Arlington, Virginia Dog Bite Lawyer

A dog attack can be a traumatized experience. This is especially true if the victim of a dog attack is a small child. Victims of dog attacks are usually left with serious physical injuries, permanent scarring, and emotional trauma.

Our Virginia and Arlington dog bite lawyers have seen the devastating results of a vicious attack. Our goal is to obtain a settlement or verdict that will allow you to get the medical care you are owed, and the compensation you deserve. Our clients include children, delivery drivers, postal workers, joggers, pedestrians, and many others innocent victims of dog attacks.


Virginia dog bite lawyer Richard Serpe

As a Virginia personal injury attorney, Richard Serpe advocates for those who have been injured due to negligence. Mr. Serpe is a highly skilled attorney with a reputation for meticulous preparation and presentation. He has a track record of success in obtaining favorable jury verdicts and settlements for his clients.

Awards & Recognition: “Super Lawyer” – top 5% of lawyers in Virginia (2006 – Present); Best Lawyers in America (2005 – Present) and Norfolk Personal Injury Lawyer of the Year for Plaintiffs (2020); AV rating (highest given) from the Martindale-Hubbell law directory; Rated 10/10 – “Superb” by attorney rating service


  1. Seek medical attention immediately. You do not know whether or not the animal has been vaccinated against rabies. Even if they have, you are still at risk for infection. As well, it is important that your injuries are documented by a medical professional should you decide to pursue a lawsuit.
  2. Report the incident by calling the the police or animal control at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington at 703-931-9241. It is very important that the incident is documented by authorities. In addition, the dog may need to be quarantined to monitor for rabies. In addition, they may need to be added to Virginia's dangerous dog registry.
  3. Take photos of your injuries. Be sure to take photos of your injuries right after the attack, and continue to take photos through the healing process. This will be important evidence for your case.
  4. Contact a Virginia dog bite lawyer who is experienced with dog bite cases to help you get the best possible settlement.


Depending on the circumstances of your situation, you may be entitled to the following damages:

  • Medical Expenses: Damages include any sort of medical expenses that a victim has had to pay for at a hospital, clinic, or to a pharmacy. This also includes expensive ambulance rides to the hospital.
  • Pain and suffering: This is the right to compensation for physical pain and suffering and mental anguish you have suffered and could possibly endure in the future.
  • Loss of Earnings: You are entitled to recover for the loss of earnings which you suffered from your injuries.
  • Future Loss of Earnings: If your injuries have affected your ability to earn a living, your future loss of income may be included in your settlement.
  • Disfigurement: If the injury causes scarring or other unsightly marks, the victim is entitled to recovery for the disfigurement. These injuries are often in very visible places.
  • Wrongful Death of a Loved One:  Fatal dog attacks don’t happen very often, but when they do occur, they’re always incredibly tragic. The Virginia wrongful death statute allows certain family members of the victim to file a claim on the behalf of the deceased.


  • $100,000.00 - Mail carrier injured knee
  • $100,000.00 - FedEx driver arm injuries
  • $100,000.00 - Child attacked by neighbor's dog
  • $150,000.00 - Client sustained facial wounds


Virginia’s “One Bite” Rule

If a dog owner knows that their pet has bitten at least one time in the past, they can be held liable for the damages caused in subsequent attacks. In other words, if Fido got into trouble for biting a neighbor last year, his owner must take necessary precautions to prevent additional attacks from occurring. Should Fido bite again, his owner will likely be held responsible for the victim’s financial losses. This is because the owner knew of the dog’s violent tendencies but did not take action to prevent additional attacks.

Negligence Per Se

Even if the dog does not have a violent past, negligent owners can still be held liable if a law was broken at the time of the attack. Victims may sue for compensation so long as they have evidence that the owner failed to control their pet and follow the law. For instance, if you’re at the park and are attacked by a dog whose owner has let it roam off the leash, you may have a viable claim. The decision to allow the dog off the leash in a place with strict leash requirements demonstrates the owner’s negligence.


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 accident to protect your rights.


If you or your loved one was attacked by someone else's dog, contact our Virginia Dog Bite Lawyers for a free consultation. Call or text us anytime at 757-233-0009. 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.


Animal Welfare League of Arlington - Animal Laws
2650 S. Arlington Mill Dr. Arlington, VA 22206; 703-931-9241

The County of Arlington provides information on what is expected of dog owners:

  • Leash laws: When off property, all dogs are required to be leashed and under control of the person walking the dog.
  • Rabies Vaccination: Dogs older than four months are required to be vaccinated against rabies.
  • Dangerous Dogs: A dangerous dog is defined as, "a canine or canine crossbreed which has bitten, attacked, or inflicted injury on a
    person or companion animal, or killed a companion animal."
  • Vicious Dogs: A vicious dog is defined as a canine or canine crossbreed which has killed a person, inflicted serious injury to a person, or  continued to exhibit behavior that deemed them as a dangerous dog.
  • Click here to learn more.
Richard Serpe, Top Attorney
Virginia Best Lawyers 2021, Richard Serpe
Virginia Dog Bite Settlements
Facial Injuries
Client sustained serious facial injuries after being attacked by dog.
Chesapeake, VA
Child Facial Bite
5-year-old girl bitten on face, lip, and mouth by neighbor's dog.
Arlington, VA
USPS Worker
Postal worker sustained a serious knee injury after being attacked on the job.
Norfolk, VA
FedEx Delivery Driver
FedEx delivery driver sustained major injuries to arm after being bitten while working.
Wythe Co., VA
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