Dog Bite Lawyers in Newport News
LIABILITY FOR DOG BITE INJURIES
Virginia is known as a “one bite rule” state regarding its stance toward dog bites. This means that dog owners are only held strictly liable for injuries their animals inflict if they knew or should have reasonably known of the animals’ aggressive or dangerous tendencies. A previous attack or act of aggression may be sufficient to prove that a dog was dangerous, hence the “one bite” name. A dog owner may also be held liable if he or she was negligent or broke the law and this resulted in the attack. Having a dog off a leash at a community park where leashes are required may be an example of behavior that would result in dog owner liability.
Considering the serious injuries that may be inflicted in an attack by a dog of any size or breed, it is important to talk to an attorney about your rights. Our Newport News dog bite lawyers have represented injured individuals and families in our community for 45 years. We know Virginia dog bite laws and how they apply to personal injury and wrongful death claims. Using this knowledge and our considerable experience and resources, we strive to maximize each client’s recovery.
Get an experienced and professional opinion regarding your dog bite claim. Call (757) 330-3425 today!
We Help Dog Attack Victims in Norfolk, Virginia Beach & Newport News
When a dog attacks a person, this can cause serious physical injuries. This is particularly true when the victim is a child. Because children are shorter and weigh less than adults, they are more easily overpowered and injured by dogs, even smaller breeds. Wounds are also more likely to occur to their face and neck.
The following injuries may be caused by a dog attack:
- Serious cuts and bruises
- Muscle, nerve, and other soft tissue damage
- Crush injuries, including broken bones
- Head trauma and broken bones caused by falling to the ground
- Loss of fingers, toes, or other extremities
- Scarring and disfigurement
If you or someone you love was injured by a dog, talk to a Newport News dog bite injury attorney at Huffman & Huffman Brothers-in-Law, PLLC. We can help you pursue monetary damages for medical care, plastic or reconstructive surgery, ongoing treatment, emotional trauma, and more. We have offices in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, and Newport News and serve clients across the commonwealth.
For your free, confidential consultation, call (757) 330-3425 or contact us online. We look forward to helping you.
Dog Bite FAQ
Who is responsible for a dog bite?
A dog owner is responsible for the behavior and actions of their dog. If a dog bites someone, then the owner will have to answer for it. When an animal attack is caused by a stray dog, it becomes much more difficult to identify a defendant who can be sued for compensation. In most cases, there is no one responsible for a stray dog, but it might be possible to file a claim against a property owner if they knew that dangerous strays frequented their property, yet they did nothing to deter them or warn visitors.
Do you sue the dog owner directly?
Many people don’t want to sue a dog owner because it is someone they know, like a friend, neighbor, or family member. It is important to realize that you won’t sue the dog owner directly in most cases. Instead, you will file a claim against their relevant insurance policy, such as a homeowner’s insurance policy with a clause that covers dog bite injuries. In this situation, the defendant won’t have to pay you out of pocket, but they might have a slightly higher monthly premium afterward. Usually, it is well worth seeking legal action because the compensation owed to you will likely far outweigh the monthly premium increase, even when calculating for years and years of coverage.
What will happen to the dog if I report an attack or dog bite?
Even after a dog attacks, you probably don’t want anything bad to happen to it. For this reason, many dog bite victims never seek legal recompense because they think the dog will be put down if they sue. The truth is that there are rare situations in which a dog must be destroyed for biting someone. Typically, a court will decide how to proceed. If the dog never bit anyone before you and doesn’t show aggressive tendencies, then the court might order that it be kept in the yard or on a leash at all times, or that it attends dog behavioral correction courses. But if the dog has a history of violence and aggression, the court might order it be destroyed. Don’t worry about what happens to the dog after you’re attacked. You should worry about what’s going to happen to your health and finances.
Should you attempt first aid if you are bitten by a dog?
Yes, you should see if you can treat the wound yourself before seeking medical attention from a professional. Washing and disinfecting a mild or moderate dog bite can be done with your home’s first aid kid. If you are seriously injured, then you should call 911 and seek emergency medical care. Even after completing triage yourself for a mild dog bite wound, you should still go to urgent care for a checkup. You will probably be given an antibiotic prescription and a tetanus shot if you have not had one in recent years.
Will you need a rabies shot after a dog bite?
You might be given a rabies shot after being bitten by a dog, but it depends on the situation. If the dog has been identified and its veterinary records confirm that it has been vaccinated against rabies, then you probably won’t need a rabies shot. If the dog hasn’t been vaccinated or is feral, then a rabies shot will likely be necessary. Rabies is fatal if untreated, but it is entirely preventable when it is treated on time.
Can trespassers sue for a dog bite?
A trespasser is someone who is on another person’s property without permission or to conduct a crime while there. Trespassers are owed the slightest duty of care from property owners, so it is difficult for them to sue for a dog bite injury if they are attacked by a dog while trespassing. It is not impossible for a trespasser to bring a claim, however. People who own dangerous or large dogs should post warning signs around the entrances and exits of their property to deter anyone from wandering or trespassing onto the property and being hurt by the canine. If no such warnings existed and a trespasser was attacked aggressively by a dog, then they might have a claim worth exploring with the assistance of an attorney.
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