Dog Bite Lawyer in Charlottesville, VA
Dogs can make great pets. Some people even treat them like family members. Still, they are animals. Even the best-trained dog can attack if frightened or excited. And when dogs attack, they often inflict disfiguring and life-threatening injuries.
At Kendall Law Firm, we can help you to pursue the compensation you need for your injuries if you have been hurt in a dog attack. Our Charlottesville dog bite lawyers have been defending the rights of injured Virginians for more than 30 years, including people injured by dog attacks. Founding attorney David Kendall is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran. We apply the values he learned during his service to every case we take.
We will collect a fee only if we successfully secure compensation for you first. To learn more about how we can help you after a dog bite in Charlottesville, contact us today. Our initial consultations are always free.
What to Do After a Dog Bites You
The actions you take in the aftermath of a dog bite can affect not just your health but also your ability to recover compensation for your injuries. If possible, you should:
- Secure the dog (if you can do so safely) – Do what you can to prevent the dog from running away. However, be careful to avoid additional injuries. If the dog looks like it may attack again, it is best to get to safety.
- Identify the dog – Look for any identifying information you can find. If the dog has a collar and tag, look for its name and the name of its owner – but be careful if the dog is still aggressive. It is also a good idea to take pictures of the dog, regardless of whether or not it has a name tag.
- Contact the owner – If you can find the dog’s owner, you need to let them know what happened. Keep the conversation brief, and do not speculate about what caused the dog to attack. Just get the owner’s name, contact information, and insurance information.
- Document your injuries – Take pictures of all the injuries the dog inflicted on you. These pictures and your medical records are crucial evidence of your injuries in a personal injury case.
- Seek medical attention – You should wash your wounds as soon as possible to reduce the chance of infection, then get to a doctor as soon as possible.
- Save your records – Hold on to all your medical records, injury-related receipts, and other documents associated with the incident. It is also a good idea to make copies of your documents in case something happens to the originals.
- Do not speak to any insurance companies – Insurance companies don’t like to pay out more than they absolutely have to, as that costs them money. They might try to get you to accept a lowball offer to get your claim off their books, but you can likely obtain more compensation by working with an attorney.
- Hire a dog bite injury lawyer – Working with an experienced lawyer gives you a much better chance of recovering the full compensation you need for your medical bills, pain and suffering, lost income, and more.
Possible Injuries or Effects After a Dog Bite Accident
A dog attack in Charlottesville can result in a wide range of injuries.
Some of the most common injuries we see in dog bite cases at Kendall Law Firm include:
- Severe bleeding
- Soft-tissue injuries
- Puncture wounds
- Broken bones
- Eye injuries
- Injuries to the head and neck
- Nerve damage
The injuries from a dog bite can have devastating long-term consequences, including:
- Increased anxiety around dogs or other people
- Mood disorders
- Changes in weight or appetite
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other emotional distress
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Dog Bite Attack?
The dog’s owner typically faces liability for the harm that the owner’s dog causes. After all, owners have a basic duty to prevent their dogs from injuring others.
Virginia follows a “one bite” rule. Under this rule, a dog is presumed to be aggressive if the dog has bitten someone before. If the dog bites again, the pet’s owner may be liable for that attack. However, in some cases, an injured party can hold a dog’s owner liable even if the dog had not attacked anyone in the past. For instance, an attack may occur because the owner failed to restrain the animal.
In rare cases, a dog’s owner may not be liable for a dog bite. For example, if someone other than the owner provoked the dog, that person may face liability instead of the dog’s owner. If you are unsure about who should be held responsible for your dog bite injuries in Charlottesville, you should speak with a lawyer right away. At Kendall Law Firm, we can help you identify all potentially liable parties in your case.
Factors that Affect Liability in a Dog Bite Case
Several factors can impact liability in a dog bite case and possibly affect your ability to recover compensation for your injuries. Those factors include:
- The dog’s prior history – Virginia is a “one-bite rule” state. So, if the dog has no history of attacking others, the owner may not be held strictly liable. Instead, you would need to show that the dog’s owner was in some way negligent, such as by failing to restrain the dog in public.
- The owner’s negligence – If the dog had not attacked anyone before, you would likely need to establish another ground for liability. One ground could be that the owner failed to take reasonable precautions to prevent the dog from hurting someone. Eyewitnesses and security footage could help establish this negligence.
- Trespassing – If someone is trespassing and attacked by a dog, they generally cannot sue the dog’s owner for any injuries they sustain. Some exceptions exist. For instance, a young child may not realize the need to avoid a dog while on another person’s property.
- Provocation – Similar to cases involving trespassing, people who deliberately provoke a dog generally cannot recover compensation if the dog injured them as a result of the provocation. It is important to work with a lawyer who will closely analyze the facts of your case. Nobody should be unjustly accused of provoking a dog and causing their own injuries.
Compensation Available in a Dog Bite Injury Case
Potential compensation in a dog bite injury case could include:
- Medical bills
- Veterinary bills if your pet or farm animal was injured in the attack
- Lost wages
- Reduced future earnings due to a disability
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Pain and suffering from your injuries
- Psychological distress
Get Help from an Experienced Charlottesville Dog Bite Lawyer Today
Dog bites can cause severe injuries and emotional distress. You deserve compensation for what you have been through. Kendall Law Firm is here to help you demand it. Contact us in Charlottesville today to get started with a free consultation.