Last week, the Austin American Statesman reported that dog attacks are increasing in Austin. The number of dog attacks has increased every year since 2007. This year is no exception. Austin has experienced over 1,000 attacks so far, on pace to break last year’s record.
These are not good statistics. I’ve represented a number of victims of dog attacks, ranging from the run-of-the-mill attacks to a horrific case where a dog attacked and killed a young child.
These are often terrible cases for those involved. With aggressive dogs, there is usually significant pain and trauma relating to the original attack. Many serious attacks have long-term physical consequences, including physical limitations and scarring. And almost all involve permanent psychological scarring.
Legally, there are a number of different avenues of claims that may be made. The obvious claim stemming from a dog attack is against the dog owner. In Texas, dog owners have various responsibilities to help protect the public from unsafe dogs.
If the dog owner was a renter, there may be a claim against the home or apartment owner, depending on the specific facts of the attack. Additionally, if the dog owner was a renter and a property management company was involved, the property management company also has duties and responsibilities that it must follow.
The more difficult situation in these cases is finding funds for a recovery. Traditionally, homeowners’ insurance companies have provided coverage for these claims. Now, as insurance companies are becoming more aware of how serious these claims are, many companies are starting to exclude coverage for dog attack claims. This is important information to know not only for the victim of attack, but also for dog owners. If you own a dog, talk to your insurance company and make sure that you’re covered should something go wrong.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a dog attack, please call us for help at (512)476-4944.