Austin Texas Family Law, Eminent Domain and Personal Injury Lawyer FAQ

Austin, Texas family law, eminent domain personal and injury lawyer frequently asked questions and answers

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  • How often do dog bites occur?

    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.

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  • Which dog breeds are the most dangerous?

    According to data collected by the Humane Society, the dogs that were the most frequently involved in human fatalities are pitbull 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.

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  • What should I do after a dog bite?

    This is a nice sentiment, but it is misguided. It is understandable to get nervous when you start thinking about involving the court system and lawyers, especially when the opposite party is a friend or relative. No one wants to financially ruin a friend. Remember, however, that you are not bringing suit against anybody. The dog owner will not be ruined by your actions, and the insurance company certainly won’t be either. In acquiring the services of an attorney in a dog bite case, you are hiring someone to assist you in filing an insurance claim. This is a big difference. So, why hire an attorney at all? The reason is that insurance companies will usually offer about 10% to 20% of what you are legally entitled to. Without the services of a skilled attorney, you won’t have a good idea as to what a fair settlement looks like, and you might accept far less than you deserve. Is it fair for the insurance company to offer to just pay the medical bills if the dog bite put you out of work for a week or longer? What if the attack left you unable to work at all? What if the dog disfigured your face? Clearly, what the insurance company is doing is not fair at all. Even if the case goes to court, it isn’t the friend or relative that you are bringing an action against. You would be suing the insurance company that is trying to dodge their responsibility. Your friend or relative will not be affected.

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  • I was bitten and only need minor medical care. Should I hire an attorney?

    Even if the bite was minor, the medical bills can be significant. The average cost of an emergency room visit is $512, and that doesn’t include stitches, antibiotics, or any shots that you might have to receive. The insurance company of the liable party will do their best to get you to settle for far less than you are legally entitled to. If that doesn't work, they will usually delay payment on purpose, which means that the collection agencies will be calling you. An experienced attorney that is familiar with the law and the tactics of the insurance companies can help you avoid this scenario.

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  • The owner of the dog is claiming that he/she doesnt have insurance. What should I do?

    Dog bites usually take place on the property of the owner of the dog. If this person has a mortgage then usually they have homeowners insurance. Most homeowners insurance, and even renters insurance, covers dog-bites. Since most people don’t bother to read the fine print on their insurance coverage, it’s entirely possible that they simply aren’t aware of the available coverage on their policy. An attorney can help determine what coverage is available and what can be done to help you.

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  • What are my rights after a dog bite?

    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. This means that unless you were tormenting the dog or other animal in any way, the owner or keeper 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.

  • When are owners liable for dog bites in Texas?

    Dog owners in Texas are liable for dog bites in the following situations: (1) The owner knows that the dog has bitten someone before or the dog has shown a dangerous propensity to bite someone. This rule is often referred to as the “one bite rule.” (2) The dog bite was the result of the owner’s negligence in handling the dog. (3) The accident was caused by a violation of the leash law, which keeps dogs from running around unsupervised. (4) The injury resulted from the intentional actions of the person handling the dog.