The “One Bite” Rule | Defenses to a Dog Bite Claim
A dog is man’s best friend until you encounter an aggressive canine. As a general rule, when you have suffered injury in an unprovoked attack by a domesticated dog, you have a right to seek compensation for your losses.
The Dog Bite Laws in Texas
Unlike many states, Texas does not have a statute (written law enacted by the legislature) that sets forth potential financial responsibility when your dog bites another person. Instead, Texas follows the “one bite” or negligence rule. Under the one bite principle, a person may only recover damages from the owner of a dog by showing either:
- The owner had knowledge that the dog had acted aggressively or bitten someone before, or
- The owner was careless or negligent in controlling the dog
To prove negligence, you must demonstrate that the dog owner’s behavior was unreasonable. Letting a dog roam freely (without supervision) may constitute negligence, but that will ultimately be determined by a jury.
Defenses to a Dog Bite Claim in Texas
There are generally two defenses that can be raised to avoid liability for a dog bite claim: that you had no prior knowledge or warning that the dog was or would be aggressive; or that the victim was wrongfully trespassing on your property at the time of the attack.
It’s important to note that, even if you had no prior knowledge, you may still be responsible if your actions are considered negligent. For example, if you are on your front sidewalk with your dog (not letting the dog roam unsupervised) and the dog nips at your neighbor without warning, you may not be liable. On the other hand, if your dog is on your front sidewalk unsupervised and nips your neighbor, you may have liability.
Contact the Proven Dog Bite Lawyers at the Rafi Law Group
At our office, every new client is entitled to a free initial consultation. To arrange a meeting, contact us online or call the Rafi Law Group at 214-224-0064. Our phones are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Home and hospital visits can be set up by request.
We take all dog bite and animal attack claims on a contingent fee basis. You won’t incur legal fees unless we get compensation for your losses. We will also advance all expenses. Se habla Espanol.