While dogs can be amazing companion animals, the fact of the matter is they are still just that — animals. No matter how well-trained or friendly looking, dogs can be dangerous to people, particularly when they feel threatened. In Texas, it’s the dog owner’s responsibility to keep other people safe, meaning that the liability stops with the owner.
Experiencing a dog bite can be terrifying, and coupled with the extensive injuries that a dog can perform, a traumatic one. We understand the physical and mental anguish that can accompany such an incident, which is why you should reach out to Pastrana & García Injury Law if you’ve been bitten or attacked by a dog. Our dog bite lawyers have extensive knowledge of handling personal injury cases and are ready to help you seek compensation for your injuries.
What Should I Do After a Dog Bite?
Dog bites should be taken seriously, whether you know the dog in question or not. Dog’s mouths carry bacteria that can be harmful, if not deadly, to people if not treated and can cause serious infections that can lead to hospitalization, amputation, or even fatalities. Below are the steps you should take if a dog has bitten you.
Seek Medical Attention
Dog bite victims should receive medical treatment immediately, usually a rabies shot. If the attack is severe, go immediately to the hospital. If you are headed to urgent care, wash and disinfect the wound, if possible, to prevent bacteria from growing.
Even if the wound is small, you need to be seen by a medical professional. Infections can occur days after the initial accident, making it difficult to prove that your injuries and subsequent medical treatment were the result of the dog bite. Insurance companies looking to save money will use your delay in going to a doctor to try to decrease the amount they pay you. Don’t give them that chance; instead, get seen by a doctor immediately.
Important Note: Before you leave the scene of the attack, make sure you get the dog owner’s name and contact information if you don’t know them and request vaccination records or vet information for their dog. All dog owners need to have vaccination records that can be produced on request. This information will help the doctor in their treatment recommendations. Call the owner’s vet to make sure the dog is fully vaccinated.
Document Your Injuries
Take pictures of your injury from several angles to show the severity and depth of the wounds. Keep your doctor’s report from your visit, and log daily entries about your healing process—how much pain you are in, how long the wound is taking to heal, and if you can move or use the injured areas of your body. In addition to taking these steps, consider keeping the clothes that you were bitten in (without washing them) if they carry bite marks. You can store them in a plastic bag and keep them as proof of the bite if the insurance company requests it during your claim.
Contact a Trusted Legal Firm
Because insurance companies will be looking to deliver the lowest payout, your next step is to hire a law firm that has your best interests at heart. We’ll handle legal negotiations and deal with the insurance companies as you’re healing. You want trustworthy dog attack legal representation handling your claim. Reach out to Pastrana & García Injury Law so we can help you with your dog bite accident.
Because Texas only allows personal injury claims to be filed within two years of the injury, you have a limited amount of time to meet with us before your window to regain compensation is closed. Twenty-four months can go by very fast, so the sooner you call, the sooner we can fight for your compensation that can help pay for your medical treatment. Make sure you reach out as soon as possible; your first consultation is on us.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Dog Bite Injuries
Below are common questions we receive when dealing with dog bite accidents:
What Type of Compensation Can I Expect from a Dog Bite Case?
Medical bills to treat dog bites can be quite high, depending on the damage done. This means that your compensation can include surgeries and medication to treat the injuries; you can also claim lost pay for the time you needed to take off from work. If therapy is needed to heal nerves or bones, that is also included.
People who experience dog bites may develop a deep fear of dogs, which means they might need counseling to treat their anxiety or PTSD. This, too, should be covered in your compensation.
How Much Compensation Will I Receive?
Your compensation will depend on the specifics of your dog bite accident; to give you an estimate, contact our team for your complimentary consultation, where we’ll take a look at your case and discuss your claim amount.
What Sort of Injuries Can I Get from a Dog Bite?
Because a dog’s jaws are very strong, they have the possibility of breaking bones. Children’s smaller frames are especially susceptible to breaks. Bites that are focused on soft tissue areas, such as the face and neck, may need skin grafts to heal. In some severe cases, reconstructive surgery is needed. Nerve damage from deeper bites can lead to extensive recovery or even the inability to regain full movement or feeling in a limb.
A dog attack may also lead to secondary injuries, such as a concussion from hitting your head or fractured bones from a fall. These injuries are also considered during your claim, even if the dog did not primarily cause them.
Why Did I Get Bitten?
There’s no one answer to this question. Dogs, like any other animal, have fight-or-flight responses to unknown threats. Even if you have the calmest demeanor in the world, a skittish or fearful dog can interpret something as simple as a step forward to be a threat and might attack because they feel their space is being invaded. Likewise, going in to pet a dog who has experienced trauma or abuse could cause a dog to see your raised hand and think it’s dangerous—even if your intentions were innocent.
Dogs might also bite accidentally. Dogs play-bite each other, but when they get excited, they might not understand the force they are using and bite down harder than normal. A dog bite done with a playful attitude can still carry the dangers and damages that any other dog bite does.
Some dogs are aggressive, whether because of their past or because of their owner’s poor training. Some situations can increase a dog’s aggression, including if they have rabies, a deadly virus transmitted through saliva. It’s important to get vaccinated for rabies after any dog bite, particularly if it’s a dog you don’t know. Rabies is deadly for humans if it goes untreated, and although you might not see symptoms for several days, you need to get treated immediately.
Who’s Responsible for a Dog Bite?
The liability for the dog bite is on the owner of that dog. They have the responsibility to keep their pet on a leash or away from strangers, particularly if they know their dog can get nervous or aggressive around people. We will need to establish that the dog belongs to that person and that they did not take proper precautions to keep people safe from their dog.
If the dog is a stray, there are fewer legal options you have when it comes to claiming compensation for your medical bills. Make sure to stay away from stray dogs, for your health and financial safety.
Factors Determining Liability in Dog Bites
As stated previously, the responsibility for a dog’s actions remains with the owner. However, Texas is a comparative negligence state, meaning that any actions on your part that make you responsible for the accident count against the compensation you can receive.
Anything you did that might have incited a dog to bite might make you partially responsible and lower your compensation. For example, if you behaved roughly or aggressively toward the dog, and the dog attacked, the court might say that your actions were a provocation. In this case, your compensation could be reduced.
Keeping Yourself Safe: Dog Signals
It’s important to understand how to keep yourself safe around dogs, so we’ve compiled a list of dos and don’ts to follow. To help protect yourself and others around you, follow these guidelines:
- Never taunt or tease a dog by taking their food away
- Avoid speaking loudly or making large movements when first meeting a new dog
- A dog’s tail can tell you a lot–if their tail is wagging, they’re often excited or happy; if it’s lowered or tucked between their legs, they’re usually scared, and you shouldn’t approach
- Do not try to pet a dog that is growling, backing away, or whose ears are flat
- Remind children not to pull on a dog’s tail or fur
- Approach a dog calmly and allow them to sniff your hand before trying to pet them; trying to pet them before “introducing” yourself can lead to tension and fear for the dog.
Remember, even dogs that you’re familiar with can get startled or scared. Be conscious of how a dog behaves and feels to keep yourself safe.
How Our Dog Bite Lawyers Can Assist You
Our team at Pastrana & García Injury Law will help you understand your legal rights after a dog bite. We can help you:
- Gather evidence to support your claim
- File the paperwork
- Negotiate with insurance companies for fair settlement
Our team is an experienced and knowledgeable firm trusted throughout Texas. You’ll want us on your side because:
- We have 30 years of combined legal experience and insurance company negotiation behind us
- Our attorneys are compassionate
- We are dedicated to winning your case or settlement, and you don’t pay us until we do
Contact Pastrana & García Injury Law
You want someone who is strong in negotiating with insurance companies and compassionate when speaking with you and your family. We’re a firm that believes that helping others regain stability to heal is the most important thing we can do.
Don’t hesitate to call us at 888-674-4487 to set up your first free consultation. We’ll be able to walk you through the legal process, estimate your compensation, and take charge of the legal matters. Call us today, or start your conversation with us online.