On March 12, 2019 personal injury lawyers at Morrow & Sheppard law firm recently filed lawsuit for a severe dog bite injury that occurred in Houston area. As the petition filed states on or about February 18, 2019 plaintiff was seriously injured while walking at Lake Crest Townhomes when a pit bull attacked and mauled plaintiff. The attack was so severe plaintiff had to be hospitalized and required surgery.
Defendants were specifically warned that the pit bull was a danger, yet Defendants failed to remove or protect against the pit bull. Defendants had actual subjective awareness of the risk involved but proceeded anyway with conscious indifference to the rights, safety, and welfare of others. Defendants actions were done with a reckless disregard to a substantial risk of severe bodily injury. Plaintiff seeks a jury trial, damages of more than $1 million, attorney fees and court cost. Harris County District Court case number 2019-17711.
Animal Attacks by Pitbulls are the Most Common
Although many of us are dog owners and love our animals we all have a responsibility to keep others from being attacked or harmed. According to Forbes, the pit bull is still responsible for the most fatal animal attacks in the U.S. by far. Pit bulls are one of the most dangerous breeds in the United States and as stated by dogbite.org by 2021, pit bulls are projected to maul 441 Americans to death since 1998, the year the Centers for Disease Control stopped collecting data after fatal attacks on humans, and over 515 Americans killed since 1980.
Over the years the number of animal attacks by dangerous dogs has increased and caused many to have life-long catastrophic injuries or lose their loved ones.
What to Do After a Dog Bite
The most important thing to do after getting bitten by a dog is to seek immediate medical attention. According to dogbites.org approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur each year in the United States and nearly 1 out of 5 bites become infected. Getting treatment and/or rabies vaccination after a bite can be crucial to your health and recovery.
After seeking medical attention, you should find legal help to discuss the potential of filing a lawsuit with a dog bite lawyer. In Texas, the statute of limitations for a personal injury case give you only two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit. If you are attacked time is of the essence. It is important you seek legal help in order to preserve any and all evidence of the incident that occurred.
Who is Liable for an Dog Bite Injury?
Texas allows a dog bite victim to recover compensation if the at fault party was negligent. Negligence means the failure to exercise the degree of care expected of a person of ordinary prudence in like circumstances. See Marshall v. Ranne, 511 S.W.2d 255, 259 (Tex.1974). In the Marshall case, the court stated that an owner of a non-vicious animal can be “subject to liability for his negligent handling of such an animal.” To recover on a negligent handling claim, a plaintiff must prove: (1) the defendant owned or possessed an animal; (2) the defendant owed a duty to exercise reasonable care to prevent the animal from injuring others; (3) the defendant breached that duty; and (4) the defendant’s breach proximately caused plaintiff’s injury. Allen ex rel. B.A. v. Albin, 97 S.W.3d 655, 660 (Tex.App.-Waco 2002, no pet.).
A landlord or landowner in this Texas can be liable for failing to rid premises of a known dangerous dog. In Baker v. Pennoak Properties, Ltd., 874 S.W.2d 274, 277 (Tex. Ct. App. 1994) the Court of Appeals of Texas noted that “a lessor retaining control over premises used in common by different occupants of his property has a duty to exercise reasonable care to keep those common areas reasonably safe for the use of tenants and their guests.” 874 S.W.2d at 275. This duty includes “protecting tenants from known vicious dogs.” 874 S.W.2d at 277. In order to be held liable “(1) the injury must have occurred in a common area under the control of the landlord; and (2) the landlord must have had actual or imputed knowledge of the particular dog’s vicious propensities.” Id.
The one bite rule states that an owner, harborer or keeper of any domestic will be held legally liable for damages caused by the animal if it is shown that (1) the animal had a propensity to do something harmful which was unusual for the animal’s class, (2) the owner, harborer or keeper of the animal was aware of this propensity or dangerous propensity prior to the incident in question, and (3) the animal’s propensity to act harmfully caused damages to a person or property in the incident in question.
There are several ways to establish liability in a dog bite case which is why it is important to meet with a top-rated personal injury law firm. If you have been injured due to the negligence of another person, we know that you have many important questions and concerns. We are here to give you the guidance and information you need to make the right choices for you and your family. Our role as your personal injury lawyer is to aggressively advocate for your interests so that you can receive maximum financial relief. Recovery can be a long and emotional process, and we are prepared to fight for the support you need to cope with your injuries and move forward with your life.
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Morrow and Sheppard can help represent you if you have been a victim of a severe dog attack, contact us for a free consultation today. Our personal injury attorneys regularly handle cases involving catastrophic injuries. They are licensed in Texas and Louisiana and have been admitted on a temporary basis to handle cases all around the country. At Morrow & Sheppard LLP, we understand the hardships injured workers or victims and their loved one’s face as they try to heal and make sense of their accident.