Our Virginia dog bite lawyers represent innocent victims throughout the Commonwealth including — children, delivery drivers, postal workers, joggers, pedestrians, and anyone else attacked by a dog. Victims of dog attacks face serious physical injuries, permanent scarring, and emotional trauma. With 34+ years of experience, we can help you get the justice and compensation you deserve.
Richard Serpe is a highly skilled personal injury attorney with a reputation for meticulous trial preparation and presentation. He has a tremendous track record of success in obtaining substantial jury verdicts and settlements for his clients. A substantial portion of his career has been devoted to the representation of injured children.
Named “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers for Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs, Norfolk, VA (2020)
“Super Lawyer” – among the top 5 percent of lawyers in Virginia (2006 – Present)
WHAT TO DO
Seek immediate medical attention. By seeking medical attention quickly, you are able to get treated professionally and are protecting your well-being. If you do not seek medical treatment for your injuries, the dog owner and his or her insurance company may claim that your injuries were not serious or that you were not injured in the attack. By obtaining professional medical treatment, your medical records will document the serious nature of your injuries.
Get the name and address of any witnesses and the dog owner. You must do this quickly because it can be very hard to track down a reliable witness or the dog owner at a later date. People move and relocate frequently, and it is important to obtain reliable contact information at or shortly after the time of the incident. If you wait too long, witnesses may not be cooperative or may not have an accurate memory of the attack.
Make a dog bite report with the police department, ﬁre department, or animal control department of your city or county. Making a report is very important to document that the event took place and to have the government agency do an investigation. If this is a dog that has previously attacked other people, the city may want to take action against the owner or the dog. Some people choose not to make these reports because they do not want anything to happen to the dog or because they do not want to oﬀend the owner of the dog, as the owner may be a neighbor or a family friend. Failing to report the incident may have a negative impact on your case.
Take photos immediately. If you decided to take photos later on, the wound or the mark could heal without you realizing it. If you do not have proof of the extent of your injuries at the time of the bite, it may be disputed at a later time. You must be able to show that you have been seriously injured if you want to protect your legal rights. Our ﬁrm often hires a professional photographer to take pictures of the wound shortly after the incident and at a later date after the scar has reached its maximum healing.
Contact a lawyer with experience in dog bite and attack cases. Many attorneys will tell you that they can handle your case, but do not have the expertise necessary to get the best settlement for your case. Having an attorney who has valuable experience and has the knowledge of the diﬀerent causes of actions that are necessary in achieving a successful case gives you a great feeling of comfort and conﬁdence.
WHAT NOT TO DO
Meeting with the dog owner’s insurance adjuster or investigator. Many times, injured people are quickly contacted by the dog owner’s insurance company adjuster or investigator and meet with that person before speaking to a lawyer. These people often try to get you to make statements that damage your own case and ask you to sign papers that will give away your rights and release them from paying any settlement in the future. It is never a good idea to meet with the insurance adjuster or investigator before contacting an experienced lawyer.
Accepting a Quick Settlement. Many insurance companies try to pay you a quick settlement before you speak with a lawyer. They do this for several reasons. First, they want you to accept less than the value of your case and have you release them from paying any other settlement in the future.
Second, they want you to sign away your rights before you know how serious your injuries are, how long they will take to heal, and if future medical treatment will help. Many times, you will not know how your scar will heal for several months after the incident or if it will ever heal properly. With children, many plastic surgeons will not even perform repairs until the child has reached early adulthood.
Deadlines for Virginia Personal Injury Cases
In Virginia, there are strict deadlines for filing a lawsuit. In many cases, Virginia provides a two-year deadline also known as a Statute of Limitations. However, sometimes special circumstances apply and can alter that deadline. It is important to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible after the dog attack to protect your rights.
No Legal Fees Unless We Settle or Win Your Case
We offer a No Fee Promise, which means that you don’t owe us any legal fees unless we settle or win your case. We will work on your behalf to get a fair settlement, and only charge legal fees if you receive a settlement or verdict.
Virginia Dog Bite Settlements
Mail carrier sustained a serious knee injury after being attacked by a German Shepherd.
Child Facial Bite
5-year-old bitten on face, lip, and mouth by neighbor's dog.
Victim attacked by neighbor's dog while cutting the grass.
FedEx delivery driver sustained major injuries to arm in dog attack.
Wythe Co., VA
Dog on property client was visiting attacked, causing facial injuries.