Lawsuit Alleges Dog Bite Led to Foot Amputation
A man is suing his neighbor after the neighbor’s dogs got loose and attacked him. As a result of the attack, half of the man’s foot had to be amputated. He is seeking more than $1 million in damages.
The attack occurred on June 26. The victim alleges that the dogs were not restrained and allowed to run loose—a violation of local ordinances. The dogs attacked the man who was bitten on his left foot. Doctors could not save the entire foot so they removed the parts that were damaged in the attack.
The dog bite lawsuit further states that the owners of the dog were aware that the dogs were aggressive prior to allowing them to walk around unrestrained. Below, we’ll take a look at the claim and how it relates to Texas’ dog bite statute.
Texas’ Dog Bite Statute
Unlike just about every other state, Texas has no specific dog bite statute. That doesn’t mean that you can’t sue a negligent dog owner for an attack. Typically, states are divided into two types when it comes to dog bite laws. Those are strict liability and negligence states. In negligence states, the dog owner must have either known the dog was dangerous or aggressive or the dog must have bitten someone prior (the one bite rule). In strict liability states, it doesn’t matter if the dog had ever bitten anyone before, the owner is liable regardless.
Texas (more or less) operates like a negligence state. A plaintiff must show that both of the following are true:
- The dog’s owner knew that the dog had either bitten someone before or had acted aggressively; and
- That the dog’s owner failed to use reasonable care to restrain the dog from attacking others.
While Texas leans toward the one bite rule, there are certain situations in which an owner is strictly liable. Texas courts will apply a strict liability rule if the dog is known to be vicious, aggressive, or dangerous. In other words, if a person has been bitten by a dog that their owner knew to be dangerous or had bitten someone else before, then the plaintiff would not have to prove that the dog owner failed to use ordinary care to restrain the dog.
Analyzing the Plaintiff’s Case
There are two things working for the plaintiff in this case. Firstly, the dogs were allowed out in violation of local ordinances. It is not clear if the dogs were with their owner from the article. However, it is clear that the owners failed to exercise ordinary care in restraining the dogs. The second part of the question is: Were the dogs known to be vicious prior to the attack. In this case, the plaintiff is alleging that they were while the defendant will likely maintain that they were not.
Talk to a Houston Dog Bite Attorney Today
If you’ve been bitten by a dangerous or aggressive dog, the Houston dog bite attorneys at Livingston & Flowers can help you file a lawsuit against the dog’s owner. Talk to us today to set up a free consultation.