Dog Bite Accident Lawyer in Arlington County
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A dog attack can leave a victim injured and terrified. Injuries and anxiety can make it difficult to go back to work or live your life as you did before. While you cannot turn back the clock, you can recover the compensation you need to move on with your life.
Unfortunately, this process is not victim-friendly and can leave dog attack victims feeling like they have nowhere to turn. But you are not alone. A dog bite lawyer in Arlington County from the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC can help you get compensation for your medical bills and other losses. Contact us today at 571-229-1800 to schedule a free legal consultation.
Why Should I Hire a Dog Bite Lawyer?
Dog bite claims are often more difficult to handle than they should be. A dog bite lawyer knows the roadblocks you might face, understands the laws you must reference, and has experience with the criteria you must prove to establish liability. Jim Parrish is well-versed in state and local animal control statutes and knows how to correctly apply these laws when preparing insurance claims or lawsuits.
What Does Virginia’s Animal Code Say About Dog Bites?
The Commonwealth of Virginia consults its “one-bite” rule when determining liability for dog bites. This means, in essence, that a dog owner is not liable for a dog attack unless the owner knew the dog was dangerous or vicious.
In preparing your case, we will consult the Commonwealth’s animal code to determine whether the dog who bit you is dangerous or vicious. Code of Virginia § 3.2-6540 defines a dangerous dog as one that has:
- “Bitten, attacked, or inflicted injury on a person or a companion animal, such as a dog or cat; or
- Killed a companion animal that is a dog or cat.”
Code of Virginia § 3.2-6540.1 defines a “vicious dog” as one that has:
- Killed someone;
- Inflicted serious injury on someone; and
- Continued to exhibit behavior that a court or animal control officer previously found dangerous.
Building Your Dog Bite Case
Once we have discussed your case with you, we launch an investigation to begin building your case. The evidence we gather answers such questions as:
- Was the dog off-leash when it bit you?
- Where did the dog bite take place? (Were you on the property with permission?)
- Do the owners usually allow their dog to roam at-large (run without a leash)?
- Could the dog owners or the person they left in charge of the dog effectively control the dog?
Evidence might include:
- A police report;
- Your medical records and your doctor’s statement about the severity of your injuries;
- Written statements from you and eyewitness about the dog attack;
- Photographs or surveillance camera video of the dog attack, if available.
We would also check with local animal control divisions and courts to determine whether any individuals previously filed complaints or civil claims against the dog owner over the dog.
Proving Negligence in Dog Bite Cases
To prevail in a personal injury claim or lawsuit, Virginia requires us to prove negligence by showing:
- The law required the owner to maintain control of the dog to prevent an injury.
- The owner did not uphold his duty (i.e., he failed to use reasonable care to control the dog and stop it from biting you).
- The owner was negligent by failing to have the dog on a leash or confined so that it would not cause an injury to you or anyone else.
- You suffered quantifiable damages because of your dog bite injuries.
We may also be able to prove negligence if the dog owner violated a state or local animal control statute or ordinance, such as a leash law.
What If the Owners Say It Was My Fault Their Dog Bit Them?
If the dog owners or their insurer claims you contributed to the incident by taunting the dog, playing too roughly, or doing something to cause the dog to bite you, Virginia’s contributory negligence rule may apply to your case. This can make it difficult to recover compensation.
However, Jim Parrish has plenty of experience with this tactic. He used to represent insurance companies, so he knows the tricks they might pull. More importantly, he knows how to defend against it.
What Type of Damages Can I Recover?
Dog bites can cause a range of serious injuries to the face, legs, arms, and other parts of the body. As a result, you may recover damages that include:
- Medical bills;
- Lost wages;
- Loss of future income;
- “Pain and suffering” and inconvenience; and
- Emotional distress and the development of mental disorders, such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Will My Dog Bite Case Go to Court?
We will do everything in our power to avoid taking your case to court. If the insurer offers a too-low settlement (as insurers often do), we will negotiate until the insurer gives you the compensation you deserve.
While we will try to avoid going to court, we do not back down from filing lawsuits when insurance companies fail to offer fair settlements. We help you prepare for trial while attempting to settle the case before the trial begins.
How Long Do I Have to File My Dog Bite Claim?
Virginia’s statute of limitations is two years, but we recommend filing a claim as soon as possible to preserve documents that support your claim. If you do not file within two years, the state will likely bar you from recovering compensation for your dog bite injuries.
Get Help by Contacting Us Today
You can rely on the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC to take the legal burden off you, so you can focus on what is important: recovering from your dog bite injuries. Call us today at 571-229-1800 to schedule a free case evaluation. We can help you in your time of need.