Understanding the Texas One-Bite Rule: Navigating Liability in Dog Bite Cases

Dog bites can lead to severe physical and emotional injuries. In Houston, Texas, the “one-bite rule” governs liability in dog bite cases. This rule can be complex and difficult to understand, especially for victims seeking compensation for their injuries.

In this article, we will provide an overview of the Texas one-bite rule, discuss the elements necessary to establish liability in a dog bite case, and explain how the Adley Law Firm can help you navigate the legal process.

The Texas One-Bite Rule: An Overview

The one-bite rule is a common law principle that holds dog owners liable for injuries caused by their dogs only if the owner knew or should have known that the dog had a propensity to bite. This rule is based on the idea that a dog owner is not responsible for their dog’s actions unless they had reason to believe that the dog was dangerous.

In Texas, the one-bite rule applies to dog bite cases, meaning that a victim must prove the dog owner’s knowledge of the dog’s dangerous propensities in order to recover damages.

Establishing Knowledge of Dangerous Propensities

To establish liability under the Texas one-bite rule, a dog bite victim must prove that the dog owner knew or should have known about the dog’s dangerous propensities. This can be done through evidence such as:

  • A prior bite incident involving the same dog
  • Aggressive behavior displayed by the dog, such as growling or lunging
  • The dog’s breed, if it is known to be aggressive or dangerous
  • The dog owner’s own statements or actions, such as a warning to stay away from the dog or a history of keeping the dog restrained

It is important to note that a single prior bite is not always sufficient to establish knowledge of dangerous propensities. Courts will consider the circumstances surrounding the prior bite, such as whether it was provoked or unprovoked, and the severity of the injuries caused.

Other Liability Theories in Texas Dog Bite Cases

While the one-bite rule is the primary basis for liability in Texas dog bite cases, victims may also be able to recover damages under other legal theories, such as:


A dog owner may be held liable for a dog bite if they failed to exercise reasonable care in controlling or restraining their dog, and this failure led to the victim’s injuries. Examples of negligence may include allowing a dog to roam freely in a neighborhood or not properly securing a dog in a fenced yard.

Negligence Per Se

Negligence per se is a legal concept that establishes liability when a person violates a statute or regulation designed to protect the public. In the context of dog bites, a victim may be able to establish negligence per se if the dog owner violated a local leash law or other animal control regulation.

Strict Liability for “Dangerous Dogs”

Under Texas law, a dog owner may be held strictly liable for injuries caused by their dog if the dog is classified as a “dangerous dog” under state or local law. A dangerous dog is generally defined as one that has previously attacked a person without provocation or has been determined to pose a significant threat to public safety.

How the Adley Law Firm Can Help

Navigating the complexities of the Texas one-bite rule and other liability theories in dog bite cases can be overwhelming, especially for victims dealing with physical and emotional trauma. The Adley Law Firm is dedicated to helping dog bite victims in Houston and the surrounding areas understand their legal rights and pursue the compensation they deserve.

Personalized Attention and Exceptional Representation

At the Adley Law Firm, our experienced personal injury attorneys take the time to understand the unique circumstances of each client’s case. We work tirelessly to gather evidence, build strong legal arguments, and advocate on our clients’ behalf in negotiations and in court.

No Recovery, No Fee

We understand the financial burdens that can come with a dog bite injury, which is why we offer our services on a contingency fee basis. This means that you do not owe us any fees unless we recover compensation on your behalf.

Call the Adley Law Firm Today for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one has been injured by a dog in Houston or the surrounding areas, don’t wait to seek legal help. Contact the Adley Law Firm today at (555) 555-5555 for a free, no-obligation consultation. We will evaluate your case, explain your legal options, and guide you through the process of pursuing the compensation you deserve.

In Conclusion: Understanding and Navigating the Texas One-Bite Rule

The Texas one-bite rule can be a complex and challenging aspect of dog bite cases. By understanding the elements necessary to establish liability and the other legal theories that may apply, victims can better navigate the legal process and pursue the compensation they deserve. With the help of an experienced dog bite injury attorney like those at the Adley Law Firm, victims can ensure that their rights are protected and that they receive the best possible representation in their case.

Remember, if you or a loved one has suffered from a dog bite, don’t hesitate to contact the Adley Law Firm for a free consultation.

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