Being attacked by a dog is, undoubtedly, a disturbing and frightening experience. These animals can inflict severe injuries, and the emotional impact of an unprovoked attack could be equally devastating. Dogs often harm children, potentially leaving wounds that could last a lifetime.
If you were attacked by a dog and suffered physically, a skilled personal injury attorney could help you hold the animal’s owner or handler accountable for your losses. Do not accept a settlement offer from the owner’s insurance company until you have spoken with a resourceful Georgetown dog bite lawyer.
Proving that a Dog Owner is Negligent
Many states hold dog owners strictly liable when their animals bite or injure someone, but Texas does not. A local individual seeking damages for injuries a dog inflicted must prove that the animal’s owner or handler was negligent. From a legal standpoint, negligence refers to when a defendant’s breach of a duty of care results in someone else’s injury.
When it comes to the duty of care owed by dog handlers, these people must prevent their animals from harming others. For instance, if a dog owner knows that their pet is aggressive, they are responsible for keeping it restrained and under control when other people are around. If the owner or handler fails to prevent a dangerous dog from attacking or does not stop an attack in progress, this caretaker could be considered negligent.
Unfortunately, proving negligence could be more difficult if the dog had no history of aggression. To validate an attack by a seemingly harmless dog, legal representation could seek records from the animal’s breeder, veterinarian, or trainer that proves the pet’s violent tendencies. In cases where a lawyer cannot find any relevant evidence, even proving a violation of a local leash law could help establish negligence. A city ordinance bans dogs from running at large, so the owner might be negligent if the dog was not confined or on a leash when the attack occurred.
A knowledgeable attorney in Georgetown has experience with dog bite cases and could fight to demonstrate that an animal owner’s negligent oversight resulted in serious injury.
What to Do After a Dog Attack
In the chaos of an unprovoked attack, it could be hard for a victim to figure out the best course of action. However, there are certain decisions that could strengthen a person’s legal standing in the future.
To begin, anyone injured by a dog bite or attack should focus on receiving immediate medical attention. Even if the bite did not break the skin, there is a chance of infection. Dogs also have powerful jaws and could inflict serious pressure damage to soft tissue and bone. Seeking medical treatment could address these issues and help prove the attack in court. A detailed medical record and pictures of the affected body part could serve as persuasive evidence.
After receiving emergency treatment, promptly securing the services of an attorney is a good idea. The sooner that the victim of a dog bite seeks legal representation, the more time an experienced lawyer in Georgetown has to strengthen a claim.
How do Insurance Companies Fight Dog Bite Claims?
When a dog bite victim files a claim against the animal’s owner or handler, the defendant’s insurance company might try and combat the lawsuit. For example, a coverage provider might claim that the injuries are not as severe as the plaintiff alleges. Ideally, the plaintiff was able to take pictures and secure medical records that establish the extent of their injury.
A defendant also might assert that the plaintiff was trespassing or in the act of committing a crime when dog attack occurred. Courts generally will not award damages to trespassers, although they often will make an exception for trespassing children.
A defendant could even argue that the victim was teasing or provoking the animal when the attack occurred. If this is the case, Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 33.001 says that any plaintiff who is more than 50 percent to blame for a dog attack or other accident may not collect any damages.
A tenacious attorney in Georgetown could fight back against allegations of shared blame by implementing detailed evidence about the dog attack in question.
Reach Out to a Georgetown Dog Bite Attorney Today
If you or a loved one were harmed in a dog attack, you deserve compensation for your injuries. Proving that the animal owner was negligent is a process that requires legal knowledge, investigative skills, and patience for negotiations.
A Georgetown dog bite lawyer could ensure that a carless dog owner pays a reasonable settlement for the harm they caused. Contact the office today to speak with a representative and schedule an appointment.