I was riding my bicycle in Oak Cliff, Dallas Texas on November 1, 2016 when I was attacked by a dog. I suffered serious injuries including a fracture of my vertebrae my low back and significant lacerations on my hands and face. I know the owner of the dog does not keep the dog inside the fence and allows it to roam in the neighborhood. Do I have a case?
In Texas a dog owner may be liable for the injuries that his dog inflicts on someone else. There are two theories of all that will allow recovery in Texas.
The dog owner is liable for victims injuries based on the theory of negligent handling of his dog. The elements of a cause of action for injury caused by the negligent handling of an animal are the following:
1. The dog owner was the owner or possessor of the animal;
2. The dog owner had a duty to exercise reasonable care to prevent the animal from injuring others;
3. The dog owner breached the duty ;
4. The dog owner’s breach proximate cause the victim’s injury.
In other words, the victim must show that the dog owners negligent handling of his dog was a breach of duty which proximately caused the victims injuries and subsequent damages.
In addition, a dog owner may be liable for a dog attacking someone when they knew the dog had a prior history of violent behavior toward strangers.
The dog owner is liable under this theory based on the theory of strict liability for injuries caused by dangerous domesticated animals. The elements of a cause of action for strict liability for injuries caused dangerous domesticated animals are the following:
1. The dog owner owned or possessed the animal;
2. The animal had dangerous propensities abnormal to its class;
3. The dog owner knew or had reason to know the animal had dangerous propensities;
4. The animals dangerous propensities were the producing cause of the victim’s injuries;
A thorough investigation by the attorney is crucial in order to gather evidence to support liability of the dog owner. In most cases the homeowners insurance policy will cover this kind of claim. If you have a question regarding this kind of accident please call my Fort Worth or Dallas office for free consultation