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“They sent somebody to visit me in the hospital and get my side of the story (totally free). I was assigned Mr. Crawford and told that we had a case. Fast forward about 9 months later and I received literally 14x what the insurance company had offered me. This is after the lawyer and medical fees as well. So basically this was totally free and I barely had to do anything I am so glad I called Marks and Harrison and I will be recommending them to all of my family and friends.”— Robert Smith
Dogs are called “man’s best friend.” However, the fact remains that dogs bite and attack 4.7 million men, women and children each year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Daily Beast news website published a list of the most dangerous breeds of dogs. The list was based on the total number of attacks by dogs kept as pets in the U.S. and Canada during an 18-year period. According to the list, the five most dangerous breeds are:
- Pit Bull
- Chow Chow
- Bull Mastiff
If you have suffered a dog bite due to the negligence of the pet’s owner or the owner’s violation of a leash law in Virginia, you may be entitled to compensation for your physical, emotional and financial losses.
The personal injury lawyers of Marks & Harrison want to help you. We have extensive experience with representing dog bite victims and their families in Richmond and throughout Virginia, including many dog bite cases involving child victims. Our past cases include:
- $300,000 awarded after a woman was mauled by two bull mastiffs
- $160,000 awarded after a child was attacked by a playmate’s dog
- $125,000 awarded to a 12-year-old bitten in the face by a neighbor’s dog
Each animal bite case is different. Our past results do guarantee that the same or a similar result can be reached in your case. It will be important to meet with us and allow us to review the unique facts in your case and discuss your legal options.
Call or connect with us online today. We can provide a free consultation and answer any questions you may have about your case and how we can assist you.
What is Virginia’s ‘One-Bite’ Rule?
Some states have a “strict liability” dog bite law. This means that a dog owner can be held legally responsible for a dog bite, or liable, without the need to prove fault. Unfortunately, Virginia is not among those states.
Instead, Virginia is one of a handful of states that follows what is called the “one-bite” rule. In other words, to recover compensation for a dog bite or other animal attack, you must show:
- The owner (or keeper) knew or should have reasonably known that the animal was dangerous or aggressive, and
- The owner acted negligently in light of that knowledge,
- Causing you or a loved one to suffer injuries.
This does not mean that you must show that the dog previously attacked a person or another dog. Instead, it means that you must show that the dog had a propensity to be dangerous and aggressive, putting a duty on the owner (or keeper) to use ordinary care to prevent foreseeable harm to others.
At Marks & Harrison, we will thoroughly investigate your case. In particular, we can look into whether hospital, police or animal control records show that the dog had a history of attacks and/or dangerous behavior. We can also interview witnesses who can shed light on past behavior of the animal.
What are Virginia’s Leash Laws?
In Virginia, you can also establish a dog owner’s liability for a dog bite or attack by showing that the owner violated a statute or ordinance – commonly called “leash laws” – and due to this violation, you or a loved one suffered injuries. This is called “negligence per se.”
For example, let’s say that a local law prohibits a dog owner from allowing a pet to roam at large in public areas without a leash. If a dog owner fails to follow this law, and you are attacked by the owner’s unleashed pet, you may have the right to bring a dog bite claim against the owner that seeks just compensation.
What Can You Recover in a Dog Bite Lawsuit?
If you or a loved one has been injured due to a dog owner’s negligence or violation of a leash law, you have the right to pursue full and fair compensation for your:
- Past and future medical expenses and other costs
- Lost past and future income
- Physical and mental pain and suffering.
If you are hesitant about bringing a claim against a neighbor, you should keep in mind that, in most cases, a recovery for a dog bite or attack is sought through homeowner’s insurance and not the dog owner’s personal assets.
Unfortunately, insurance companies often contend that a dog attack victim’s own negligence contributed to his or her injuries. For instance, an insurer may argue that the victim brought on the attack by provoking the dog or ignored posted “beware of dog” warnings.
It is important to work with a law firm that will vigorously challenge any claims that the negligence of you or your loved one caused you to suffer dog bite injuries.
How Can a Dog Bite Lawyer Help You?
At Marks & Harrison, we work with a team of highly experienced investigators who can establish how and why your dog bite occurred. In particular, we can compile evidence that includes:
- Witness statements
- Surveillance video footage
- Police reports
- Animal control records
- Medical records.
We can also consult with experts who will allow us to determine the extent to which a dog bite has impacted your life, including calculating your past and future medical expenses and the affect on your ability to earn income.
Our goal will be to build the strongest case possible, giving us leverage in negotiations with the insurance company and allowing us to be prepared to take your case to court (if needed).
The bottom line: We can take care of every legal aspect of your case and fight for a full and fair financial recovery for you, while you can focus on healing from a painful and traumatic experience.
Contact a Richmond Dog Bite Attorney Today
The experienced dog bite lawyers of Marks & Harrison are ready to go to work for you right away. We serve dog bite victims and their families in Richmond, VA and from offices throughout Virginia. Simply call or reach us online today and let us get started on pursuing the compensation you deserve.