Dog Bites in Texas: Can You Sue The Owner?

Dogs are lovable pets, but they are still animals and unfortunately, any dog can bite. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year, with children being the most common victim of dog bites.  In 2021, Texas was one of the top ten states reporting dog bites.  Although some dog bites are superficial, roughly 1 in 5 dog bites require medical attention.  Dog bites are preventable.  If you or someone you know was bitten by someone else’s dog, the owner may be liable for your damages.  

To determine if you have a case, there are a few factors to consider.  Texas operates under the “one bite” rule, which protects owners from liability for their dog’s first bite assuming that the owner had no knowledge of aggressive behavior of their pet.  There are exceptions to this rule if there is proof that the dog has previously shown aggressive behavior prior to the dog bite.  After the first bite, however, the owner knows that their dog has shown aggressive behavior and can then potentially be held liable for any future attacks.

To prove that the dog’s owner is liable for injuries, we must prove that:

  • The owner knew of the dog’s aggressive behavior (ex. A previous bite or attempting to bite someone before)
  • The owner showed negligence by failing to prevent the bite or attack (ex. Failing to use a leash when required or failure to provide proper fencing)

What kind of injuries can you get from a dog bite?

Dog bite injuries are not always serious, but they can be.  Dog bites can also be extremely traumatic, especially for children.  Here are some common injuries from dog bites:

  • Fractured or broken bones
  • Puncture wounds and deep cuts or lacerations
  • Scarring and Disfigurement
  • Nerve damage
  • Loss of mobility of limbs
  • Facial injuries
  • Rabies
  • Wrongful Death

In addition to these injuries, dog bite victims may suffer from emotional effects.  Victims may suffer from emotional distress from scars and disfigurement, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), intense fear of dogs and other animals, etc.

If you are bitten by someone else’s dog:

  • Ask for the owner’s name and contact information.
  • Ask for proof of rabies vaccination from the owner.
  • Thoroughly clean the wound with soap and water as soon as possible.
  • Seek medical attention or contact your doctor immediately.
  • Contact the dog’s veterinarian to confirm vaccination status.

Legal Options for Dog Bites in Texas

If you or someone you know was the victim of a dog bite, contact us at 214-575-6060 for a free case consultation.  As a small law firm, Winocour Law gives personal attention to each and every case.  We care as much about your case as you do so do not hesitate to reach out with any questions. 


American Veterinary Medical Association. Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook 2020-2021 edition. 2021. 
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dog bite prevention web pages. Retrieved May 2023.