Dogs and other animals are common to have as pets in the United States. Despite the happiness they can bring into a family, owners of animals must remember to care for them responsibly and carefully. There is no specific statute in Texas about damages an animal could cause if they were to bite someone. Despite this, Texas remains a negligence or “one bite” rule state. This means that the injured person in the case must prove that the animal has acted aggressively in the past, or the owner negligently failed to control the animal in the situation. Negligence is classified as the absence of ordinary care or care that a responsible individual would exercise. For example, if the owner allows the dog to roam around the area unsupervised, this is an indication of negligent behavior.
Past Aggressive Behavior in an Animal
The negligence rule does not only apply in the case that an animal bites an individual. This specific statute includes if an animal jumps onto someone and causes injury that way. If the dog jumps onto an individual and causes the person to hit their head on the pavement, it would be included in the negligence rule. The injured individual would claim damages against the animal’s owner, but must also show that the animal had a past of aggressive behavior. If the animal has bitten or injured someone before, they are labeled dangerous under Texas law. If this same animal were to harm another person, that individual would not have to prove negligence because it has been shown that the animal was known to be dangerous. Bites from a dog or other animal have the same statute of limitations as other personal injury cases, which is a limit of two years. The two years often start when the animal has just bitten someone.
Defenses for Dog Bites
If you are the owner of an animal that has bitten someone, there are typically two immediate defenses you can pursue. The first defense is lack of knowledge concerning the dogs dangerous behavior. The owner can show that they had no understanding or knowledge that the animal was dangerous. This indicates the owner did not act negligently because of the fact that they were unaware of the animal’s nature. The second defense in animal attack case would be trespassing. If the plaintiff was bitten while unlawfully trespassing on another individual’s property, the defendant may not be liable.
In conclusion, dogs and other animals are important parts of a family but can still harm others if not cared for correctly. Pet owners must be aware of their animal’s behaviors and actions in order to be a responsible owner. Contact a dog bite lawyer, like a dog bite lawyer in Arlington, TX, if you or someone you know has a pet who has bitten someone.
Thanks to Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC for their insight into dog bite injury lawsuits.