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Pets are a large part of our American society. Though most pets are peaceful, some dogs and other pets can be unpredictable and may bite and attack innocent victims. According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year. Most dog bite injuries do not require hospitalization or medical attention, but around 885,000 dog bites are severe enough each year to require medical attention. Of those needing medical attention, approximately half of those are children.
A number of complicated legal and factual issues may arise in a dog bite case. Among them, it is important to identify the dog in question, determine who the dog’s owner is, on whose property the dog bite occurred, the breed of the dog involved, whether the dog has shown dangerous tendencies or bitten someone before, whether the dog has been identified as a dangerous dog on the Virginia Dangerous Dog Registry, whether the owner has provided a warning that the dog in question is dangerous, and whether the owner failed to take reasonable steps to keep the dog from roaming and being able to attack others.
In addition to these issues, the owner of the dog will likely be represented by an insurance company, and that insurance company will raise a number of defenses to avoid paying any money to the injured party. Common defenses in dog bite injury cases are that the injured party caused the attack by provoking the dog, the injured party ignored or disregarded warnings about the dog’s aggressive nature, the attack victim trespassed onto the property occupied by the dog, or the owner took reasonable precautions to restrain what was believed to be a peaceful dog.
The Centers for Disease Control offer a number of tips for individuals to help prevent dog bites. Some of the helpful tips include:
- Do not approach strange, unfamiliar, or peculiar acting dogs,
- If a strange or unfamiliar dog approaches, stay motionless and do not make any sudden or threatening movements,
- Do not try to pet a dog unless the dog has sniffed you first,
- Do not try to pet a dog that is eating or caring for its puppies,
- Dog owners should spay or neuter their dogs, which will reduce the animal’s aggressive tendencies
If a dog bite occurs, it is vital that the injured party immediately seek any necessary medical attention. Severe dog bites can involve serious injuries and may require extensive medical care, including surgery and plastic surgery to address scars, disfiguring injuries, and deep wounds. In addition, animal attacks can oftentimes disrupt muscle functioning and require long and hard physical therapy. Many victims, especially children, also experience emotional distress and post traumatic stress disorder after suffering a vicious animal attack.
If you or a loved one has suffered an animal attack by someone else’s animal, please contact the Virginia Dog Bite Lawyers of MartinWren, P.C., either Jonathan T. Wren or Robert E. Byrne, Jr., at (434) 817-3100, or Kirk D. Becchi at (540) 437-1243. We offer free consultations and case evaluations for dog bite and animal attack cases. We will be happy to meet with you at your home or at the hospital, even on weekends or evenings.
You will not owe any legal fees unless we recover money for you.