation After Reporting Your Dog Bite
Following a dog bite, you can pursue compensation for your injuries. This compensation can cover your economic losses and non-economic losses due to the dog bite.
Economic Damages in Dog Bite Cases
In dog bite cases, you could pursue economic damages through a personal injury claim or lawsuit. These recoverable damages should compensate you for the financial losses from your injuries. For example, medical bills and lost income fall under this category.
Medical bills include things like your:
- Doctors’ visits
- Hospital stays
- Specialists’ appointments
- Physical therapy
- Psychological services (for non-physical injuries stemming from the attack, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), emotional distress, anxiety disorders, depression, etc.)
- Prescription costs
- Future medical expenses if your bite resulted in an ongoing or chronic condition
Your lost income also falls under the economic damages category. They should compensate for the work you missed and any reduced earnings you experienced if your injuries required you to take on a lower-paying role. You can also recover damages for your lost earning potential if your injuries prevent you from working in the future.
Non-Economic Damages in Dog Bite Cases
Non-economic damages in dog bite cases refer to the other losses you have experienced that do not have their monetary value. This includes your physical pain, mental and emotional suffering, and the trauma caused by the attack.
When an animal attacks, it can be a jarring and scary moment. In many cases, the dog who bites is known to the victim, adding to the emotional difficulty of the incident. As such, the aftermath of your injuries may take a mental toll. Our team understands this and will advocate for your recovery of these non-financial losses alongside your financial ones.
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Call in the Strong Arm Attorneys Today for Your Dog Bite Case
Call in the Strong Arm of Loncar Lyon Jenkins today to learn more about whether you must report your dog bite in Texas and receive your free legal consultation. Your time to file suit against a negligent dog owner is limited—the sooner you call, the sooner our dog bite injury lawyer can get started on your case. Contact us now.