Dallas Dog Bite Lawyer
Wrongful death. In some cases, a dog attack or bite can result in wrongful death. When specific injuries, such as those to vital areas, occur, they can be severe or fatal.Disfigurement. Infections can be serious with dog bites. Dog bites frequently become infected and can result in permanent disfigurement. They can also cause severe emotional trauma, such as a lifelong fear of dogs.Lost earning capacity. A dog’s owner’s negligence can result in serious injury. The owner could be held liable for damages, including compensation for medical bills, lost income, and other losses. The legal damages available in a dog bite lawsuit are intended to compensate you for your injuries and other losses. The costs of medical bills alone are often enough to take victims by surprise.Medical bills. Medical bills for treatment, medication, surgery, and therapy are frequently the majority of what is sought after a dog attack and bites. Many of these financial obligations are covered when seeking initial treatment, but some cover the additional care required after the initial damage has been repaired.Pain and suffering and Mental anguish. When dogs attack a person, it causes a great deal of pain. These occurrences may cause emotional or mental distress, which may require years of therapy to resolve. Pain and physical suffering may also persist after medical treatment has ended, necessitating medication. If the victim is a child, the trauma they experience may last the rest of their lives.
1) NEGLIGENT HANDLING OF ANIMALS.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 plaintiffs injury. Thompson v. Curtis, 127 S.W.3d 446, 451 (Tex.App.—Dallas 2004, no pet.).Unlike strict liability claims, to prevail in a negligence action the plaintiff does not have to prove that the animal was vicious or dangerous. Dunnings v. Castro, 881 S.W.2d 559, 562-63 (Tex.App.-Houston [1st Dist] 1994, writ dism’d). The Restatement (Second) of Torts states:
A person injured by a dog bite may sue the owner in strict liability or negligence. An owner of a vicious animal may be strictly liable for damages while an owner of a non-vicious dog may be liable for negligent handling. Bushnell v. Mott, 254 S.W.3d 451, 452 (Tex. 2008). The possessor or harborer of a dog is privileged to allow it to run at large and therefore is not required to exercise care to keep it under constant control, he is liable if he sees his dog or cat about to attack a human being . . . and does not exercise reasonable care to prevent it from doing so.A dog owner may be liable for injuries caused by the dog even if the animal is not vicious, so long as the plaintiff can prove the owner’s negligent handling or keeping of the animal caused the injury. Dunnings, 881 S.W.2d at 562-63.The Texas Supreme Court recognized a duty owed by the owner or possessor of a non-vicious animal to exercise reasonable care to prevent the animal from injuring others. Marshall, 511 S.W.2d at 258, citing Restatement (Second) of Torts § 518 (1938); Allen, 97 S.W.3d at 660. Whether a duty exists depends on some degree of proof that the risk of injury from a dog bite is foreseeable, or stated differently, whether the owner had actual or constructive knowledge of the danger presented by the dog. Dunnings, 881 S.W.2d at 563-64. Foreseeability is satisfied by showing a person of ordinary intelligence should have anticipated the danger to others by the actor’s negligent behavior. Searcy v. Broum, 607 S.W.2d 937, 942 (Tex.Civ.App. 1980).To establish that the defendant owed a duty to exercise reasonable care, the owner or possessor of the animal must be aware of circumstances that could cause an otherwise gentle animal to attack other animals or people. Labaj v. VanHouten, 322 S.W.3d 416, 421 (Tex.App.—Amarillo, 2010, pet. denied). In City of Houston v. Jenkins, 363 S.W.3d 808, 816 (Tex.App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2012) the training and history of a police dog biting humans proved that the defendant was aware of the dog’s danger.
2) STRICT LIABILITY – DANGEROUS DOMESTICATED ANIMALS.Injuries caused by dangerous domesticated animals. In circumstances when the dog is known to be violent, dangerous, or destructive, and the bite was caused by the dog’s known nature, Texas courts may use a strict liability rule.To prove a case against someone for having a dangerous domesticated animal, a plaintiff must show that: 1) the defendant owned or possessed the animal; 2) the animal had dangerous propensities abnormal to its class; 3) the defendant knew or should have known the animal had dangerous propensities, and 4) the animal’s dangerous propensities caused the plaintiff’s injuries. Allen v. Albin, 97 S.W.3d 655, 660 (Tex.App.—Waco 2002, no pet.).Under this doctrine, if any of these elements are not met, the sufferer will not be able to recover. Marshall v. Ranne, 511 SW 2d 255 (Tex: Supreme Court 1974).If a dog has previously bitten someone, it may be labeled as a dangerous dog, regardless of whether the bite resulted in serious injury. In this case, strict responsibility means that if a dangerous dog causes an injury, the victim does not have to show that the dog’s owner failed to restrain the dog with reasonable care.To establish that an animal is dangerous, a plaintiff must demonstrate that the animal’s vicious or aggressive tendencies were not normal for that species of animal. Marshall v. Ranne, 511 S.W.2d 255, 258 (Tex.1974). This is determined by the facts. In one case, testimony that a dog was ferocious, occasionally knocked people down, and disliked children were sufficient to avoid summary judgment. A pit bull should be judged against other dogs, not just other pit bulls. Dunnings v. Castro, 881 S.W.2d 559, 561 (Tex.App.__Houston [1st Dist.] 1994, writ denied).
MUNICIPAL CODES IN THE DFW AREA REGARDING LEASH LAWS3) NEGLIGENCE PER SE – IN DOG BITE CASES, CODES, AND ORDINANCES.In addition to the owner’s “negligence” in allowing his dog to run loose or allowing the dog to attack you, there are frequently city codes and ordinances that address dog attack cases. There are leash laws, laws requiring dog enclosures, and laws requiring dangerous dogs to be kept in a specific manner – or removed from city limits in some places. People don’t always follow the law, so you’ll need to look into the dog-related codes and ordinances in your municipality to see if one of these codes or ordinances was broken. Proof of an ordinance violation can sometimes overcome a defense used by an insurance company to avoid paying your case.In Texas, whether or not the violator owns the dog, a breach of an animal control law might result in liability. Laws requiring dogs to be on a leash or forbidding them from running loose or trespassing are common in states, counties, and towns. Courts have mostly held that breaking such regulations can result in liability. The violation is considered negligence per se in Texas. The petitioner must establish that there was a breach of a statute or ordinance. Moughon v. Wolf, 576 S.W.2d 603, 603 (Tex. 1978).The plaintiff must demonstrate that the violation caused their damage. Searcy v. Brown, 607 SW 2d 937 (Tex: Court of Civil Appeals, 1980).
The following are the local city codes and ordinances on leash laws in the Dallas and Fort Worth area.
Defines an animal “at large” as: “At large” shall mean:
2. Off Premises of Owner – Any animal which is not physically and continually restrained by some person by means of a leash or chain of proper strength and length that precludes the animal from making any unsolicited contact with any person, their clothing, their property and/or their premises.
Section 4.11 Animal At LargeA. A person commits an offense if he fails to keep an animal he owns from being at large.
Sec. 91.003. – Definitions.At large. . . . an animal shall not be considered “at large” when held and controlled by a person by means of a leash or chain, of proper strength and length to control the action of the dog . . .Public nuisance. (A) Any animal which:
(4) Is at large.
Dallas City Code. SEC. 7-3.1. LOOSE ANIMALS.
(a) An owner commits an offense if the owner fails to restrain the animal, at all times:Denton, Texas – Municipal Code(4) by a tethering device, but only if the animal is in the owner’s immediate possession and accompanied by the animal’s owner, and, if the animal is a dog, the owner complies with the requirements in Section 7-4.7 of this chapter.Defines “at large” as: At large or running at large means an animal not kept within an enclosure or fenced area or restrained by a leash of sufficient strength and length to control the actions of said animal.
Sec. 6-8. – Restraining animals and tethering animals.(b) It shall be unlawful for any person who is in control, custody, or caring for any animal to permit the animal to run at large in the city or to trespass upon the premises of any other person.
§ 6-2 PURPOSE AND SCOPE.(a) It is the purpose of this chapter:(5) To protect the public health, safety and welfare of the city.§ 6-13 RESTRAINT OF ANIMALS.(a) It shall be unlawful for an owner of an animal to fail or refuse:(1) To keep an animal under restraint; and
Sec. 14-3 DefinitionsAnimal nuisance: Any animal which physically molests passersby or passing vehicles; attacks other animals or persons, trespasses on school grounds; roams at large; damages public or private property . . .At large: . . . an animal that is not under the physical restraint of the owner or custodian or any other person authorized by the owner to care for the animal by leash, cord, chain, or rope.Sec. 14-8 Animals at large(a) Prohibition. It shall be unlawful for any owner, custodian, or harborer to allow any domestic dog or other animal possessed, kept, or harbored, to roam at large as defined in section 14-3 of this chapter. . . .
Defines “at large” as: (X) Running at large means an animal that is not completely confined by an enclosure of sufficient strength or construction to restrain the animal.Sec. 22.03 Running at large prohibited;(A) It shall be unlawful for any owner of an animal, other than a cat, to cause, permit, suffer or allow the animal to run at large. . . .
Defines “at large” as: At large means:(2) Off premises of owner, any animal which is not physically and continually restrained by some person by means of a leash or chain of proper strength and length that precludes the animal from making an unsolicited contact with any person . . .Sec. 5-12. – Running at large and strays prohibited.(a) It shall be unlawful for the owner of any dog to permit or allow such animal to run at large within the corporate limits of the city.
Defines “at large” as: At large means:
(2) Off premises of owner. Any animal which is not physically and continually restrained by some person, by means of a leash or chain of proper strength and length to preclude the animal from making unsolicited contact with any person, their clothing, their property, and/or their premises.
Sec. 6-2. – Animals running at large.(a) It is unlawful for the owner or harborer of an animal to fail to prevent it from running at large within the city.
Defines “at large” as: At large or running at large shall mean an animal that is not physically confined or physically restrained at all times in one of the following methods:
(5) Securely restrained by being held in the grasp of a person who is able to effectively control the animal’s actions . . .
Sec. 3-61. – Animals at large.It shall be a violation of this chapter for any owner, custodian or harborer of the following listed animals to fail or refuse to maintain physical restraint or to physically confine such animal in a manner which prevents it from being at large at any time:(1) Dogs . . .
Definition of “at large” in Plano: At large means an animal that meets at least one (1) of the following criteria:
(2) An animal that is not under direct physical control of a person by means of a tether of sufficient strength and of a length of not more than six (6) feet. . . .
Sec. 4-51. – Nuisances.(a) A person commits an offense if the person is an owner of an animal and the person permits, or by insufficient control allows, any of the following to occur:
(2) The animal to be at large as defined by this chapter
Sec. 5-1. – Definitions.Running at large means:(1) Off premises: a. Any dog which is not restrained by means of a leash or chain of sufficient strength and not more than six feet in length to control the actions of such animal while off premises.Sec. 5-10. – Duty of owners and persons in control of animals.It shall be unlawful for any owner or person to:(1) Fail to prevent any animal from running at large within the corporate limits of the city. . . .
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