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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger

Do Hospitals Report Dog Bites in Texas? Help for Dog Bite Victims

The owner of a domestic animal must make sure that their pet does not wander off the owner's property and attack innocent victims. However, that is not always the case, and dog attacks are quite common in Texas.

If a victim suffers injuries caused by a dog bite, the law in Texas gives them the right to seek compensation from the dog's owner.

However, before considering filing a dog bite case, the victim needs to seek medical care for the physical and emotional injuries caused by the dog bite. This usually means going to the nearest hospital.

Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys has a great track record of winning personal injury cases and an awesome attorney/client relationship. The law firm has the knowledge, experience, and compassion to help victims prove liability and recover damages in Texas dog bite cases. They can advise on what the statute of limitations for dog bite in Texas is.

What Does the Law Say?

What Does the Law Say?

When it comes to dog bites, especially ones from dogs whose vaccination status is unknown, the law in Texas is quite clear. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services (TxDSHS) and Texas Health and Safety Code §826.041, all dog bites must be reported to the authorities.

Doctors and other medical care professionals have no choice but to follow this strict law. This means when victims walk into the hospital with dog bite injuries, the doctor will alert the officials soon after making sure the patient has been treated.

Usually, the report will be made to Dallas Animal Services, which will immediately start an investigation into the dog bite case.

Due to the fear of having their pet taken away by Animal Control, the dog's owner may try to convince the victim to not report the dog bite incident, but this is against the law. The best thing for victims to do after seeking medical care is to approach a personal injury attorney and ask for legal advice.

Common Injuries Caused by a Dog Attack

Many things determine the severity of the injuries victims may suffer after a dog attack, such as the breed of the dog, its size, the number of dogs involved in the attack, and the age of the victim.

With certain large breeds, such as Rottweilers and pit bull terriers, severe injuries and fatalities are common occurrences.

The following are some of the most common injuries suffered by victims of a dog attack:

  • Broken or punctured skin

  • Tissue damage

  • Broken bones

  • Nerve Damage

  • Eye injuries

  • Scarring

  • Face injuries

  • Head and neck injuries

Victims may also suffer from emotional injuries as a result of dog attacks, such as post-traumatic stress disorder which may cause a lot of anxiety whenever they are close to dogs.

Knowing how to react when being attacked by an aggressive dog can minimize the victim's injuries and, perhaps, even save their lives.

Some of the things victims can do in such cases are:

  • Adopt the fetal position while protecting the vital organs

  • Avoid eye contact, smiling, or running

  • Give the dog something else to bite, such as a jacket or a shoe

  • Call for help

Importance of Reporting All Dog Bite Cases

Why do hospitals report dog bites in Texas? Well, the major reason is that it is the law. However, from a logical point of view, it also makes sense to report all dog bite cases when the following are considered:

Holding Dog Owners Responsible

In cases where the dog owner failed to exercise caution and reasonable care to prevent the victim from being bitten by a dangerous dog, they need to be held liable for their negligence.

If the dog bite is not reported to the relevant authorities soon after the attack it will be a lot more difficult to prove negligence later.

As such, no matter what the dog's owner says, victims need to report any dog bite to the authorities.

Protecting the Victim's Rights

In dog bite cases, the most important thing is protecting the rights of the victim. While the one-bite rule used in most states means the dog owner may face serious consequences for the dog bite, the rights of the innocent victim need to be considered first.

By reporting the dog bite immediately, the victim will initiate the very important paper trail which includes the details of the dog owner and medical reports that can be used to help them recover damages in the personal injury lawsuit.

In the Interest of Public Safety

Another thing that victims must remember is that once a dog bites a person, it is likely to do so again. This is because the dog has now learned that biting works against people when trying to stop an unwanted action.

As such, in the interest of public safety, every dog bite in Texas needs to be reported. The Local Rabies Control Authority (LRCA) will be responsible for handling the case.

Contrary to what many dog owners fear, it is not always the case that every dog that bites a person will be put down. As such, victims should not let their compassion for the dog or the dog owner get in the way of their duty to obey the law.

Steps to Take After Suffering Animal Bites

The steps that a person takes soon after being bitten by a dog will have a huge implication on their recoverable damages and the extent of the pain and suffering caused by the dog bite.

It is, therefore, important for victims to follow these three simple steps:

Seek Medical Care

Victims must remember that dogs are carriers of Rabies, which is a very serious disease that often causes fatalities in humans. As such, seeking medical care, even for a small dog bite injury is a must.

Administering first aid may help but victims must see a doctor, especially in cases where the vaccination status of the dog is unknown.

Report the Incident

According to the law, the hospital treating the victim will have to report the dog bite to the authorities as soon as the victim has been seen by the doctor. Filing a report of the dog bite is a great way to create an official record of the incident, which will be of great use during a personal injury lawsuit.

Gather Information for the Personal Injury Lawyer

After the victim's health has been guaranteed, it will be time to start thinking about recoverable damages. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can also help with questions like What is the one bite rule in Texas?

The one-bite rule will be a great asset in the fight for the victim's rights, but they will also have to do their part when it comes to gathering evidence and documenting the incident.

Victims can take pictures of their injuries, collect witness statements regarding the behavior of the dog, and gather all the official reports made to the authorities by the hospital.

All the gathered evidence can then be taken to reliable and experienced dog bite attorneys who will provide legal advice and fight for the victim's rights in court.

Can a Dog Owner Challenge the Victim's Claim?

In dog bite cases, especially those that result in severe injuries or fatalities, the dog owner is likely to try by all means to fight the victim's personal injury claim. This is also true when there is a possibility of the dog being euthanized or the dog owner facing criminal charges.

As such, it is not surprising for the dog owner and their legal team to use various defenses to avoid being found strictly liable. These defenses include:

  • Fighting the one-bite rule used in Texas and many states in the U.S.

  • Claiming the victim was trespassing in a secure enclosure

  • Disputing any additional evidence regarding the aggressive or threatening behavior of the dog before the attack

Economic Damages and Non-economic Damages in a Dog Bite Lawsuit

Whether or not the dog owner knew about the dangers posed by their animal, they are still liable for any losses and harm caused by the dog attack.

As such, the state of Texas entitles the victim to seek compensation from the dog owner, usually in the form of a monetary value that covers the following economic damages:

  • Doctors’ visits and Specialists’ appointments

  • Lost wages

  • Future medical expenses for any chronic conditions

  • Hospitalization, surgeries, and cost of medication

  • Psychological services for depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety disorders, and emotional distress

  • Physical therapy

The following are some of the non-economic damages Texas victims are entitled to:

  • Physical pain and suffering

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

  • Emotional and mental suffering

In rare cases where the dog's owner is also facing criminal charges, punitive damages may also be imposed.

An example of such a case is when it can be proved that the dog owner intended for the victim to get bitten by the dog.

A Good Lawyer Can Help Sue the Negligent Dog Owner

A Good Lawyer Can Help Sue the Negligent Dog Owner

When going against dog owners in dog bite lawsuits, victims need an experienced attorney who is willing to fight for their rights in court.

In Texas, Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys is known for its knowledge of the one-bite rule, excellent attorney/client relationship, and compassion for victims of animal bites.

Dog bite victims can call Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys right now and ask for a free consultation.


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