A dog is a man’s best friend. Dogs are loyal and loving animals, However, if treated badly they may become vicious.
A dog that has no history of aggression attacks an intruder, is the dog owner held liable for the intruder’s injuries?
In Texas, there are two ways a dog owner can be held liable for a dog bite. Either by negligence or strict liability.
Dog Owners Are Held Liable Through Negligence
In Texas, dog owners are responsible for caring for their dogs and preventing any foreseeable harm. Failure to do this can hold the owner liable for negligence.
Negligence occurs when:
- A dog owner breached a duty of care to another person
- The owner breached the duty in some way
- Another person suffers an injury
- The owner failed to act
To avoid negligence, a dog owner should keep their dog on a leash at all times, securing a dog in a fenced-in yard, and always treat your dog with kindness so that your dog does not become aggressive.
If an attack does occur, a dog owner should try and stop the attack to avoid claims of negligence.
Failure to stop the attack from happening potentially holds you financially responsible for the harm caused by your dog. It does not matter if your dog does not have a history of aggression.
Dog Owners Can Be Strictly Liable For Dog Bite Injuries
Texas has a “one bite rule”. A one-bite rule means that a dog owner is not held responsible for any dog bite injuries caused by a dog’s first attack. The owner is only held liable if the owner knew or should have known that their dog had a history of aggression.
After the first free bite, a dog owner is held liable if the dog bit someone, attempted to bite someone, or showed aggression towards someone holds the owner liable for future attacks.