In Texas, Can You File a Lawsuit for a Dog Bite a Month After the Bite Happened?
Dealing with animal bites can be stressful and confusing. As a victim, you may be afraid to tell anyone about the bite because you don’t want to make a big deal of the injury or get anyone in trouble, or you might just want to see how the bite heals before doing anything about it. This could lead to a delay in taking any official action – but how long can you delay before you lose the opportunity to sue?
Typically, victims of injury on another person’s property – including victims of dog bite injuries – have 2 years to file a claim under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.003. However, there may be sooner deadlines that require you to report the bite to authorities or insurance companies, so you should really speak with a lawyer and start looking into the potential of a lawsuit as soon as you can.
If you were bit by a dog in Texas, call The Queenan Law Firm. Our Arlington dog bite injury attorneys are prepared to advise you on what to do next and how to report the bite. For help, call our lawyers to set up a free legal consultation at (817) 476-1797.
What Is the Statute of Limitations on Dog Bite Injury Cases in Texas?
In general, injury victims have up to 2 years to file a claim for injuries. This includes victims of dog bites, who can technically file a lawsuit any time up to 2 years after the date of the injury.
Victims might wait a month or even more just to see how the injury begins to heal and if they have any lingering pain or other effects. For victims who are mauled or who face serious facial bites and other wounds, the idea of waiting to take action might never cross their mind – but for people with moderate or mild injuries, waiting may seem important.
In general, you should always act sooner rather than later with injury cases. Not only are there documents for your attorney to draft and forms for them to fill out before your case can be filed, but there is also evidence to collect to help prove your case. If you wait too long to speak with an attorney and get the ball rolling, important evidence could be lost that would have helped your case. Especially if the dog was put down during the time you waited to speak to a lawyer, it could be difficult to prove that the bite even matched the dog in question’s teeth pattern.
Act quickly and talk to a lawyer as soon as you can after a dog bite injury. There are also some other earlier requirements you might want to meet.
How Long Do I Have to Report a Dog Bite in Texas?
The BARC Animal Shelter in Houston says that all dog animal bites should be reported by calling 3-1-1 right away. Obviously, if you need an ambulance for serious injuries, you should also call 9-1-1 right away after the bite instead of waiting any amount of time to seek medical attention.
Texas Health and Safety Code § 826.041 requires animal bites to be reported if the animal might have rabies. This is an important public safety concern and, while there is no explicit time requirement for reporting these bites, it is safer for everyone if suspected rabies causes are caught immediately. In most cases of dog bites at a friend or neighbor’s house, the dog will not have rabies. Nevertheless, it is still important to follow reporting requirements.
Reporting the dog bite to the police and medical authorities can also be helpful in two major ways. First, the police can create an incident report that can help you prove when and where the bite happened if you take your case to court. Second, medical care can begin right away, potentially helping your injury to heal better and faster.
If injuries go untreated, the wound could become infected, potentially leading to further injury or even amputation or death if an infected injury goes untreated. Even if the injury is not that severe, getting quick medical attention can help prevent scarring. Getting medical attention also helps create records of how bad the injury was and when it happened, which are again vital pieces of information to have going into a dog bite lawsuit.
Do not hesitate to tell the authorities about the bite. These reporting laws are there for a reason – and seeking medical attention for an injury is always preferred over waiting to see what happens.
Should I File an Insurance Claim or Lawsuit for Dog Bites in Texas?
Insurance claims typically follow the same rules as lawsuits and must be filed within 2 years. However, insurance policies might have sooner deadlines for some claims. Never assume that you have extra time without consulting with a lawyer – and discuss the specifics of your case with a lawyer to determine the right path to pursue your case.
Many dog bite cases can be handled through homeowners insurance claims if the bite happened on the dog owner’s property. These claims can help pay for medical treatment if you needed stitches or antibiotics. However, more serious injuries might require additional damages. Severe injuries could involve extensive medical care costs, plus damages for pain and suffering. These might not always be available through insurance claims, so talk to a lawyer for help determining the best way to proceed with your case.
Call Our Texas Dog Bite Injury Lawyers Today
For a free legal consultation on your dog bite injury case, contact The Queenan Law Firm. Our Dallas dog bite injury attorneys fight for injury victims and their families after serious injuries. Call us at (817) 476-1797.