Compensation for Dog Attack Injuries

When someone is attacked and physically injured by a dog, there are a number of ways in which a victim can suffer harm. Physical injuries can be severe, requiring immediate emergency care and possibly long-term treatment. The emotional and psychological harm caused by a dog attack can last long after the physical injuries appear to have healed. We list here a few categories of harm, legally knowns as "damages," for which Texas law allows compensation.

Medical Treatment

A person responsible for injury to another as a result of a dog attack is liable for reasonable and necessary medical expenses. This includes emergency room care, surgery (including cosmetic), hospitalization, doctor visits, medication, and any other expense resulting from the attack. Medical treatment also includes psychiatrist, psychologist, and counselor visits to assist with emotional trauma.


Dog bites (and resulting surgery) can cause signifant scarring and permanent visible injury, legally known as "disfigurement." A dog bite victim can recover money damages for disfigurement. The amount of damages depends on the severity and location of the scarring or permanent visible injury, as well as other factors particular to the case. For example, a person with a permament three-inch scar on her face might recover more than she would for the same-sized scar on the back of one leg.

Physical Impairment

A serious injury can result in a victim being unable to move in a certain way or being physicallty unable to perform certain tasks. This is legally known as "physical impairment." Like disfigurement, compensation appropriate for physical impairment depends on the extent of the impairment. If a person will walk with a limp for the rest of his life, compensation for his physical impairment will probably be less than a person has has become paralyzed as a result of an animal attack.

Lost Wages / Loss of Earning Capacity

A person who misses work or is unable to run a business as a result of a dog bite can recover lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and/or lost profits. Lost wages are straightforward - the amount of money the person lost because he was unable to work as an employee. Loss of earning capacity is similar to lost wages and generally refers to a person's inability to work. If a dog attack victim seeks to prove that she lost profits in a business, she must do so with "reasonable certainty." A person can usually do so by using past tax returns and/or profit and loss statements.

Mental Anguish / Emotional Distress

Dog attacks resutling in injury will almost certainly cause mental anguish and emotional distress. This refers to the mental pain, torment, and/or suffering experienced by a person as a result of the attack. The law allows a dog bite victim to recover compensation for his mental anguish.

Loss of Consortium / Society and/or Loss of Household Services

A person related to a dig bite victim might be able to recover what the law refers to as loss of consortium or loss of society damages. Loss of consortium usually refers to damage to the relationship between husband and wife. Loss of society usually refers to damage to the relationship between parent and child. Loss of household services refers to the loss of services provided by the injured person to a spouse. Whether these types of damages are available depends on several factors, including whether a dog attack resulted in death.


Texas has a "wrongful death" statute which provides a claim for certain persons as a result of the death of a related person. A parent, for example, can recover damages for the death of a child as a result of an animal attack. The actual damages which are available are similar to those described above.


Unfortunately, there are times when a person is seriously injured or killed as a result of a dog attack and there is no compensation available for the victim or family members. Perhaps no one can locate the owner of the dog. Or, perhaps the dog's owner has no assets or insurance. A dog bite attorney might not be able to recover any damages in such a situation. However, when the person responsible for the dog is a homeowner, he or she is likely to have homeowner's insurance. Most Texas homeowner's policies cover dog bite cases.Even so, a policy might contain exclusions, such as excluding claims regarding wild animals kept by the homeowner. A lawyer should examine the policy to determine whether there will be coverage for the animal attack.

Our law firm’s principal office is in downtown Dallas, Texas, but we represent people across Texas, for dog bite and animal attack claims, in cities and areas including the following:  Abilene, Albany, Alice, Alpine, Amarillo, Angleton, Arlington, Austin, Bay City, Baytown, Beaumont, Benavides, Big Spring, Boerne, Bonham, Bowie, Brazoria, Brownsville, Brownwood, Bryan, Buffalo, Carthage, Centerville, Childress, Clarksville, Cleburne, College Station, Commerce, Conroe, Corpus Christi, Corsicana, Crockett, Daingerfield, Dalhart, Dallas, Decatur, Del Rio, Denton, DFW Metroplex, Dumas, Eagle Pass, Eastland, Edinburg, El Paso, Emory, Ennis, Fairfield, Falfurrias, Fort Stockton, Fort Worth, Freer, Gainesville, Galveston, Garland, Gatesville, Gilmer, Granbury, Grapevine, Greenville, Groom, Harlingen, Henderson, Hillsboro, Houston, Huntsville, Irving, Jacksboro, Jasper, Kaufman, Kerrville, Killeen, Kingsville, Kingwood, Laredo, Liberty, Livingston, Llano, Longview, Lorena, Lubbock, Lufkin, Mansfield, Marathon, Marshall, McAllen, Mesquite, Midland, Mineola, Mineral Wells, Mount Pleasant, Mount Vernon, Nacogdoches, New Braunfels, Odessa, Orange, Ozona, Palestine, Pampa, Paris, Pasadena, Pearland, Pecos, Pharr, Plainview, Port Arthur, Quinlan, Raymondville, Richland, Rio Grande City, Rio Grande Valley, Sanford, Sonora, San Angelo, San Antonio, San Marcos, Seguin, Shamrock, Sheffield, Sherman, Spring, Stephenville, Sulphur Springs, Sweetwater, Tawakoni, Temple, Terrell, Texarkana, Texas City, Thurber, Tulia, Tyler, Van Horn, Vernon, Victoria, Waco, Waxahachie, Weatherford, Wharton, Whitesboro, Whitewright, Wichita Falls, Wills Point, The Woodlands, and Woodville. Website and all contents copyright 2010 by Law Offices of Dean Malone, P.C. All rights reserved.

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