Dog bite injuries are widespread in the United States. With over 63 million dog owners, at least 4.7 million people are treated with dog bite injuries every year. One in every five cases requires intensive medical treatment. If you carefully think about these numbers, you realize how serious these cases can be. Unfortunately, most of them are caused by negligence on the part of home and dog owners.
Texas laws allow dog bite injury victims to sue responsible parties for their injuries and losses. Although many people are unaware of their rights, a seasoned Harlingen dog bite lawyer may handle your injury claim and help collect damages on your behalf. The best way to get your questions answered is by speaking with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
If you or your loved one have been injured in a dog attack on someone else’s property, there are two significant ways you can be compensated. Each approach requires extensive knowledge of applicable statutes, especially regarding premises liability and personal injury laws. You may collect damages through:
Many people are not aware that most homeowners and dogs are insured. They have insurance policies covering accidents that happen on their property or away from their premises. Most insurance coverages involve slip and fall accidents, fire accidents, burglary, and catastrophes like floods and earthquakes, but others cover against animal attacks. For example, if you were attacked by a dog that wasn’t leashed in a public area, the dog owner’s insurance may cover your losses.
Unfortunately, just because the dog was covered doesn’t automatically qualify you for settlement. You still have a burden of proof to show that the owner was negligent in handling their animal, and their actions or inactions were the direct cause of your injuries. Furthermore, insurance companies may maximize their profits by lowering settlement amounts and denying claims. Therefore, you shouldn’t expect to be settled without a fight. The best way to face selfish insurance adjusters is to let a reputable Harlingen dog bite lawyer handle the negotiation process. Luckily, most personal injury cases are settled here.
If negotiations with insurance don’t yield a fair settlement, your attorney may proceed to court. Although most cases are settled out of court, moving to trial allows you to collect maximum compensation. Depending on your case, you may recover punitive damages, which are only available in a court process. That said, proceeding to trial is very complex. Without a trial-tested Harlingen dog bite lawyer, you may not understand how the Texas court systems work, thus putting your compensation in jeopardy.
An experienced dog bite lawyer will:
Because most personal injury lawyers handle dog bite claims on a contingency fee basis, you shouldn’t worry about retaining an attorney for your case. They only get paid if you recover compensation.
A dog owner may face criminal charges under specific circumstances based on the Texas Health & Safety Code section 822.005. If they are aware of their dog’s inclination to attack people but fail to secure them, or they attack and kill someone, a state prosecutor may file a criminal lawsuit on behalf of the government. These charges are meant to punish the negligent party, and they may face a jail term, pay fines, or both. Unlike a civil lawsuit, this option doesn’t allow injured victims to recover damages since the penalties are paid to courts.
However, a knowledgeable Harlingen dog bite lawyer may take advantage of criminal proceedings to prepare and prove an injury claim. For example, they may share evidence with the state attorney or use the case’s outcome as proof that the defendant was at fault. Even if the dog owner is vindicated in a criminal lawsuit, you may still have a successful personal injury claim. With a preponderance of the evidence, all you need to show is that they were negligent, and their actions or inactions were the proximate causes of your injuries.
Although the law guarantees your rights following an injury caused by someone else, it’s your mandate to pursue compensation. You deserve to be compensated for your losses, and a qualified Harlingen dog bite lawyer may help. At Lone Star Injury Attorneys, we strive to offer you peace of mind by not charging upfront legal fees. This way, we only get paid if we bring you the compensation you deserve. We will be happy to review your case, contact our office today.