Dog Laws In Texas
In Texas, court’s have held that: “The owner of a dog is not liable for injuries caused by it, unless it is vicious and knowledge or constructive notice of that fact is shown or brought home to the owner.”
A person injured by a dog can recover damages if it is proven that the owner, harborer, or keeper was negligent, and that negligence caused the injury. In addition, dog owners, harborers, or keepers can be liable for injuries caused to people when they fail to stop a dog attack in progress. Finally, dog owners, harborers, or keepers can also be liable for injuries when they violate and animal control law.
Texas does, however, permit a person injured by a dog to recover damages based on negligence. As such, the owner, harborer, or keeper of a dog that causes injury can be held liable even where they did not know of the dog’s dangerousness or vicious nature, provided it can be proven that the owner was negligent, and that negligence caused the injury.
To recover on a negligent handling claim, a plaintiff must prove:
- the defendant owned or possessed an animal;
- the defendant owed a duty to exercise reasonable care to prevent the animal from injuring others;
- the defendant breached that duty; and,
- the defendant’s breach proximately caused plaintiff’s injury.
Under a negligence theory of recovery, the injured person does not need to prove that a dog previously bit a person or acted like it was going to bite someone.
In Texas, a person injured by a dog can also recover damages where a person violates an animal control law, regardless of whether the violation is committed by the dog owner, harborer, or keeper. The injured person must prove that there was a violation of a statute or local ordinance, and the violation caused the injury.
In Texas, a person can be liable for injuries caused by a dog when they fail to stop a dog attack after it has begun.
A landlord or landowner in Texas can be liable for injuries that occur in the common areas of rental properties by their failure to rid a premises of a known dangerous dog.
Texas permits closely related bystanders to recover for emotional distress stemming from dog injuries.
The owner, harborer, or keeper of a dog that causes injury to a person can defend against liability on the grounds that the injured person’s own negligence contributed to the injury. If the injured person is more than fifty percent (50%) at fault, they will be barred or not able to recover damages.
Damages that can be recovered depend upon the nature and extent of injury, medical expenses, future medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earnings capacity, periods of total and/or partial disability, physical pain and mental suffering, disfiguring scarring, permanency of injury, and loss of consortium.
STATUTE OF LIMITATION:
In Texas, the statute of limitations is 2 years from the date of injury. This means you must file a lawsuit against the owner/keeper of the dog within that time, or you will be forever time barred from pursuing a case.
V.T.C.A., Health & Safety Code § 822.005
Injured By A Dog?
The information provided on this website is for general informational purposes only. The information on this site is not legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed through the use of this website. Laws relating to dog injuries can, and do, change. To learn your legal rights, contact The Snow Law Firm, or contact a licensed and experienced attorney in your state.
MINOR STATUTE OF LIMITATION RULE:
In most states, when a minor is bitten or injured by a dog, the statute of limitation period does not begin to run until the minor reaches the age of 18. Thus, for example, if an 11-year-old child is bitten or injured by a dog in a state that has a 3 year statute of limitation period within which to file a lawsuit, they will have three years from the date they turn 18 years of age, and would thus have to file a lawsuit before they turn 21 years of age. In most instances, however, it is recommended that a parent or guardian bring a claim for a dog bite or injury claim on behalf of a minor child before waiting for the injured child to turn 18.
RECOVERABLE DAMAGES IN GENERAL:
Some states limit the type of damages that a person bitten or injured by a dog can recover. In most states, however, a person who is bitten or injured by a dog can recover damages that include medical expenses, future medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earnings capacity, physical pain and mental suffering, scarring, permanency of injury, periods of total and/or partial disability and loss of spousal consortium.