For many of us, dogs are man’s best friend. They are the most common pets found in the home. Unfortunately, sometimes they attack innocent people. Children ages 5 to 9 are the most common victims of dog bites.
Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that dogs attack 4.7 million people a year in the USA. Of those bites, 350,000 persons require hospitalization or emergency room treatment. An experienced, professional dog bite lawyer can help you recover damages when you are injured. They will review the facts of your case and conduct an investigation to determine how you will be compensated for your damages.
At first thought, most people assume large dog breeds are responsible for the majority of injuries. The data suggests this is not always true. The size of the dog does not make much difference when determining your injuries. If you were bitten by a smaller breed, do not assume you do not have much of a case, as you may still be able to receive compensation for your injuries.
Some breeds are more likely to attack strangers. The most dangerous breeds are:
Virginia has a two year statute of limitations for filing claims. It is important to be seen by medical professionals as soon as possible when you have been bitten. Animals carry disease, and the bite may become infected with the passing of time. It may be necessary to go to the emergency room, as you may need to get shots, and you might need a rabies shot.
Besides the fact you have two years to file a claim, there are other reasons you should file a claim as soon as possible:
Unlike in many states, in Virginia, you have to be able to prove the owner of the dog was negligent for your injuries. The law states a landlord is responsible for any dangerous conditions on their property. This includes dogs, especially when they are not on a leash.
Due to the one-bite rule, the victim must be able to prove the owner knew the dog could be dangerous and attack other humans. The victim must also be able to show the dog’s owner was negligent and did not take all the necessary steps to prevent the injury from occurring. Lastly, in order to file a claim, you must be injured by the dog. Seeing a medical professional provides expert, documented evidence of your injuries in the attack.
Many claims will be filed against the homeowner’s insurance policy. If the person who owns the dog is a tenant and not the landlord, pursuing a claim against the landlord may also be an option, as the dog owner might be financially unable to pay for your medical bills.
Many of our clients come to us asking about leash laws. In many localities, a dog is supposed to be on a leash. If a dog bites you and is not on the leash, the owner may be negligent due to negligence per se. Negligence per se is when the owner doesn’t follow all of the laws or regulations in the locality, and this means they are considered negligent for damages.
Physicians have reported seeing all kinds of injuries as a result of animal bites, but those most often seen in hospitals and emergency rooms include the following:
These are among the most common types of injuries seen by physicians after a dog bite. The biggest mistake victims make in these circumstances is in not seeking legal action against the owners or landlords because their injuries do not seem to be all that serious.
The truth is any person who has been bitten by an animal needs to be seen by a physician right away. Some of the symptoms may not appear for up to a couple days. The animal might have rabies, and you do not want to take any chances if you cannot determine if the dog has had a rabies shot.
These wounds can be painful and take longer to heal. Depending on where you were bitten, you could be out of work for a short period of time.
Many children suffer injuries in the facial area, and these injuries may require reconstructive surgery. These injuries often result in permanent facial scarring.
These types of injuries could keep you out of work for days, weeks, or even months if your injuries are severe enough. You may be rewarded damages to cover your injuries and lost wages if your physical limitations keep you from working.
Do not underestimate the severity of your injuries. Do not underestimate what the guilty party might do to try to keep you from recovering your damages. There is a good chance they will also have legal representation. You do not want to fight this on your own. An experienced lawyer will work with the other party, the opposing attorneys, and the insurance company to make sure you are represented fairly.
Attorneys will investigate every detail and turn over every stone to conduct a complete, thorough investigation of the incident. They will make sure the insurance company doesn’t try to settle your claim quickly for less money than what you deserve.
An experienced law firm will also conduct an investigation into the financial situation of the responsible party to determine who to pursue for damages. The homeowner’s policy is where the claim is often made, and the lawyer will know how to communicate with the insurance company to maximize your reward so everything is covered while you recover from your injuries.
If the homeowner doesn’t have homeowner’s insurance, your attorney could file a lawsuit on your behalf.
At Epperly & Follis, P.C., our goal is to build a strong case for our clients so they will be fully prepared if your case makes it to the courtroom.
Do not wait to take action. With each passing day, memories fade, evidence disappears, and people move on with lives. If you have been injured through a dog bite, attorneys at the law firm of Epperly & Follis, P.C. are ready to help.
Call us at 804-648-6480 today, or contact us through our website.
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We know the law, we know victims’ rights, and we want to help you make informed decisions about your personal injury case. Please contact Epperly & Follis, P.C today for a free legal consultation.
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