Lillian’s Law: What it Means for Texas Dog Bite Victims


As a Dallas-Fort Worth dog bite attorney, I know that injuries suffered in attacks by vicious dogs can be extremely severe. Although dogs are commonly regarded as domesticated pets, they are still animals with impulses. When a dog attacks a human, injuries can include lacerations, puncture wounds and broken bones. In the most serious cases, vicious dog attacks can result in horrific disfiguration, skull fractures and even death.

To help protect the innocent from vicious dog attacks, there exists a law called Lillian's Law. 

Lillian's Law in Texas Explained 

Lillian’s Law was established in 2007 and was named after Lillian Stiles, a 76-year-old woman from Milam County who was mauled to death by dogs while mowing her front lawn in Thorndale, Texas. Stiles was attacked by a pack of six Rottweiler/pit bull mixes who had escaped their owner’s yard in November 2005. The attack was unprovoked, and Mrs. Stiles was killed as a result of her wounds.

The owner of the dogs, Jose Hernandez, was found not guilty of negligent homicide. Soon after that verdict, our state legislators introduced Lillian’s Law so that negligent dog owners who allowed their animals to run loose would be punished. Although it does nothing to improve the civil rights of innocent dog attack victims who had been injured or killed as a result of vicious dogs, a good dog attack lawyer is often able to achieve a better result in their client’s personal injury claim if the owner of the dogs who attacked them is found guilty under Lillian’s Law.

Under Lillian’s Law, a dog owner faces charges of a third degree felony (including two to ten years of prison time, and a fine of $10,000) if their dog caused serious bodily injury to another person. If the dog attack was fatal, then the dog owner faces a second degree felony, and the potential punishment is increased to 20 years imprisonment.

Understand Your Legal Rights in Texas 

If you or a member of your family has been injured or killed by a vicious dog in Texas, you have a right to compensation. First, in order to build your case, you'll need to prove owner negligence

As a Fort Worth dog bite lawyer, I know that Texas dog bite law is notoriously complex. For this reason, many people think that they can't make a dog bite claim unless the aggressive dog has bitten someone before. It's called the "one bite rule," and it doesn't always apply. 

If you've been attacked by a dog in Texas, you CAN file a claim again the owner, even if their dog hasn't ever bitten anyone before. In order to do this, you'll need to establish negligence, meaning you'll need to prove that the owner's actions led their dog to attack you. 

(Want more information? Download my free book "How to Make a Successful Dog Bite Injury Claim In Texas" here.) 

Need a Dog Bite Attorney in Dallas-Fort Worth? 

Contact us online or call locally at Fort Worth 817-294-1900 or Dallas 214-327-8000. We also have offices in Arlington and Keller by appointment only.

Other Articles You Might Be Interested In:
Is There A Deadline For Submitting A Personal Injury Claim?   
Winning Your Texas Dog Attack Case: Proving Owner Negligence
Strict Liability: Making a Claim against a Vicious Dog Owner
Making A Claim Against Your Neighbor