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Compensation After A Dog Bite Injury

Whether a dog bite seems minor or major, if the skin was broken, a prompt medical evaluation is essential to prevent or treat infection and minimize scarring. A dog bite injury triggers both medical and legal aspects that require prompt attention. If you, your child or another family member has been bitten by a dog or attacked by an exotic animal, our attorneys at Becker, Kellogg & Berry, P.C., will advise you on legal options for pursuing maximum compensation.

Steps To Recovery

Step one in the recovery process is to get prompt emergency medical care.

Step two, to protect your rights and interests, should be to contact a skilled, attentive personal injury attorney. At Becker, Kellogg & Berry, P.C., we will help you pursue compensation for your or your child’s injuries and losses, including:

  • Medical care
  • Replacement of lost wages
  • In the case of a child, funding for any special necessary educational accommodations
  • Therapy, pain management and plastic surgery, as needed
  • Pain and suffering, which may include ongoing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and harmful psycho-social consequences, such as shunning or depression

Frequently Asked Questions

What if the victim is a child?

Special considerations after a dog bite to a child include (1) additional surgery that might be needed after the child matures and (2) necessary attention to the social and educational effects of disfigurement.

What should I do if I know the owner?

Do not let this fact stop you from exploring your legal options, including bringing an injury claim or lawsuit. This may be the only way to tap into available insurance resources.

What’s going to happen to the dog if I report it?

Depending on your jurisdiction (Washington, D.C., or a community in Maryland or Virginia), an attorney can address this question based on laws in that area. Medical attention for the injured person needs to be the top priority.

Time Limits When Filing A Dog Bite Injury Lawsuit In Virginia

In Virginia, the statute of limitations for a dog bite lawsuit is two years from the date of the injury. That means you only have two years from when the bite occurred to take action against the dog owner. It is a strict deadline, and missing it could eliminate your ability to recover compensation forever.

Despite the deadline for pursuing legal action, certain situations may extend the time allowed to sue the dog owner and recover damages.

  • Minor victims: If the injured party is a minor, the two-year clock starts ticking when they turn 18. The extension allows them more time to pursue legal action after reaching adulthood.
  • Mental incapacity: If the injured party suffers mental incapacity that hinders their ability to understand and pursue legal action, the timeline may be paused until their capacity returns.

Depending on your unique circumstances, there may be other ways to get around the deadline lawfully.

Filing A Lawsuit When A Dog Has No Prior Bite History

Virginia operates under the “one-bite rule,” meaning the dog owner is generally only liable if they knew or should have known their dog had dangerous propensities. In cases where the dog has no prior history of biting, proving the owner’s knowledge or negligence becomes crucial.

Here is what must be demonstrated for a successful dog bite lawsuit:

  • Owner negligence: Examples include leash law violations, inadequate restraint, failure to warn about the dog’s behavior or knowledge of the dog’s aggressive tendencies despite the absence of prior bites.
  • No provocation: If you were trespassing or provoking the bite, your claim may be weakened under Virginia’s contributory negligence laws. Be prepared to show you did nothing to cause the attack.
  • Injury severity: The seriousness of your injuries may play a role in establishing the dog’s dangerous tendencies. A severe bite without provocation could suggest aggression even without prior incidents.

Dog bite cases, particularly those involving the “one-bite rule,” can be complex. However, do not automatically assume you cannot obtain compensation, especially for severe injuries. Instead, speak with a Virginia dog bite attorney to explore possible options.

How Our Attorneys Can Help After An Animal Attack

Our personal injury attorneys work hard to obtain financial support from negligent and liable parties for the sake of our injured clients and their close family members. We are ready to bring in experts such as medical, psychological and vocational specialists to help us document the short-term and long-term effects of your dog bite injuries.

After a fatal dog bite or animal attack that took the life of your family member, we can help you bring a wrongful death claim if you are eligible.

Let Us Get You The Help You Need

Don’t put it off. Learn what you need to know about your legal options. Contact our firm at 703-962-1829 or complete our online form to request your free consultation.