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When Is the Dog’s Owner Liable in A Texas Dog Bite Case?

M Gardner March 2, 2023

Most people smile when they see a dog, as the average canine is friendly and outgoing. They will excitedly greet even total strangers and are open to affectionate petting from adults and children alike. Unfortunately, some dogs are aggressive animals that don’t like interacting with people, while others may have always been kind until they snap one day and hurt a human.

If a dog bites you or a member of your family, there could be thousands of dollars in medical costs that result. In addition to trauma care, there could be infections that arise later. The wound can cause disfigurement without appropriate treatment. There could also be mental health issues that require expensive support.

Who is liable to cover those costs after a dog turns aggressive in Texas?

Texas Gives Owners the Benefit of The Doubt

State law and existing legal precedent determine the rights of dog bite victims and the responsibilities of an animal’s owner after it bites a person. Any animal can become aggressive, but that doesn’t mean people have to treat every dog as a dangerous and aggressive animal.

Only dogs that have displayed aggression previously or bitten a person before open their owners up to liability. A decades-old civil court ruling in Texas establishes a one-bite rule. If someone attacked by a dog and injured can show that the owner knew the animal was aggressive or that it hurt someone else previously, they can likely hold the owner accountable in civil court.

If the animal has never displayed aggressive tendencies previously, the owner may not have legal liability for the animal’s behavior.

Homeowner’s or Renter’s Insurance Can Help

You don’t always have to go to court to pay for dog bite expenses. The insurance policy that applies to a dwelling unit typically protects the resident against premises liability. Provided that the animal’s owner has appropriate coverage and that the insurance company was aware of the dog’s presence, you can potentially file a claim for any direct losses that you can connect to the animal attack.

Educating yourself about animal ownership and premises liability laws in Texas can help you minimize your household expenses related to an attack by someone else’s dog.