Over 53 million people own dogs as pets in the United States. Most dog owners likely don’t think their pet will bite or maul someone. However, there are an estimated 4.7 million victims of dog bites each year. About half of those victims are children. The second most commonly bitten group of victims is the elderly.

Austin requires any dog bite to be reported to Animal Protection. Should any medical attention be needed, victims are required to complete an Animal Bite Report. Those can be downloaded from Austin’s Animal Protection website.

The owner of a dog that bites someone in Austin must give Animal Protection proof that his or her dog has had a rabies vaccination. Should the owner be unable to produce the vaccination record, then the animal must be placed in quarantine.

There is also a chance that the owner of a dog that bit someone may be held liable for any medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, permanent or temporary disability, scarring and disfigurement, as well as other economic and non-economic damages. In some cases, a victim may be contacted by the dog owner’s insurance company. Some homeowner’s policies cover dog bites. This means that the insurance company could pressure dog bite victims to accept a low settlement. This can be very harmful to a victim’s financial future.

An attorney experienced in personal injury cases can provide more information to dog bite victims on how to file a lawsuit in civil court. Victims of dog bites can hold the owners responsible for injuries and other damages when they occur.

Source: austintx.gov, “Animal Protection” accessed Mar. 04, 2015