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Gross Negligence Verdict in Dog Bite Case in Austin

Punitive Damages Awarded in Austin, TX Dog Bite Case

Tony Plohetski, investigative reporter for KVUE, talked with the victim, his caregivers, and attorney Jason McMinn, founder, McMinn Law Firm in Austin about the injury, recovery, trial, outcome, award, punitive damages, and implications of the recent Georgetown dog bite trial.

Click to view dog attack trial news story.

I think the verdict speaks volumes for what the Williamson County Citizens feel about feeling safe in their backyard. It also sends a clear message that pet owners need to take responsibility when they know they have a dangerous animal and it has previously bitten someone.

-Jason McMinn, founder McMinn Law Firm


Austin Personal Injury Lawyer Jason McMinn’s Trial Win for Dog Attack Victim Featured on KVUE News

Dec 16, 2015:

Today in a trial with McMinn Law Firm representing the dog bite victim, members of the jury found defendants to be guilty of negligence and gross negligence. The verdict awarded $110,000, 10K of which are purely punitive damages. Attorney’s Fees: $44,000.

Texas Has “One Bite Rule,” which means: One Dog – One Bite

This means that the case for liability must be proven to the courts. Under the “one bite rule,” to receive compensation for the injury, the owner had to know the dog had bitten before or had tried to bite; therefore, the owner had knowledge of the dog’s behavior. (Restatement of Torts, Section 509)

The standard for determining if a dog owner is “negligent,” and, therefore, liable for the actions of their dog was established by the Texas courts, Allen ex rel, B.A. v Albin, 97 S.W. 3d 655, 665 (Tex. App.-Waco 202, no pet). “To recover on a negligent handling claim, a plaintiff must prove:

  • (1) the defendant owned or possessed an animal;
  • (2) the defendant owed a duty to exercise reasonable care to prevent the animal from injuring others;
  • (3) the defendant breached that duty; and
  • (4) the defendant’s breach proximately caused plaintiff’s injury.”

If you or a family member has been the victim of an animal attack, it’s a good idea to talk with a personal injury lawyer who has experience in dog bite cases. Whether you may need help dealing with your own insurance company or the owner of the dog, an experienced lawyer can answer your questions and guide you in knowing what to expect.

What To Do After A Dog Bite

  • Get medical attention.  Unless the bite is very minor, go to the doctor immediately. It’s important the paperwork for the doctor visit makes note that the dog was the cause of injury.
  • Get the owners information. If you are able, taking the name, address, and phone number of the owner is important, even if you initially do not intend to take legal action.
  • Note any witnesses and get their information If you are able, after the accident take down any names and information of people who witnessed the incident.
  • Report incident to your local animal control authority. Municipalities carefully track dog attacks and dangerous dogs. If the dog did not have tags, then animal control will quarantine the dog and make sure he or she is not rabid. If the dog has an owner, tags, and up-to-date rabies shots, this will not be an issue.

Recent Personal Injury Case Results

The McMinn Law Firm has helped injured Austinites for fifteen years, winning over 100 million dollars in settlements to date.

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Our Awards

Better Business Bureau (BBB) bases its ratings on information provided by the business, and on public data sources. McMinn Law Firm's A+ rating is the highest available.
In the years 2013-2014 and 2016-2019, Justin McMinn has been selected each year as a Rising Star by Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters service. Jason McMinn has been selected as a Super Lawyer in 2020., a company that evaluates and recommends local service professionals, placed McMinn Law Firm on their list of 20 recommended car accident attorneys in Austin.

What Past Clients Are Saying

"Jason, Justin, and their entire support team represented me in an accident involving an 18 wheeler. I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome, and maybe as importantly, the service along the way was something you would want as a client, their entire team was amazing! I can with great confidence recommend them to friends, family, and to anyone who happens to read this. Thank you McMinn Law Firm for a job well done!"

- Charles

"The McMinns were amazing. Within two days of my accident – and still barely able to move – I received a visit to my house for personal consultation (on a Saturday). All the initial feedback about my potential case turned out to be 100% accurate, and when it finally came time to settle they didn’t back off an inch. …If you’re hurt, make the call."

- Harry

"I was rear ended by a large truck. Am thankful for Justin and Jason and their team and all the hard work they put into resolving my case! I highly recommend that you contact them if you’re injured in a wreck!"

- Lori M.

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