Many in Texas mistakenly believe that you may not sue over a dog bite if the dog has never bitten before. While Texas has a law commonly referred to as the “first-bite” defense, there are many ways around this defense. If the dog has known dangerous propensities the owner can still be held liable even if the dog has never bitten before. Dangerous propensities could include dogs that have chased or growled at people, attacked other animals, or even barked aggressively. Additionally, owners can be held responsible for failing to restrain, leash, or fence a dog that does not have dangerous propensities. The Texas “first-bite” defense is not absolute.
The number of dog bites in the US is staggering. About 5 million people are bitten by a dog each year, and children are the most likely to be bitten. Dog bite claims account for about one third of all homeowner’s insurance claims. Tracking down a homeowner’s coverage for a dog bite claim is a special task that requires special knowledge of the law in Texas. Most homeowner’s policies will provide coverage for dog bites that happen at parks and off the homeowner’s property.