Dogs are often called “man’s best friend” because of the love, loyalty, and companionship they provide to humans. Unfortunately, they turn against us from time to time, causing debilitating injuries to people and other animals by biting and attacking. According to the Centers for Disease Control, roughly 4.5 million dog bites occur each year, the most common victims being young children.
If you, or your child suffered injuries as the result of a dog bite, you might be eligible to recover damages from the dog’s owner. A Haymarket, VA, dog bite accident lawyer can help you get the compensation you deserve.
After a dog bite, you should seek medical care as soon as possible, primarily to prevent infection and ensure the dog did not pass on any communicable diseases such as rabies, but also to establish a definitive link between the dog bite and your injuries. If you do not have medical records showing you received treatment for the bite, the dog owner might argue that the dog was not the cause of your injuries.
Next, contact the personal injury group at the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC, a legal team with a long, successful track record of helping injury victims suffering from dog bites.
We offer a free one-on-one meeting with an attorney at which the injured party can have all questions answered and advice given on pursuing damages. To set up an appointment as soon as possible, call our office today at 571-229-1800.
What Can a Haymarket, VA, Dog Bite Accident Lawyer Offer You?
In Virginia, dog owners must uphold a duty of care to others who might come into contact with their pet, taking reasonable and prudent steps to protect family members, friends, neighbors, and others from a bite or attack.
A Haymarket personal injury lawyer, particularly one from the Parrish Law Firm, can review the evidence of the dog bite, anticipate challenges from the other side, and put forward a claim that gives you the best chance of recovering fair compensation.
The “One Bite” Law
In certain states, a dog owner is responsible for any damage caused by their pet, even if the dog had no history of aggression, and the owner no way of knowing that the dog might pose a danger.
Virginia is not, however, one of those states. Instead, the Commonwealth follows the “one bite” law, a rule stating that GENERALLY a dog owner is only liable if it can be proven that he or she had prior knowledge that the dog was aggressive or dangerous. However, we have defeated defenses of the “one bite” rule many times.
If we can demonstrate that the dog responsible for your injuries bit another person in the past, or if we can provide other evidence that the owner should have reasonably known the dog was a danger, we can prove liability under the one bite law.
Negligence Per Se
What about dogs with no history of aggression, ones that have never previously bitten anyone? Virginia still requires dog owners to exercise reasonable care, meaning they must restrain or control their dogs whether the dog has a history of danger or not.
Accordingly, if the dog was roaming free in a neighborhood when it bit you, or if it was clearly exhibiting out-of-control behavior that the owner ignored, we can show liability under the negligence per se law.
How Much Money Can I Receive From a Dog Bite Accident Claim?
Many factors determine the value of your claim, so many, in fact, that without thorough investigation of the details of your dog bite accident, it is impossible to estimate how much compensation you might be eligible to receive.
Dog bite accident settlements and judgments, however, usually include a combination of the following damages:
- Medical bills: Hospital expenses, doctor appointment copays, prescription drug copays, and so on. We fight for both current and expected future medical expenses.
- Lost wages: The money you are unable to earn if you have to miss work while recovering from your dog bite injury.
- Reduced earning capacity: Any loss of income resulting from your having to take a lower-paying job or work fewer hours on account of limitations caused by your injury.
- Pain and suffering: Dog bites can be painful, and in severe circumstances, the recovery process is long and unpleasant. We pursue the dog owner or another responsible party to compensate you for this.
- Punitive damages: Compensation to punish the dog owner or another responsible party in the event that their actions were not merely negligent, but reckless or malicious.
- Wrongful death: In rare but tragic cases, dog attacks can be fatal. If your loved one died after being attacked by a dog, we pursue a wrongful death case against the responsible party.
Haymarket Dog Bite Lawyer Near Me 571-229-1800
What Else Do I Need to Know?
A good chance exists that the dog owner, likely with the help of an attorney, will deny responsibility, or at least argue that you were partially at fault
Under Virginia’s contributory negligence law, you are barred from receiving any compensation from the other party if they can prove that your own negligent or wrongful actions contributed in any way — even a fraction of a percent — to your injuries.
How might a dog owner, knowing its animal bit you and caused injuries, argue that you contributed negligence? Usually in one of two ways:
- You were provoking the dog when it attacked;
- You were trespassing on the property, and the dog was defending its territory.
As we investigate the details of your injury, our attorneys can anticipate such arguments and counter them with a strong, evidence-backed claim
The Parrish Law Firm, PLLC, Offers Free Consultations for Dog Bite Accident Victims. Call 571-229-1800.
After a dog bite, make your first call to the dog bite accident lawyers at The Parrish Law Firm, PLLC, the team that is committed to ensuring you win a fair settlement. Call 571-229-1800.