Virginia Dog Bite Attorneys
Representing Dog Bite Victims
Were you bitten by someone’s dog anywhere in Virginia? Whether you were visiting a neighbor or spending the day in the park when the dog attacked, Reinhardt | Harper | Davis and our dog bite lawyers can help you explore your legal options.
Virginia’s liability laws allow you to seek compensation from any party that causes you harm through negligence or wrongdoing, including people who can’t control their pets. Even if the dog accidentally hurt you by knocking you over, you might have a claim, so don’t hesitate to reach out to our attorneys today.
To arrange a free consultationwith our firm, dial (804) 294-2966 at any time.
Contributory Negligence in Dog Bite Claims
Virginia is one of a few states that use contributory negligence for liability claims, including dog bite claims. This rule blocks you from collecting a recovery from a defendant if you are even 1% liable for your injury and damages.
It is crucial that you build a dog bite claim with the guidance of an experienced lawyer because the bar for plaintiffs is set so high.
A dog owner might use these defense arguments:
- You aggravated or provoked the dog to the point that it lashed out.
- You attacked the dog first, causing it to bite in self-defense.
- You were committing a crime against the dog owner, so the dog was defending them.
- You trespassed and were bitten by an unattended dog.
Remember: If your liability is just 1% in Virginia, then your dog bite claim can be dismissed. While these defense arguments might seem loosely constructed, they only need to be strong enough to redirect the smallest amount of liability to you. Protect your chances of getting compensation by leaving your case up to our Virginia dog bite lawyers.
Injuries Caused by a Dog Bite
Dog bites are not always minor injuries. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 4 million people are bitten by dogs each year, with about 20% of them requiring medical attention.
Serious injuries caused by dog bites can include:
- Lacerations: Severe lacerations are the most common injury suffered in a dog attack. If the lacerations require stitches, then it might also cause a permanent scar.
- Bone fractures: Large breeds of dogs can bite with enough force to break bones. Children account for roughly 50% of all dog bite victims, and they are more susceptible to suffering a bone fracture in the attack.
- Infections: Medical care for dog bite survivors will usually include an antibiotic regimen. Without antibiotics, the wound can become infected. In a worst-case scenario, a dog bite can cause a rabies infection, which requires immediate medical attention, or else it could be fatal.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): Dog bite survivors often report feeling afraid of all dogs after the attack. Some might even develop cynophobia or an extreme and irrational fear of dogs.
The compensation available in your dog bite claim will largely depend on the severity and type of your injuries, physical and mental. We can work with medical experts to get a detailed review of your injuries and how they will impact your well-being now and possibly in years to come.
Request a Free Consultation with Our Firm
Our Virginia dog bite lawyers are here to help if you or your child were bitten by someone else’s dog. You could be owed significant compensation for your losses. Let us find the best way to secure it.
Dog Bite Claim FAQ
- What do I do if the dog owner left the scene after I was bitten?
Typically, leaving the scene of an accident without providing identification and insurance information is unlawful. This legal rule applies to dog bite incidents, too. If you were bitten by a dog and the owner fled the scene, you should notify the authorities right away. Give them a description of the dog and its owner, so they might be able to track them down. Without the dog owner’s identification, your case will have an immediate challenge.
- What are dog bite severity classifications?
The National Institute of Health categorizes dog bites into varying degrees of severity, ranging from 1 to 6. A Class 1 bite does not make skin contact, and Class 2 makes contact but causes no physical injury. The Classes worsen in severity as the number increases, with a Class 6 bite causing a fatality. The rating of your dog bite might be noted in your medical record, which our attorneys can use while building your case.
- If you aren’t seriously injured by a dog bite, can you still file a claim?
Even if your dog bite wound only required minimal medical attention, you could still have a claim against the dog owner for any experienced losses. Furthermore, if you are suffering from PTSD symptoms like an abnormally strong fear of dogs or cynophobia, then the value of your claim could be more than you expect. You should always consult with a dog bite lawyer to see if you have a valid claim and what to do next if you do.
- Can I sue if a police dog bit me?
Police dogs are trained and owned by a law enforcement agency, typically on a local level. If you were bitten by a police dog, you might have a chance to file against that agency for compensation. However, you will have to prove that you were doing nothing wrong or that the dog was used in an act of police brutality. Dog bite lawsuits following a police dog attack are highly complicated and challenging, so it is advised that you work with an experienced dog bite attorney as soon as possible.
- Will the dog be put to sleep if I file a lawsuit?
If a dog bit you, then it might be put to sleep by court order if it has a history of aggression or if your injuries were severe. Filing a dog bite claim will not affect the court’s decision because it is handled separately.