If you’ve been injured by a dog bite, you’re probably wondering what happens next. Is the owner of the dog liable for the dog’s actions? Are you due compensation from the dog owner? The answers to these questions can be complex due to the laws regarding dog bites in Texas. Read on to learn what to do when bitten by a dog.
Treat the Wound
If you’ve been bitten or attacked, seek medical attention. You don’t want your dog bite to become infected. Be sure that the doctor acknowledges that the treatment was due to an animal attack. Billing paperwork should list a dog as the cause of the injury. This will be important if you file a claim.
Get Owner and Witness Info
Similar to what you’d do in an auto accident, take down the name, address, and phone number of the dog’s owner. Do this even if the bite doesn’t seem too bad at first. You want to be able to track down the owner if your injury were to escalate later. Also, take down names and contact info from any witnesses. They can corroborate your account if needed.
Contact Animal Control
Your city or county animal control entity needs to know about the attack. Local animal control keeps a record of dangerous or vicious dogs nearby. Animal control can also verify that the animal is up to date on shots and that quarantine isn’t needed.
Laws in Texas
Texas law regarding vicious and dangerous animals requires the plaintiff to show that the owner had knowledge that his or her animal was capable of biting. If the dog has never bitten before, the owner may not be considered liable. If the dog has bitten even once before, the owner is likely liable.
Understand that city and county ordinances vary, though. The rules where you live may be more restrictive than the state laws. It’s always best to check with a lawyer in your area.
How to Begin a Claim
If you’ve been injured by a dog bite, the best way to begin a claim is to contact a personal injury attorney that’s well versed in dog bite claims. He or she can guide you through filing a claim.