Dog bites can cause deep physical and psychological wounds. Tragically, young children are the most likely to suffer severe wounds from a dog.
When a dog bites you or your child and causes an injury, speak with a local injury attorney as soon as possible. A McAllen dog bite lawyer could talk with you about the circumstances of the event and determine whether you have a viable legal case.
Dog Bite Injuries Can Cause Lifelong Damage
The severity of a dog bite depends on several factors, including:
- The area of the body the dog bit
- The force of the bite
- Whether the dog held on or immediately released the victim
- The age of the victim, as children and the elderly are more likely to suffer severe injuries when bitten
However, even a brief nip can puncture a person’s skin and lead to swelling, bruising, and infection. When a dog intends to harm, it can break bones, bite off body parts like ears or fingers, and create deep, jagged wounds that often leave disfiguring scars.
The psychological trauma of a dog bite can be just as severe. A dog bite victim may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after an attack. Some people bitten as children never overcome their fear of dogs, which could have significant social consequences. A seasoned McAllen dog injury attorney would consider all the impacts of a bite when building a claim for damages.
The Law Governing Dog Bites
Many states have laws governing the liability of a dog owner for damage their pet inflicts—Texas does not. However, there have been court cases regarding dog owner liability. These establish that a dog owner is liable if they knew the dog had aggressive tendencies because it had attacked someone in the past.
Many people refer to this as the “one bite rule” because an owner must know the dog is aggressive before they are liable—the dog’s first bite is “free” to the owner. A diligent dog bite lawyer in McAllen could contact neighbors, the animal’s veterinarian, and others who have been around the dog to uncover evidence the dog had aggressive tendencies.
Even if the bite in question was truly the first instance of aggression, an owner might have been negligent in handling the dog. For example, McAllen Code of Ordinances § 14-8 bars animals from running at large. If a dog was loose and off its owner’s property, the owner’s violation could be proof of negligence that leads to liability.
Pursuing a Dog Bite Claim
A person who suffers harm in a dog attack should seek immediate medical attention. Even if the wound does not look serious, a healthcare professional should examine it to be sure. The medical record could be important evidence supporting a claim for damages.
When the victim knows the dog’s owner, they should request confirmation that the animal is up to date on its shots. If the dog was not current on its vaccinations, the victim should inform their medical professional of the potential exposure. When the victim does not know who owns the dog, they could speak to neighbors in the vicinity of the attack and make a report to animal control.
A victim may be reluctant to pursue a claim if a friend or family member owns the dog; however, working with a McAllen dog bite attorney does not mean hauling the dog’s owner into court. It means the legal professional will insist the dog owner’s insurance company compensate the injured victim fairly for their losses.
Contact a McAllen Dog Bite Attorney After an Attack
When a dog causes harm, the dog’s owner must be held responsible. A McAllen dog bite lawyer could take the necessary steps to fairly compensate you for your injuries.
Do not try to manage a dog bite claim without a legal professional’s help. Contact an experienced attorney today.