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Rights of Texas Dog Bite Victims and Legal Responsibility of Dog Owners

Jul 4, 2016 - Personal Injury by

Rights of Texas Dog Bite Victims and Legal Responsibility of Dog Owners While many states have strict liability laws for dog bite cases, Texas is not one of them. In fact, Texas does not have a dog bite statute — instead, the state relies on what is known as the “one bite rule,” which means that a dog bite victim can only recover compensation if the owner or keeper of a dog:

  • Has a dog that has bitten someone before or acted like it was going to bite someone; and
  • The owner/keeper was aware that the dog bit or tried to bite someone.

However, if a dog is known to be “vicious, dangerous or mischievous,” Texas courts will apply a strict liability rule and a dog bite victim will not have to prove that the owner knew the dog was a danger.

Dog bite victims in Texas may also be able to recover compensation by filing a “negligent handling” action. To prevail, it must be proven that:

  • The defendant owned or possessed the dog;
  • The defendant had a reasonable duty of care to prevent the dog from biting you;
  • The defendant breached that duty; and
  • The breach caused your injury.

Even though the state of Texas does not have a dog bite statute, there are many local animal control laws that, if violated, could allow a dog bite victim to recover compensation for a bite. For example, if you live in an area that requires all dogs to be leashed and you are bitten by an unleashed dog, you may be able to recover under what is known as the “negligence per se” doctrine. You just need to prove that there was a statute violation and that this violation caused your injuries.

The statute of limitations to file a dog bite lawsuit in Texas is two years from the date of the incident. After that, you are not entitled to any recovery.

The attorneys of Roberts & Roberts have the skill, experience and resources to fully investigate any serious accident or death.  If you have a question about an accident involving a serious injury or fatality, please call 800-248-6000 or contact us for a free consultation.

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