If you are recovering from a dog bite injury, you may be in pain, feeling vulnerable and uncertain about what the future holds. The recovery process can place significant additional strain on an already busy day-to-day life. If your loved one is recovering from a dog bite injury, you may be wondering how to pay emergency room bills, surgery expenses, and the costs for other medical treatment. A dog bite accident lawyer in Manassas can help.
To schedule a free review of your case at the Parrish Law Firm, call 571-229-1800. Attorney James Parrish dedicates his practice to helping personal injury victims pursue the maximum compensation possible.
Types of Compensation Available for Dog Bite Injuries
Even attacks that result in relatively minor injuries can traumatize a victim, leaving her with anxiety about approaching dogs. Attacks that are more extensive can sever limbs, critical tissues, nerves, or organs. Such injuries can cause permanent disability or even death. You may be entitled to compensation for the following:
- Past medical bills
- Reconstructive procedures
- “Pain and suffering” (e.g., disfigurement, scarring, intense psychological and somatic discomfort such as intense itching and pain, loss of self-confidence) and inconvenience
- Loss of sensory functions
- Secondary infections
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Lost wages
- Loss of future income in the form of wages and retirement earnings
- Travel expenses to receive treatment
- Physical therapy
In limited cases, punitive damages might also be available. An award of punitive damages requires showing that the dog owner’s conduct was extraordinarily reckless and showed a conscious disregard for the victim’s rights and safety.
At the Parrish Law Firm, we understand the financial strain with which our clients are dealing. In some cases, we can help provide immediate relief by sending treatment providers a document called a Letter of Protection (LOP). If a health care provider has threatened you with collection, an LOP can help give you time until the claim process ends through settlement or litigation.
Liability in Dog Bite Cases
It is critical to discuss the facts of your case with an attorney to evaluate liability. Without liability, there can be no compensation. The first step in determining liability is identifying the owner or keeper of the animal. It is also important to look to other potentially responsible parties, such as property owners (if different from the animal owner). Kennel operators, pet sitters, and dog-walkers could be liable as “keepers” of the animal, if the attack occurred during their watch.
You might be able to hold the responsible party liable if the dog was loose when it attacked as this is often a violation of a local ordinance or statute. Many local governments, for example, require dogs to be on leashes. Failure to do this can lead to a claim for negligence per se. Negligence per se means that if the keeper of a dog violated a public law, it also breached a duty to an injured victim. Compensation then becomes a matter of what injuries this conduct directly caused.
If there is no applicable statute, we may have to prove the animal had a history of aggression or running loose without proper restraint or supervision. (You can search Virginia’s Dangerous Dog Registry here.)
It is important to discuss your case with an attorney who is skilled in the fact-intensive analysis of dog bite liability. Click here to see some of the dog bite cases the Parrish Law Firm has handled successfully.
Manassas Dog Bite Lawyer Near Me 571-229-1800
Will Contributory Negligence Be a Factor?
A typical insurance company response to a dog bite claim is that the victim contributed to the attack by teasing or tormenting the animal. A less common defense is that the victim was trespassing.
If a victim contributes to an accident or attack, Virginia’s contributory negligence doctrine can make it quite difficult to recover the compensation you need.
It is essential to discuss the particulars of your case right away with a dog bite lawyer. It is also important to limit conversations about the incident that you have with persons other than your spouse, attorney, or medical care provider.
An insurance company will do its research on you, both informally and, if you file a lawsuit, through formal discovery. In order to give yourself the best chance at recovering the most compensation, speak to an attorney as soon as you can. Attorney James Parrish is a former insurance defense attorney who now exclusively helps victims. This experience allows him to always be a step ahead of the insurers.
Be Aware of the Statute of Limitations
Bite injuries may require significant recovery time. Virginia law gives adult victims a period of up to two years following a dog bite within which to file a lawsuit. The limitations period for an injured child is different.
You need not wait until your injuries have reached maximum medical improvement prior to speaking to an attorney.
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