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Dog Bite Attorney in Austin, TX
Dog Bites Can be Deadly Serious
There are 4.7 million dog bites each year in the United States, according to estimates by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Approximately 800,000 of those bites require medical attention. Dog bites can result in serious injuries, including deep lacerations requiring multiple stitches, permanent scarring and amputations. Besides the immediate need for medical attention to address the initial injury, there is also the possibility of rabies and other infections.
One Bite Rule
Texas has a “one bite free” rule. To make a dog owner liable for your injuries when you’ve been bitten, you must show that the owner knew or should have known the dog was dangerous. The easiest way to do this is to show that the dog had previously bitten someone. Once the dog has bitten someone, or had his one “free” bite, then the dog is considered a dangerous animal, and liability is established for all future bites. You can also try to prove a dog is dangerous with other evidence of aggressive behavior, or an owner is negligent in the way they handle the animal, but whereas a prior bite is a slam dunk, reasonable people can differ on what constitutes dangerous or aggressive behavior, or an owner’s negligence.
Most Victims are Children
On average, over 80% of dog bites treated in emergency rooms involve children under the age of 15. And 70% of all fatalities involve children under the age of 10. But there are things you can teach your children to do to prevent dog bites and dog attacks:
• Never approach an unfamiliar dog, even if it appears friendly.
• Always ask an owner’s permission before petting a dog, and stay away from dogs if their owner is not in sight.
• Never approach a dog that is tied up, chained or caged.
• Never approach a dog that is eating.
• If you are approached by an unknown or aggressive dog, stay calm and allow the dog to smell you. Do not make eye contact and do not run.
• Parents, never leave your children around an unfamiliar dog, and never leave young children alone with any dog, even the family pet.
• Treat all dogs with kindness and respect.
Dog bite claims are usually made against an owner’s homeowner’s insurance coverage. Insurance companies often use the “one bite rule” as an excuse to avoid liability, and when the victim is a child, they will almost always allege the child did something to provoke the dog. An experienced dog bite lawyer on your side is essential. An attorney with the financial backing and experience to handle these cases from start to finish is an absolute must to get fully compensated for your loss. Earl Straight has handled these cases for 26 years, has a proven track record and is available to answer any questions you may have about dog bite claims. Call 512-454-1331 for a free consultation.
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