Dogs are popular pets in Virginia. While most dogs are gentle and playful, dog bites are not uncommon. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control reports that 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs in the U.S. each year, and 885,000 require medical attention — half of those are children. If you or a loved one has suffered a serious dog bite injury, you may be frightened not knowing where to turn. That’s the time to call the Alavi Law Group, PLLC.
When you become our client, you will be provided with aggressive legal representation and the personal attention you deserve. We handle all dog bite cases on a contingency basis, which means you will not pay any attorneys fees until we win compensation for you. Our attorneys understand the complicated legal issues involved in dog bite injuries and will take the time to explain all of your rights and explore all of your options.
Who can be held liable for a dog bite in Virginia?
Generally, Virginia follows the “one bite rule” which holds dog owners responsible for injuries caused by a pet if they knew or should have known, of the dog’s aggressive propensities. A previous dog bite incident would demonstrate that the dog owner had such knowledge. In addition, a dog owner can be held liable for other harm caused by a pet, such as a dog that jumps on someone, causing them to fall and suffer a fracture or head injury.
Despite the one-bite rule, a dog owner can be liable even if he or she had no knowledge of the dog’s aggressive behavior if it can be proven that the dog owner was negligent. This requires showing (1) the dog owner had a duty of care to prevent the dog from attacking (e.g. by restraining the dog) and (2) his or her failure to meet this duty caused the victim’s injuries. In addition, if a dog owner violates a local leash law and the dog bites a pedestrian, the dog owner can be held financially liable for injuries sustained by the victim.
In addition to holding the dog owner liable for injuries, the dog causes, the landlord of the property where the dog bite injury occurs could be held liable. This is due to the fact that landlords are responsible for providing a safe environment for visitors. This means making sure that dangerous conditions, including a dangerous dog, do not exist on their property. If the dog bite victim can prove that the landlord knew of the dog and its dangerous propensities, and did not take action to prevent the dog from attacking, the landlord may be held partially liable as well.
Defenses to Dog Bite Injury Claims
A dog owner may avoid liability if the animal was provoked — for example, the injured person repeatedly poked the dog with a stick. In this situation, Virginia’s rule of contributory negligence would apply. If an injury victim is partially responsible for the injuries sustained, he or she cannot recover any damages from the dog owner.
Dog Bite Injuries
A dog bite can result in a wide range of injuries, such as:
- Puncture wounds
- Facial disfigurement
- Nerve damage
- Torn tissue or muscle
- Trauma and emotional stress
In some cases, dog bite injuries can be fatal, particularly when small children are attacked, in which case the dog owner may be held liable for wrongful death.
Contact Our Vienna Dog Bite Accident Attorney
Knowing that being injured in a dog attack is an overwhelming experience, the dog bite attorneys at Alavi Law Group will fight for your right to just compensation. We will take the time to understand the circumstances involved in your dog bite injury.
Were you attacked while on the dog owner’s property? Were you bitten by an unleashed dog while walking along the sidewalk? Was the animal that bit you listed on the Virginia Dangerous Dog Registry?
Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to recover damages for lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. If the dog owner acted recklessly or maliciously, causing the dog to attack you, you may also be awarded punitive damages. These damages will serve to punish the dog owner’s misconduct, and deter others from the same kind of behavior.
It is important to remember that the time limit to file a dog bite claim in Virginia is two years from the date of the injury. The sooner you call Alavi Law, the sooner we can begin working on your case. We know that you may be concerned about being permanently scarred or finding the right surgeon. Our legal team will help you find the medical care you need, and fight for the compensation you deserve. Call our office today or fill out the contact form to learn more about how we can help.