More than 4 million dog bites are reported every year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Although dogs are the most common pets in America, dog attacks can lead to life-threatening injuries. In 2023, the USPS reported that Houston was the worst city in the nation for dog attacks on postal workers, with 57 incidents. Victims can secure legal representation with the Houston dog bite lawyers at Steinger, Greene & Feiner.
If you or a loved one has been bitten or attacked by a dog in Houston, you may be eligible for compensation. The experienced Houston dog bite lawyers at Steinger, Greene & Feiner know how to navigate Texas dog bite laws to secure you maximum compensation for physical, emotional, and financial damages sustained after a dog bite incident.
Why Choose Us As Your Houston Dog Bite Lawyer?
Here’s how you know we will fight for your best interests:
- We have over 25 years of experience
- We have recovered millions of dollars for our clients
- We are available 24/7 for client emergencies
- We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay nothing until we win your case
- We offer free, no-obligation case evaluations
- Lawyers of Distinction recognized Michael S. Steinger as a Distinguished Lawyer
- We are a BBB Accredited Business
We know that the injuries caused by dog bites can be more than physical. If you cannot work after the incident, you can suffer lost wages and a loss of earning capacity, and dog bite victims can develop emotional trauma related to the attack. With our knowledge of Texas dog bite laws, we will prove the negligence of the dog owner and aggressively pursue your case until you secure full compensation for all the damages you have incurred.
What You Need to Know About Dog Bites in Texas
Houston and Texas are often ranked as the worst areas for dog bites and fatal dog attacks in the nation. In a study of dog bites in unincorporated Harris County from 2013 to 2016, the highest incidence of bites occurred in March, April, and October of each year. About 20 percent of bites were sustained by children between the ages of 1 and 10, and people under 10 and over 70 are at the highest risk of severe injury.
Between 2005 and 2023, 93 people died as a result of dog attacks in Texas, according to nonprofit DogsBite.org.
Pitbulls were responsible for over 70 percent of these fatal attacks, but a dog’s breed does not determine whether it will be aggressive—its individual history and behavior do, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Although large dogs can cause more severe injuries if they attack, smaller dogs can be aggressive too. It is the responsibility of dog owners to protect others from their dogs by keeping them leashed and contained, especially if they are aware that their dogs can become aggressive.
Texas Dog Bite Laws
Texas law recognizes three kinds of dogs that are likely to cause dog bite injuries: dangerous, aggressive, and public nuisance dogs. Dangerous and aggressive dogs are prone to unprovoked assaults, bites, and attacks. However, in the data from unincorporated Harrison County, many more dog bites were provoked than unprovoked.
This is why it’s essential to understand the concept of comparative negligence in Texas. If a dog bite victim shares some of the blame for their injury, the amount they can recover in damages will be reduced. If you are assigned more than 51% of the blame for the dog attack, a financial recovery will be prohibited.
However, comparative negligence does not apply if the dog owner knew or should have known about their dog’s likelihood to bite. This is where the one-bite rule comes into play: Once a dog has shown a tendency to be aggressive, the owner is strictly liable for any injury the dog causes.
To recover damages for your injuries, you must prove that the dog owner was negligent in handling their dog or the owner knew the dog had aggressive tendencies.
Under the one-bite rule, in order to be entitled to full damages, you must show:
- The animal had an unusual ability to cause harm
- The owner was aware of the animal’s unusual ability to cause harm before the attack
- The animal’s ability to cause harm in fact caused the injuries in question
Proving the negligence of the dog owner is the job of your dog bite lawyer. At Steinger, Greene & Feiner, we will collect all the necessary evidence to prove that you are not at fault for your injuries, and rather, that it was someone else’s negligence that caused them.
Additionally, in Texas, the dog owner may not be the only party held financially liable for your dog bite injuries. If you were injured on someone else’s property, like a business or a public park, you may be able to hold the property owner accountable. This refers to the concept of premises liability, which is something our attorneys have extensive experience with. We will relentlessly pursue all parties potentially liable for your injuries and fight to hold them responsible.
What To Do If You Are Bitten By a Dog in Houston
If you are bitten by a dog in Houston, here is what you should do to protect yourself and guarantee the best outcome for your case.
1. Seek Medical Care
If you are bitten or attacked by a dog in any way, you should seek medical care right away. Even injuries that appear minor can get worse or become infected. When you’re receiving medical care, be sure to save all the paperwork you fill out and all medical bills. These documents will provide you with evidence if you decide to pursue a claim. You should also document your lost wages.
2. Contact Animal Services or the Police
Next, you should contact animal services or the police. The dog that bit you can pose a serious danger to your community, and if it’s a stray, animal control or the police will need to track it down. This will prevent the dog from attacking another person, and it will also allow evidence about the dog to be collected.
3. Take Photos of Your Injuries
In cases of severe dog attacks, it’s not uncommon for hospital staff to photograph the victim’s injuries. You can also take photos of your injuries throughout the healing process. These photos, plus the documentation of your injuries and medical bills can be used as evidence to prove the negligence of the dog owner.
4. Contact a Houston Dog Bite Lawyer
After reporting the dog bite incident and getting medical care, you should contact a dog bite lawyer in Houston to get the compensation you deserve to pay for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Steinger, Greene & Feiner will pursue all parties who may be liable for your injuries and deal with insurance companies to make sure you recover maximum compensation.
How Steinger, Greene & Feiner Can Help
When you hire us to pursue your dog bite case, we will handle every aspect of it from start to finish.
Here’s what you can expect us to do:
- Handle all paperwork, phone calls, court filings, and negotiations with attorneys and insurance companies so you can focus on your recovery
- Ensure you receive the necessary medical treatment for your injury and keep a record of it
- Determine the dog’s history of aggressiveness and biting. In accordance with Texas dog bite laws, we will investigate whether the dog was a dangerous, aggressive, or public nuisance dog and check if the dog was involved in any previous incident reports.
- Gather eyewitness accounts to prove that the situation leading to the bite was a result of owner negligence.
- Hold all liable parties and hold them accountable.
- Defend you against accusations of blame. Insurance companies always look for a way to blame the injured party. We’ll stand up for you and shut these accusations down.
- Negotiate with insurance companies to secure you a full financial recovery. If a settlement cannot be reached, we will take your case to court.
The sooner you contact an attorney after your dog bite incident, the better. We can immediately begin preserving evidence and building a case to ensure you get the compensation you deserve. It’s important to note that you should not speak to an insurance company or accept an offer from one before consulting an attorney, as the insurance company will make a lowball offer that will not cover the damages you have incurred.
Dog Bite Compensation & Claims
In cases where a person was injured by a dog because of a negligent owner, that person can recover both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are financial costs and losses, and non-economic damages are human damages like pain and suffering and emotional trauma.
Dog bite victims in Texas usually seek compensation for:
- Current medical expenses
- Future medical bills
- Physical therapy and treatment expenses
- Lost wages and loss of earning capacity
- Disfigurement or scarring
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress and PTSD
- Funeral and burial expenses, if the injuries from an attack are fatal
Insurance companies may offer low estimates of non-economic damages. That’s why it’s so important to consult an experienced dog bite attorney who knows how to value your claim and recover maximum compensation for your injuries.
If it is found that a dog caused the death of or serious bodily harm to a person, Section 822 of the Texas Health and Safety Code requires that a court orders the dog to be put down. This statute is intended to protect the community from a dangerous or aggressive dog.
You should contact an attorney as soon as you possibly can after your dog bite incident. But dog bite victims have up to two years to file a personal injury claim. After that two-year deadline passes, the victim may be unable to recover any compensation.
Contact Our Experienced Dog Bite Lawyers Today
If you or a loved one has been bitten or attacked by a dog in Houston, the experienced attorneys at Steinger, Greene & Feiner will fight to secure you the full and fair compensation you deserve. Beyond causing physical injuries, a dog bite incident can cause financial losses and emotional trauma.
When you hire us to take on your case, hold the negligent dog owner accountable and stand up to insurance companies so you can focus on your recovery. We’ll apply complex Texas dog bite laws to your case to guarantee that you are compensated for any and all damages you’ve suffered.
Contact Steinger, Greene & Feiner for your free, no-obligation case evaluation today. You pay nothing until we win your case.