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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., Jonathan T. Wren, Robert E. Byrne, Jr., or Kirk D. Becchi. 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.
Finding Virginia Dog Bite Lawyers
When a dog attacks you, it is a terrifying ordeal that can end in minor stitches or more serious surgeries. In some cases, it may be a friend’s dog you never would have suspected of biting you. Normally, they are friendly, docile, and welcoming of rubs.
In other situations, you may have been avoiding a vicious dog. Perhaps you were walking by a stranger’s house and the dog ran off the lawn and bit you while you were walking on the sidewalk.
In either scenario, your injuries may be serious and you have the right to pursue compensation for these injuries. When this is the case, it is imperative that you reach out to one of the Virginia dog bite lawyers from MartinWren, P.C. to learn what kind of compensation you can pursue and what your legal rights are. For more information, please contact our office today to set up your first appointment so we can get working on your case.
What are common damages Virginia Dog Bite Lawyers can recover in a dog bite case?
Never think that your attack was too minor when you choose to pursue a claim. Even if the dog’s owner is a close friend, you still have the right to compensation for your injuries so you can heal in the way that is best for you. Common examples of compensation you may receive for your dog bite attack are:
- Medical Bills. After a dog has attacked you, you will most assuredly have some type of medical bills. When this is the case, you can receive compensation for medical bills and even future medical expenses.
- Pain and Suffering. Another common form of compensation is for pain and suffering. This could include the emotional pain and suffering that you went through during the attack and through recovery, and even any emotional and mental recovery you are still dealing with (like PTSD).
- Lost Wages. If the attack caused you to take time off work to recover, you can receive compensation for any lost wages you experienced and even future lost wages if you are still in the recovery process.
- Punitive Damages. If the dog attack was particularly bad, you can try for punitive damages. For example, if the owner of the dog knew that he was particularly vicious, has attacked multiple times before, and was not safely restrained in any way, and your wounds were very bad, punitive damages may apply.
Can Virginia dog bite lawyers help even if I am partially at fault?
Depending on the state you are in, if a judge finds you to be partially at fault for the dog attack, then a contributory negligence law may kick in. For example, if you were taunting the dog or tormenting him in some way, a judge can deny you any compensation.
Who does a judge hold responsible?
There are many parties who can be responsible for a dog attacking you. Some of these are:
- The dog’s owner
- The dog walker
- A kennel owner
- Apartment landlords
At MartinWren, P.C., our Virginia dog bite lawyers understand how traumatizing it is when a dog attacks you and the road to recovery can be a long one. When you are in this situation, you need attorneys on your side you can trust to fight for your rights so you can begin putting your life back together. Call our office today.