How do I start a civil suit for a dog attack against its owner?

My children and I were attacked by a pitull and it killed 2 of our 3 dogs. It happened in our own yard. My kids were traumatized by seeing it and I want justice. We had to pay to put one of our dogs down so it wouldn’t suffer anymore and our 2 1/2 month old puppy died right away.

Asked on August 31, 2016 under Personal Injury, Texas

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Your lawsuit against the dog owner would include the following causes of action (claims): negligence, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and strict liability if the dog has a history of biting, attacking,etc.
Negligence on the part of the dog owner is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable dog owner would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).
Negligent infliction of emotional distress would be the claim against the owner for your traumatized kids.  If they are minors, you will need to be appointed guardian ad litem to file a lawsuit on their behalf because a minor cannot file a lawsuit.
 Strict liability imposes liability whether or not due care was exercised.
It would be advisable to be represented by an attorney.
If you do not have an attorney, you will need to write the complaint (lawsuit) for each of the above claims.  The requisite language for each above cause of action can be found in Pleading and Practice at the law library.
You will also need the summons (court form)  in addition to the complaint.  After filing the lawsuit  with the court and paying a filing fee, you will need to have it served (delivered) to the defendant (dog owner).  You can find process servers either online or in the Yellow Pages.  They are listed under attorney services.


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