Responsible dog owners pick up their pets’ waste and keep their animal restrained at all times. Unfortunately, some dog owners fail to prevent their dogs from hurting nearby humans and animals. When dogs prove themselves to be dangerous to society, there are certain things owners must do to be compliant with Virginia law, which they could accomplish with a diligent personal injury attorney.
If you or your pet were injured due to a dog attack, the owner of that animal may be liable for your losses. A Richmond dog bite lawyer can help you seek compensation for your injuries and hold the negligent pet owner accountable.
In a dog bite case, victims may be eligible to recover compensation for their losses, known as damages. Damages can be divided into two main categories: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages refer to quantifiable financial losses the injured person incurred due to the animal attack. For instance, dog bite victims may require emergency medical care or rehabilitation services. Sometimes, people lose wages if they are unable to work after an injury. These losses are all recoverable in a dog bite claim.
Non-economic damages refer to emotional suffering on the part of the injured party. For example, a severe dog attack can result in trauma. The individual might face serious fears about walking to work or continuing their normal life in the community. Plaintiffs who experience trauma and emotional loss may be able to recover damages in a successful claim.
Potential plaintiffs may be able to discover if the offending dog has been labeled “dangerous” by the Virginia court system. In Virginia, a dog will be deemed dangerous if it bites a human, causing moderate to serious wounds.
According to Virginia Code § 3.2-6540, the state may also designate a dog as dangerous if it harms or kills other pets. Police agencies and animal control staff can recommend labelling a dog as dangerous by registering the animal in county court.
To do so, the reporting agency must produce evidence of the animal’s dangerous nature. The breed of the animal cannot be used as evidence in the proceedings.
When a dangerous dog attacks a human or animal a second time, it will be confiscated and put down by county services. Additionally, victims of a dog’s second bite can pursue compensation for their injuries under the “one bite” rule. People who suffer dog attacks may need to report the incident to police agencies in order to document the event.
An animal attack lawyer in Richmond may be able to assist individuals in reporting the necessary information to police and filing a formal lawsuit in court.
All personal injury cases in Virginia must be filed within a given “statute of limitations.” This is the amount of time the state provides claimants to file their claims.
Per Virginia Code § 8.01-243, victims of dog attacks generally have two years to bring their claim to court. After this time has elapsed, the individual will be unable to seek damages, no matter how grave they may seem. A dog bite attorney in Richmond can help complainants gather the documentation needed to pursue a claim within the deadline.
If you were hurt by a dangerous dog, you may face serious pain and financial hardship. You deserve compensation for your medical bills, time away from work, and emotional trauma.
Contact a Richmond dog bite lawyer for help with your case. Dog attacks are serious incidents that deserve serious legal attention. Call today to learn more about your options.