What is the One-Bite Rule?
A dog bite can cause serious and disfiguring injuries to victims, as those bitten are often left with deep wounds and permanent scars. This is particularly true for young victims, who are frequently left with painful and disfiguring injuries to their arms, neck and face.
Here in Texas, dog bite victims have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against a dog owner in the aftermath of an attack. Under Texas law, however, victims can only pursue compensation if the dog was known to be dangerous at the time of the attack. This is sometimes known as the “One Bite Rule.”
The one bite rule states that all dogs are assumed to be safe until they demonstrate that they are dangerous. If a previously well behaved dog bites someone, the owner cannot be held liable, because the dog was assumed to be safe and therefore the injury could not have been predicted. This is sometimes referred to as the “one free bite.”
After a dog has bitten someone, it can then be considered dangerous. The owner must forevermore remain on guard, because he or she will be held responsible for any injuries that dog causes from that day forward.
What if you or a loved one was injured by a dog? Even if it was the dog’s first attack, you could still have an effective case if you can show that the dog was obviously threatening or dangerous prior to the bite. There are a number of dog behaviors that should put an owner on guard:
· Threatening behavior: Growling or snapping at visitors should be a warning sign for dog owners.
· Jumping on people: Large dogs can cause serious injury by jumping up on humans. Owners who are aware of this behavior can be held responsible for any injuries that result.
· Frightening behavior: If the dog frightens or chases passersby, even when separated by a fence, the owner may be found liable.
· Complaints about the dog: If neighbors complain that the dog has attacked a person or acted in a threatening manner, the owner can be considered “on notice” for dangerous behavior.
If you can show that the owner should have been aware that his or her dog was dangerous, you may be able to pursue a successful claim. However, this type of case can be challenging. It is advisable to move forward only with the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney.
If you have questions about the one-bite rule or wish to pursue a claim, attorney Robert Greening is prepared to help. To schedule a one-on-one consultation at Greening Law, P.C., contact our Dallas law office online or call 972-934-8900.