Dog Bite Attorney in Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, & Chesapeake
Have you been injured by a dog bite?
Dog bites can result in hospital visits, physical pain, and even long lasting emotional damage. Since we know this can be an extremely traumatic event, we can alleviate some of the stress often associated with a painful dog bite incident by educating you on the dog laws in Virginia. A dog bite could be the result of negligence by the dog owner, and you should be aware of the Common Law Liability for a dog bite case in Virginia.
We encourage you to know your rights, and find out if you are entitled to compensation for your injuries. Since Virginia does not have a Dog Bite Statute, there are legal responsibilities for the owners of dangerous dogs. The personal injury lawyers at The Jeff Brooke Team will help you navigate your legal rights after a dog bite, and determine if you’re eligible for compensation for your:
- Medical Bills
- Post Traumatic Stress from the incident
- Damage to muscle, tendons, nerves and tissue
- Permanent injuries
Dog Bite Injuries in Virginia: When Should You Talk With a Personal Injury Lawyer?
As the Virginia General Assembly adjourns for its 2018 session, one item on the agenda will be a proposed dog bite law to require disclosure of bite histories of dogs by animal adoption agencies. The legislative proposal results from a shocking case in which an elderly woman in Virginia Beach died from dog bite injuries last year.
In the spring of 2017, a 91-year old woman was tragically mauled to death by a pit bull with a history of biting. The woman’s daughter adopted the dog from an agency which did not disclose the dog’s previous history. According to news reports, the daughter has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the animal adoption agency. The Jeff Brooke Team is not involved in that case but does represent clients who sustain dog bite injuries. In one recent case, we won a $300,000 settlement for a client whose son suffered egregious injuries from a dog bite.
Should You Consult a Lawyer About Dog Bite Injuries?Individuals who receive dog bite injuries — or whose loved one is a victim — often do not realize that it may be possible to hold the dog owner legally liable for those injuries. In addition, as illustrated by the heartbreaking case in Virginia Beach, there are times when it may be feasible to file suit against another person or entity.
The only way to accurately assess potential legal responsibility for dog bite injuries is to discuss your case with a personal injury lawyer. But what are the circumstances where you should seek out a dog bite injury lawyer to discuss your case?
Every situation involving personal injury — including a dog bite case — is unique. The severity of injuries and the facts and circumstances are always different from any other case. An assessment by a personal injury lawyer is advisable in any situation where another person or entity may bear some responsibility and dog bite injuries are significant, including when:
- The injuries resulted in substantial medical expenses;
- Permanent impairment, disability, or disfigurement resulted;
- Ongoing medical treatment is required;
- Future earning ability is affected;
- The victim suffers long-lasting pain; or
- The victim died from the injuries.
How Soon Should You Talk With a Lawyer?
Even though the full extent of dog bite injuries may not be immediately known, when it is clear the injuries are substantial, talking with a lawyer is better done sooner rather than later. There are a number of reasons. To begin with, collecting evidence about the incident, including finding witnesses, is likely to be easier immediately after the incident.
There is a two-year time limit on filing a lawsuit for dog bite injuries, so getting a lawyer involved quickly is in your best interest. You should always consult a lawyer about serious injuries before you talk with any insurance companies who represent a person or entity that may be legally responsible. Making a statement prematurely to an insurance company can harm your ability to get the compensation you deserve.
Things to Know When You’ve Been Attacked by A Dog
Pity the poor dog bite case. Of all of the various types of lawsuits that injury claimants bring, perhaps none is looked down upon like those where a pooch has nipped someone’s heels. These cases are sometimes easy to make fun of, but the victims of animal attacks don’t consider them laughing matters. Just last March, an attorney in the Martinsville, Virginia area settled a case for $280,000. His client sustained hand fractures, deep lacerations, infections, and permanent loss of range of motion. It is clear that all domestic animals are capable of inflicting serious harm. But, are their owners always responsible?
It is important to clarify that the law places liability on people, not animals. We frequently have to remind our clients that just because an animal has bitten or attacked you, the path to winning your lawsuit may not be clear.
Since the blame (if any) lies with human beings, we frequently have to examine their conduct with regard to their animals and the personality of their pets. Aggressive animals with a propensity to bite require a higher degree of care. For example, a four foot fence may not be enough to contain a pit bull with proven jumping abilities. A case could even be made that an animal that is known to jump up on people may not be properly secured even on a long leash. Additional attention must be focused on the location of the injury. Did the owner allow the animal to run into a public area? Was it a playground where children are known to play? Or did the animal unexpectedly break away?
Some of the original “animal liability” cases arose out of cows and other large animals stepping into public roads. We may even look back to the times of the Bible to see whether damages are owed when someone’s ox gets gored.
In more modern times, a complete analysis of the time, place, circumstances and events are necessary to determine whether a valid case exists. But before reaching this issue, injury victims should get as much information as they can. This can frequently be done by calling the local animal control office and initiating an investigation. Minimally, it may be helpful in identifying the animal, getting the owner’s name and determining whether the animal has been properly vaccinated. Once this has been done and the injuries are stable, it is important to consult with competent counsel to see if you have a claim. Like premises liability cases, the answer may not be so simple. Whether the case has merits or is simply a “dog,” you will want to speak to an attorney who knows what to look for.
Speak With A Dog Bite Lawyer Today!
If you have been attacked or injured by a dog attack, please contact The Jeff Brooke Team so we can provide you with more information on who is responsible for your injuries, medical bills and other harm sustained from your dog bite incident. Contact us at (757)552-6055 for a FREE CONSULTATION, or fill out the “Do I Have A Case” form on the right-side of this page.
The Jeff Brooke Team has offices in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, and Portsmouth. Our firm is devoted to providing the highest level of personal service, and professional legal counsel to those who have been injured in an accident. We are dedicated to helping those who have suffered serious and catastrophic injuries as a result of someone else’s negligent, and careless actions. Speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer today.