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Frequent Questions on Animal Attack Cases

Each and every year tens of thousands Americans are bitten and/or injured by dogs or other animals. While many of those injured are not seriously injured, a good number are badly injured and some unfortunately are killed. If you or a loved one have been the victim of an unfortunate dog or animal attack, contact our Law Offices for a free consultation. The following information is provided to answer some of the more frequently asked questions about dog bite and animal attack cases.

Q: What Should I do if I Have Been Attacked by an Animal?

A: The first thing a victim of an attack should do is always seek medical care for injuries. It is also important to get as much information as possible about the animal and its’ owner. If you are attacked by a wild animal or an animal that you cannot identify, your doctor may insist that you get protective rabies shots, a painful experience.

Q: What Steps Must be Made to Make or Present a Claim for Injuries?

A: If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, a claim for damages can be made against the owner of the animal and his or her home insurance company. Be aware that the insurance company will likely try to convince you that you do not need an attorney and that they will not pay in advance for treatment and will only reimburse those amounts you have paid out of pocket. Do not listen to any insurance company as to how or what you should do. It is in the insurance company's best interest that you not hire an lawyer. We recommend that you seek out and speak with an Injury Lawyer to protect your rights.

Q: Must I Prove That the Animal That Attack me was Vicious in Order to Recover?

A: The answer to this question will depend on whether the dog is considered a dangerous breed of dog or animal. If you are bitten by a dog that has never shown signs of aggression, the owner might be able to argue that he could not have prevented the attack because he had no reason to know that the dog would bite. In contrast, if the attack is by a guard dog or a dog bred for aggression or fighting (such as a pit bull) or the animal has shown aggression in the past, the owner will probably be liable for not taking the necessary steps to prevent your injuries. Again, the best way to pursue a claim arising out of an animal attack is with a lawyer who can help you determine the precise scope of your rights under a given set of facts.

Q: What Amount and Types of Compensation Can I Recover?

A: The answer to this question will depend on the facts of the case. On most cases involving animal attacks, you will be able to recover your medical expenses, as well as any wages you lost if your injuries rendered you unable to work. If the attack has left you scarred or disfigured, you can probably recover the costs of any cosmetic surgery necessary to correct the problem. You may also be entitled to an award for your pain and suffering and in some cases where the owner acted with complete disregard to you then you may be able to recover "extra" damages to punish the owner. Call our Offices we can explain in more detail.

Q: What Will Happen to the Animal and his Owner?

A: The facts of your case will determine the answer. If the attack was by an otherwise good-natured family pet with no history of prior attacks, probably nothing will happen to the dog or its owner. However, if the dog has a history of attacking people, the authorities may find that it is dangerous and have it "put down." A new law enacted in Texas after several high-profile dog attacks makes it possible for the animal's owner to be held criminally liable in cases involving death and serious injury. But, as with all things legal, the facts will determine the outcome.

Q: Who Pays for the Damages?

A: Usually, the insurance policy that insures the home of the owner of the animal will provide coverage. Most homeowner's policies will cover injuries caused by the homeowner's pets, and some homeowners even carry special animal insurance coverage. If the pet owner is not insured, this does not mean that he is off the hook. If he is legally liable for your injuries, he is also responsible for paying your damages, although they may be more difficult to collect. The one person who should not have to pay is the victim: Your injuries are not your fault, and you should not have to bear the cost. If you or a loved one has suffered an animal attack, contact our office immediately.

Q: How Often do Dog Attacks Occur in the United States?

A: The Center for Disease Control released a study in 1996 estimating that annually there are 800,000 dog bites that lead to emergency room visits or require some form of medical treatment. As you can see, dog bites happen more often than you would expect. It should also be noted that this study is over 10 years old, thus one can assume the number is at least 50% greater or 1,200,000 attacks per year.

Q: Which Dog Breeds are the Most Dangerous?

A: According to data collected by the Humane Society, the dogs that were the most frequently involved in human fatalities are Pit-bull Terriers, Rottweilers, St. Bernards, German Shepards, Huskies and Malamutes. Although these are the dogs that have caused the most human deaths due to the size and weight of the animal, it should be remembered that any type of dog has the potential to be dangerous.

Q: What are my Rights According to Texas State Law?

A: Texas law imposes a duty on the person who "owns, keeps or harbors" an animal to use reasonable care to prevent the animal causing injury to anyone. In addition, if the animal has demonstrated aggressiveness before, or if it is classified as a "wild animal" the owner or handler may by "negligent per se" (i.e. automatically liable) if the animal injures someone. If such is the case the owner of the dog may be liable for any damages that you might incur. That means that he or she is not only responsible for medical bills, but for lost earnings, future damages, and pain and suffering.

If you or a family member have suffer an animal attack, pick up the phone and call us to discuss the matter and allow us to provide you more detailed information about the Law in Texas and Animal Attack Cases. Call us day or night at 800-862-1260.

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