In the aftermath of a horrendous dog bite case that involved the mauling death of an elderly woman by six vicious dogs, Texas dog bite laws experienced revisions that now make them some of the harshest in the U.S. Exclusive to Texas, “Lillian’s Law” punishes dog owners who knowingly keep a dog that is known for aggressively attacking people and other animals. In Texas, any dog that has a history of biting people is deemed to be a dangerous dog.
Owners must keep dangerous dogs in an enclosure that securely prevents the dog from getting loose. If a dog escapes an enclosure, regardless of the method of escape, the owner could face jail or even prison time if the dog bites someone. Additionally, the Texas Health and Safety Code states that owners of dangerous dogs need to carry at least $100,000 in liability insurance to pay for medical bills incurred by anyone who gets bitten by the dog.
When someone is injured by a dog due to the owner’s negligence, the victim is legally permitted to pursue compensation for medical bills and pain and suffering. In Texas, even if a non-vicious dog inflicts bite wounds because the owner allowed the dog to run free, that owner may be held liable for irresponsible handling of the dog.
Texas also has a law that states landowners or landlords may be held liable for dog bite injuries if they fail to rid their properties of dangerous dogs. In a 1994 case referred to as Pennoak Properties, Ltd. v. Baker, the Texas Court of Appeals said that “a lessor retaining control over premises used in common by different occupants of his property has a duty to exercise reasonable care to keep those common areas reasonably safe for the use of tenants and their guests”. In this case, the duty to exercise reasonable care means protecting tenants and their guests from known dangerous dogs.
Victims of dog bites that occur as a consequence of the dog’s owner exhibiting negligent behavior should immediately contact a personal injury attorney who knows how to handle such cases. Personal injury attorneys are not only experienced with dog bite claims but they also file claims for people who have suffered serious injuries in drunk driving accidents, industrial accidents and instances of medical malpractice.
Because dangerous dogs are capable of inflicting extremely painful puncture wounds and deep gashes that often required hundreds of stitches, victims of dangerous dog bites in Texas are entitled to compensation for medical bills as well as pain, suffering and lost wages. Personal injury attorneys will work diligently to obtain the highest possible compensation amount for clients who are the victims of negligent dog owners and ensure that victims receive the reparations they deserve.
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