Dog Bite Attorneys in El Paso, Texas Represent Victims of Animal Attacks
Skilled attorneys experienced with dog attack cases in Texas
Ortega, McGlashan, Hicks & Perez, PLLC understands the scope of the dog bite problem in Texas and the El Paso area. Across the United States, dog bites kill about 30 people a year, mostly young children and the elderly. For the last decade, Texas has led the nation in this dubious category. In 2014, seven people, including four seniors and two toddlers, were killed. In 2015, the five victims included an infant, two children age seven and younger, and two seniors. In most incidents the attacker was the family dog. However, they can and do attack neighbors or passersby. Bites from large dogs can cause serious injuries, including:
- Broken or crushed bones
- Punctures and lacerations
- Nerve damage
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Severed body parts
- Shock from blood loss
- Torn muscles, tendons, and ligaments
- Psychological symptoms, such as night terrors and phobias
- Secondary-impact injuries, such as concussions, broken wrists, or broken hips, from being knocked to the ground
- Wrongful death
In Texas it is difficult to obtain compensation, even for an unprovoked attack, because of the state’s negligence law. Therefore, you must retain an attorney who understands the legal issues and who is dedicated to recovering the compensation you deserve.
Overcoming the “one bite” rule to obtain full compensation
Texas does not have a dog bite statute, so the state relies on two common law theories of recovery: strict liability for vicious dogs and negligence for all others. The rule regarding strict liability is sometimes called the “one bite” rule because it only holds an owner accountable if the owner was aware (or should have been aware) the dog had previously bitten a person or had acted as though it wanted to. In effect, this rule lets the dog get away with one free bite of a person before another unlucky victim can use that evidence to win a judgment of liability.
If the dog has not bitten anyone, a victim can sue under a theory of negligence. For example, an owner who violates a leash law while out in public with their dog could be held negligent if the dog bites. Or, if the owner violates state or local chaining laws, a court could find negligence. In apartment buildings, landlords can also be held liable for failing to rid the premises of a known dangerous dog.
Because of the difficulty of enforcing liability on a dog owner, a victim must retain a capable personal injury attorney with experience in dog attack cases.
What to do after a dog attack
If you are attacked by a dog, you must do whatever is necessary to protect yourself, including causing injury to the dog. After an attack, there are steps you must take:
- Tend to your wounds — Administer first aid immediately. Blood loss can cause shock, so you should call for assistance as quickly as possible and then get to an emergency room. If you need a rabies shot sequence, you should begin as soon as possible. You might also require a tetanus shot.
- Call the authorities — There are two objectives to accomplish here: to get information you need for your own well-being and to prevent the animal from harming anyone else. The police can ascertain whether the dog has had its shots and impound the dog if there is reason to believe it is diseased or vicious. If the dog that attacked you is a stray, animal control can apprehend and impound the dog.
- Document the attack — Take pictures of your injuries and torn or bloody clothing. Get the names and contact information for any witnesses.
- Contact an attorney — Even if your injuries are minor, you deserve compensation for your medical expenses and other losses.
As with any type of injury case, the sooner you retain capable legal counsel, the stronger your case will be.
Contact our El Paso law firm for effective representation for dog bite cases
If you’ve been seriously injured in a dog attack in El Paso County, our firm is ready to help. Ortega, McGlashan, Hicks & Perez, PLLC draws on more than 75 years of combined legal experience to deliver quality legal representation. Call us today at 915-201-0590 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We also make night and weekend appointments, if necessary.