Vienna, Virginia Dog Bite Lawyer
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Being the victim of a dog attack is a terrifying experience and often results in painful and permanent injuries. The physical injuries and the psychological trauma of an animal attack both warrant significant financial compensation. The laws in the Commonwealth of Virginia make it difficult to hold dog owners accountable, though.
As a dog attack survivor, you should obtain the legal services of an experienced Vienna, Virginia dog bite lawyer from Portner & Shure, P.A. We are here to move your case along while you rest and focus on your recovery and medical care.
Dial (703) 291-3263 to discuss the key details of your case with our team.
Virginia Dog Bite Law
Virginia is one of the few states that continues to follow the “one bite rule.” Under this legal rule, a dog attack victim must prove that the owner knew or should have known that the dog was dangerous or aggressive and that the owner negligently failed to act despite that knowledge. It is called the “one bite rule” because it effectively allows a dog to bite someone once without there being guaranteed legal consequences. While this appears to be a harsh rule favoring dog owners and ignoring the needs of dog bite victims, you can find a way to work around or through it with our lawyers.
How to Hold a Dog Owner Liable for Damages
While the “one bite” rule seems to require a history of prior attacks by a dog, a dog owner can still be liable for damages under a theory of negligence. Under this legal theory, a victim must prove that the dog owner failed to exercise reasonable care to prevent the dog from attacking someone, even if that dog had never acted aggressively before. This is because Virginia imposes a duty on dog owners to monitor and control their dogs using reasonable care.
Reasonable care can be defined as:
- Putting the dog on a leash when in public
- Keeping the dog in a fenced area
- Admonishing the dog when it acts aggressively
A dog attack victim can hold a dog owner liable under a theory of negligence per se, too. Under this legal theory, a dog owner is liable if they violated a local animal control ordinance such as a leash law.
Defenses in a Virginia Dog Bite Case
A dog owner could try to protect themselves from paying you any damages by citing Virginia’s contributory negligence law. This legal rule makes it difficult to collect compensation for injuries if your own mistakes or actions contributed significantly to those injuries.
For example, if a dog attacked you while you were knowingly trespassing on someone else’s property, then your decision to trespass could be used against you through contributory negligence. You can also be found liable for your own dog attack injuries if it is proven that you were provoking or injuring the dog before it retaliated. Virginia’s animal cruelty laws can also work against you in such a case.
Damages & Injuries for Dog Bite Claims
Dogs, despite being domesticated animals, are still animals capable of causing severe injuries such as:
- Skin lacerations
- Torn muscles
- Ligament damage
- Nerve damage
Such injuries usually require emergency medical and follow up care such as reconstructive surgery. Additionally, victims are often mentally traumatized from the attack, which could require counseling as well.
You could seek compensation for your injuries that account for all costs and damages you have experienced. For a dog bite claim, this could mean seeking damages for medical treatments, psychiatric care, missing wages, and your emotional pain and physical suffering.
Contact a Vienna, Virginia Dog Bite Lawyer
There is no need to go through a dog bite claim on your own when Portner & Shure, P.A. of Vienna is here to help. We would be honored to hear from you, listen to your story, and tell you how we can start building your claim. It is our goal to collect total compensation for you that helps you move on and leave the traumatic experience of being attacked by a dog in the past.
To contact us, dial (703) 291-3263 whenever it is most convenient for you.
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