If you or a loved one was bitten by a dog in or around Norfolk, Virginia (VA), you probably have questions about your legal rights. I am here to help. Below are some common questions related to dog bite injuries and what you can do to pursue financial restitution for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
If the dog that bit me has a history of violence, will that be taken into consideration by a Norfolk, Va court?
Yes. Previous acts of violence and aggression by a dog are key pieces of evidence for establishing negligence on the part of the dog owner. In order to recover financially in a court of law, the injured party (i.e. your or a loved one) have the task of proving, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the dog owner knew, or should have known, that the dog posed a danger to others. Therefore, a court may consider the dog’s history of attacks and its physical capability to harm others.
Does it matter if the dog bit me while on the beach or at a dog park?
No. Under the law, a dog owner is required to take reasonable precautions to ensure other people are not harmed by their pet. In fact, many communities, including communities in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, etc. have leash laws requiring owners to have their dog on a leash and under control while in a public area like the beach or a dog park.
What should I do if I was bitten by a dog?
The first thing you need to do is seek immediate medical attention. There is a risk that the dog may have rabies and could cause you to suffer a serious infection or other ailment. You also need to get the name and contact information of the dog owner (phone number, address, etc.). If there were any witnesses, take down their information as well. If you have visible injuries (e.g., a gash or open wound), take a photograph to ensure there is documented evidence of the harm. Finally, contact an experienced dog bite lawyer in Norfolk, Va to schedule a free, completely confidential consultation.
I Heard Virginia Has a “One Free Bite” Rule. Is That True?
Technically, yes. Virginia, along with 18 other states, has a “one bite” rule which basically states that a dog owner will not be held liable the first time their pet attacks someone. However, there are certain instances where the dog owner’s negligent actions will override the One Bite Rule. For example, if the dog’s owner disregarded a leash law in a public place, you may be still be able to pursue financial restitution for your harms and losses even if the dog did not have a history of violence.
In order to determine whether you have a viable dog bite injury claim, contact Emily to talk about happened and the best course of action going forward.