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Virginia Dog Bite Lawyer

Dog bite cases can involve permanent disfigurement and severe injuries, such as nerve damage and significant blood loss. In the most extreme cases, some dog bite injuries have led to the deaths of children and adults. Children are, in fact, among the most common victims in serious dog attacks, though they can happen to anyone, anywhere. Dangerous dogs come in all shapes and sizes, they aren’t limited to one maligned breed. If you have been bitten by a dog in Virginia, our firm can help you determine if your injury is likely to require monetary compensation. You can call today to schedule a free consultation. Please feel free to refer to the following information as a general overview of what you might expect following a dog mauling.

Dog bites are exceedingly common, almost bordering on epidemic in this country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) some 4.5 million people bitten in the United States each year, 885,000 of whom require medical care. The CDC notes that young children, those age 5 to 9 years old, are much more likely to suffer a dog attack than any other age group. Adult males and people with dogs in their homes are next most likely victims. The agency also states that in 2012, more than 27,000 people nationwide underwent reconstructive surgery as the result of a dog attack.

Dangerous Dogs

Virginia has laws in place that apply specifically to dog bites. The Commonwealth of Virginia adheres to the “one-bite” rule, meaning that a dog is considered dangerous if it has bitten a person, dog, or cat. This means that dangerous dogs are not determined by breed or size, but rather their past behavior. It also means that if a dog has shown no signs of being dangerous in the past it’s not considered “dangerous” under the law. You can read the full text of the VA Code Section 3.2-6540 here.

When a dog is considered a danger, the owners are responsible for registering that dog each year with the state. Virginia keeps a database of these dogs so that law enforcement and animal control will be able to secure information quickly in the event of a subsequent mauling or bite.

Responsible Parties in Dog Bite Cases

In general, the owner of a pet or animal that has attacked another person or that party’s pet is responsible for injuries inflicted if the owner of the dog was negligent. This could mean the dog was not properly secured on the owner’s property, or the dog was not on a leash while in public. Questions of whether a landlord can be held responsible for a tenant’s dog, or if someone who is caring for a dog, but is not the rightful owner, can be held responsible for your injuries are best answered by a qualified personal injury attorney who has experience litigating dog bite cases in Virginia.

Another issue that your attorney can discuss with you is the concept of contributory negligence, which applies to nearly all personal injury claims. The Commonwealth adheres to a strict contributory negligence rule, which means if the person bitten by the dog is found to be even one percent at fault for the attack or incident, they will most likely have zero grounds for recovering any damage. In cases of dog attacks this can come into play if, for instance, you were playing with a dog or antagonizing or teasing the dog. There are, however, mitigating factors that may override strict negligence, such as the age and maturity and of a child who is bitten.

Damages in Dog Bite Cases

Though there are some hurdles that may exist in pursuing certain claims, there are many cases in which a valid claim against the owner of a dog has led to a settlement or a jury- or court-awarded damages. Cases which result in financial compensation typically include serious injury that requires the need for ongoing or, in some cases, lifetime medical treatment. That, in turn, can lead to a lifetime of physical and emotional pain.

If you have been bitten by a dog in Virginia, our accident attorney can help you determine whether your claim is likely to prove successful. An attorney can walk you through every step of process and are available to you any time of day to answer your questions. An attorney can push for an appropriate settlement, or take your case to court, whatever you determine is in your best interest. And he can shoulder the burden of pursuing the compensation that you need, and deserve, so that you can concentrate on your recovery or the recovery of your loved one. Call his Virginia law office today.