Dog Bite Accident Lawyer in Woodbridge
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If you, your child, or other loved one has been the victim of a dog attack, you may be wondering where to turn and how to move on from this incident. Turn to a dog bite accident lawyer in Woodbridge at the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC. We can help you hold the dog owner liable and recover compensation for your injuries. Call us today: 571-229-1800.
What is my dog bite case worth?
How much you can recover for your case depends on the severity of your injuries and their effect on your life.
You can recover any of the following in a dog bite case:
- Lost earnings
- Lost earning capacity (if you needed to work less hours, transfer to a lesser-paying job, or retire completely)
- Medical expenses (past, current, and future)
- Travel expenses for medical care (can include gas, parking fees, tolls, etc.)
- “Pain and suffering” and inconvenience
- Loss of enjoyment of life
In rare cases, if the dog owner’s conduct was so willful or wanton as to show a conscious disregard for the rights of others (such as if the dog owner instructed the dog to attack or if the animal has a history of bad behavior), you may be entitled to punitive damages.
How do I recover compensation for my dog bite injuries?
Prior to receiving compensation, a victim must establish liability on the part of the owner, keeper, or harborer of the dog.
Virginia courts will still consider the “one bite” rule. Generally, this means that a dog owner is not responsible for prior knowledge the dog is dangerous unless it attacked or behaved aggressively toward another person or animal in the past.
You can determine if the court has deemed the dog that attacked you as dangerous by checking Virginia’s Dangerous Dog Registry.
However, if the dog has no history of attacks, the conduct of the owner (such as warning a child to stay away from the dog) can create an inference that the dog owner knew the dog was dangerous.
A victim can establish negligence on the part of the owner or keeper of the dog by showing that the owner or keeper did not use reasonable care to restrain the dog. The victim must then show that failing to restrain the dog was the proximate cause of the injuries.
Prince William County requires owners to control their dogs “either by leash, cord, or chain.”
Violation of an ordinance constitutes negligence per se. It is important to note that a successful claim will still require evidence that the violation was the proximate cause of the injury.
Could an insurance company deny my claim?
Unfortunately, yes. While insurance companies will sometimes merely argue with you about the damages you are entitled to, other times they may try to deny the claim altogether.
A common basis for denying a claim arises from Virginia’s contributory negligence law. In Virginia, if you contributed to the accident, the insurance company can deny you compensation.
The insurance company may argue that you teased, tormented, or provoked the dog in some way prior to the attack. Whether true or not, this is a common argument, and one that an attorney from the Parrish Law Firm can help you defend against. Alleging that you were trespassing is another such argument for a claim denial.
Insurance companies will look for any ounce of evidence they can find to pin a fraction of the responsibility on the victim and avoid payment. They should not get away with this without a fight.
Attorney Jim Parrish used to work for the insurance companies. Now uses that knowledge and focuses his practice on helping victims prove liability and collect compensation. He is not afraid to stand toe-to-toe with these insurers and fight for every cent you deserve.
What if the dog that attacked me belongs to a friend or family member?
This dilemma is more common than you might think. Many people forgo filing claims for dog bite injuries because they do not want to jeopardize their relationship with the dog’s owner.
However, in most cases, you will receive compensation from the dog owner’s homeowner’s or renter’s insurance. This allows you to recover compensation for your injuries without having your friend or family member pay out of pocket.
Though the dog owner is typically the at-fault party, anyone who has control, possession or custody of a dog or owns property the dog inhabits could be responsible. Negligent parties might include a dog sitter or dog walker, kennel owner, or rental property owner.
Schedule a FREE consultation with the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC today.
Though Virginia law provides a two-year window of time to file a lawsuit for a dog bite case, the earlier you can begin the claim process the better. This allows us to gather evidence before it disappears and interview eyewitnesses before memories fade.
Life is fragile and can change in an instant. Let the Parrish Law Firm, LLC help you maximize the quality of life you can have following a dog bite accident. Call 571-229-1800 to schedule a free consultation.