After a Virginia dog attack, it’s often difficult to know where to start. After seeking medical attention, it may be in your best interest to discuss your legal options with an attorney. With zero obligation to work with an attorney beyond the free consultation, there’s no reason not to explore all possibilities.
The insurance company will work hard to minimize a settlement or deny claims whenever possible. If you’re not willing to go head to head with them yourself, you’ll want a lawyer representing your best interests.
DO YOU HAVE A VIRGINIA DOG BITE CASE?
- Were you or a loved one attacked by someone else’s dog?
- Did the attack cause serious physical injury?
- Did you seek medical attention for your injuries?
- Was the attack a result of dog owner (or caretaker) negligence?
- Did the attack occur in Virginia?
If you’ve answered yes to all of these questions, you may have a Virginia personal injury case. Consider consulting with a Virginia personal injury lawyer experienced with dog bite/attack cases to determine your options. Every dog bite case is different, so it’s important you speak with an attorney with the experience necessary to guide your next steps
WHAT TO DO AFTER AN ATTACK
Here are a few things you can do to protect yourself and your right to compensation after a Virginia Beach dog attack.
- Seek medical attention. First and foremost, if you’ve been injured, it is always a good idea to seek medical attention from a professional to protect your health. If you plan to make a personal injury claim, your medical records will document the serious nature of your injuries.
- Report the attack. Any dog that has attacked a person should be reported to authorities to protect the health and safety of the public. In addition, animal control will need to conduct an investigation and quarantine the dog to watch for rabies. Animal control’s investigative findings will be important evidence in your case.
- Virginia Beach Animal Control (757-385-4444)
- 341 S. Birdneck Road Virginia Beach, VA 23451
- Take photos of your injuries.
- Consider a lawyer. A Virginia personal injury lawyer who has experience with dog bite cases can be a valuable asset. Most personal injury attorneys offer free consultations so considering contacting an attorney to discuss your situation.
COMPENSATION FOR DOG BITE VICTIMS
Compensatory damages are monetary awards intended to compensate victims who’ve suffered losses as a result of negligence or illegal activities. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your attack, you could be eligible for the following:
- 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 may be entitled to recover for the loss of earnings which you suffered from your injuries.
- Future Loss of Earnings: If your injuries have prevented you from your ability to earn income in the future, you may be able to recover damages for the value of the reduction in earning capacity with reasonable probability which will occur in the future.
- Scarring & Disﬁgurement: If the injury causes scarring or other unsightly marks, the victim may be entitled to recovery for the disﬁgurement. Because these injuries are often in very visible places, victims are often very self-conscious of their appearance.
- Children are frequently bitten in the facial region and require plastic surgery.
- Medical Bills: Damages include any sort of medical expenses that a victim has had to pay for at a hospital, clinic, or to a pharmacy. And if the victim’s injuries are permanent, money for long-term care can be factored into the settlement.
CHILD DOG BITE CASES
Dog bite injuries range from minor to deadly. Lacerations and punctures are common among child dog bite victims, as are sprains, fractures and tissue loss. Many times, scarring on the face and neck leave a permanent reminder of the attack. Some victims require initial surgery to repair the damage done by the dog and plastic surgery down the line to fix the cosmetic damage.
VIRGINIA DOG BITE SETTLEMENTS
- $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 DOG BITE LAWS
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.
STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS (DEADLINES)
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.
VIRGINIA DOG BITE LAWYER
Richard Serpe is a highly skilled Virginia 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. As a personal injury attorney, he advocates for those who have been injured due to the negligence of another person, dangerous product, or company. A substantial portion of his 35-year legal career has been devoted to the representation of injured children.
- “Super Lawyer” – top 5% of lawyers in VA (2006 – Present)
- Best Lawyers (2005 – Present)
- Norfolk Injury Lawyer of the Year (2020)
- AV rating from the Martindale-Hubbell law directory
- Rated 10/10 – “Superb” by attorney rating service Avvo.com
VIRGINIA DOG BITE RESOURCES
- Leash Law: Code 5-531, the “leash law,” covers dogs only. When a dog is being walked on any city sidewalk, city street or public right-of-way, it has to be on a lead or lead at all times. Also, dogs being walked on a leash must also be wearing a city pet license.
- Running At Large: Code 5-530 stipulates that no animal may be free to run “at large” within the city limits; that means a dog is supposed to be properly contained within one’s residence, either within the house or on a tie-out or chain—whether or not it is known to be vicious or dangerous.
- Dangerous & Vicious Dogs: But what constitutes a vicious dog, or a dangerous one?
- Code 5-520 maintains that a “dangerous dog” is one which “has bitten, attacked or inflicted injury” on another person, or even another animal.
- A “vicious dog” is one that has killed or inflicted severe or serious bodily harm on a human being, as well as one who has continually exhibited dangerous behavior as previously found by a court.