You have the right to be free from assault by other members of society or their animals. This basic right is one of the underpinnings of a civil society yet one we still struggle to protect. People are assaulted by physical attacks, sexual assaults and attacks by pets or livestock of other people all the time. These assaults can cause substantial injury that can result in long term and even permanent physical and emotional injuries. Under Texas law you have the right to recover for these injuries. Evaluating injury claims and recovering a just amount for your injuries can be a challenge.
Physical Assaults in Texas
Evaluating an assault claim can be difficult. Like other injury claims, because it requires understanding how to value existing and future effects of the injury. These often include easily identified existing losses like medical bills; but also evaluations of potential future medical bills (such as reconstructive surgery) and future lost wages and loss of mobility.
Recovery can be problematic even once a value has been assessed and a judgment in the plaintiff’s favor has been awarded by a jury or judge, the victim still must find ways to recover for the losses. Often individuals directly responsible for the assault do not have the financial resources to pay the judgment. The victim may have to consider all parties who share some of the blame for the assault occurring and file a lawsuit against multiple parties to find justice. These may include a property owner where the assault occurred, an employer who employed the person who caused the assault if the assault occurred while the individual was at work and so forth.
Sexual Assaults in Texas
Sexual assaults suffer from many of the same problems as physical attacks in evaluating and recovering on a claim. An added challenge is that most sexual assaults do not result in significant physical injury. Instead they often cause significant emotional injuries which can be more difficult to evaluate and prove to a jury. Nevertheless it is possible to prevail on a sexual assault claim and the difficulties that may be involved in a particular claim should not prevent you from speaking with an attorney who can review your claim and help assess how to proceed. Sexual assaults and other forms of harassment can be dangerous.
Animal Attacks in Texas
Dog and other animal bites can range from very minor to very serious injuries requiring significant medical treatment and cause permanent disfigurement. One in every six dog bites requires medical attention. If you are injured by a dog bite it is important to know what you need to do and what your rights are. Just because the owner of the dog or other animal may be a neighbor, co-worker, friend, or even a relative, you have a right to be compensated for your medical bills as well as your pain and suffering. The owner of the dog is responsible for controlling his or her dog and any injury the dog causes.
If you or somebody in your family is injured by a dog bite you may have a right to recover for the medical bills associated with the injury, compensation for pain and suffering and any wages you may have lost due to the injury or medical treatment. Texas law on dog bites is not as strict as some states and this can limit your ability to recover for your injuries.
Texas follows the “one bite rule.” This means the dog gets one free bite or one free attempted bite before the owner is responsible for the vicious attacks. The victim must prove the dog has either bitten somebody before or has shown vicious tendencies that would have made the owner aware that a vicious attack was probable. It is not always easy for the victim to prove, especially if you are not familiar with the owner.
Most, if not all, cities in Texas have animal control ordinances that require owners to take certain steps to prevent injuries to others, such as leash laws and laws requiring dogs remain in enclosures. If bitten, these laws provide no help in preventing your injury; but they can prove the owner failed to take the steps required by the law. That failure can be evidence of the owner’s negligence. Dog owners are often full of excuses why it is not their fault their dogs attacked somebody else; but those excuses may not prevail over negligence proven by failing to comply with local animal control ordinances.
Dog bite cases almost always end up as a battle between the victim and a liability insurance company. Insurance companies are crafty and full of excuses. If the dog owner owns his or her home there is likely homeowner’s insurance responsible for paying for your injury. The dog owner may be a renter in a house or apartment complex. The property owner’s insurance may be responsible for paying those claims. Regardless, the insurance companies are difficult to deal with if you do not have a competent Texas attorney advocating for you.