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.)
Things to Consider
Dog bite victims may occasionally be reluctant to consider contacting a personal injury claim for several reasons. First, due to the proximity of where the dog bite took place, victims of dog bites may be reluctant to file a lawsuit against their neighbor. When a lawsuit is filed, the entity that deals with the lawsuit are not the person themselves, but the insurance company that provides them coverage, such as renter’s insurance and the like.
Also, it may be important to file a lawsuit to ensure that the dog bite does not happen again. Nobody should suffer the way you did when you experienced your dog bite, and this is something you can prevent from happening again through a lawsuit; the person responsible for the lawsuit will be deterred from permitting their dog to attack someone else, and/or they can take preventive measures to ensure that their dog is not escaping from their house.
Another thing to keep in mind is the fact that a dog bite that has created serious injuries may take time - weeks, months, or even years - to fully heal. This means there may be additional costs associated with the treatment of the dog bite, and it is something that can be covered through a personal injury lawsuit! When our legal team creates a demand for a client, we make sure that any future expenses related to the injury will be fully covered, and the client will not have to pay anything out-of-pocked for their medical treatment.
Need a Dog Bite Attorney in Dallas-Fort Worth?
Remember, there are laws in the state of Texas that are designed to protect injured victims who have sustained personal injury, and they are there as your rights! You do not have to fight the dog bite situation by yourself. Contact our law firm today if you have any questions, and we will be more than happy to help you. You may be entitled to receive compensation for your dog bite injuries under Lilian’s Law and through filing a personal injury case. There are many types of compensation that can relieve the pressure from your dog bite, including compensation for medical bills, lost wages, physical pain and suffering, emotional pain and suffering, and more. Remember, you do not have to be stuck paying for an accident that was not caused by you. You have rights! 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.