Dogs are some of the most loving animals on earth, but even the most loving animals can be aggressive when they feel threatened. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that over four million people are bitten by dogs each year. Although a dog bite injury may appear minor, it is important to have it looked at by a medical professional as soon as possible, particularly if the dog’s teeth have broken through the skin. In addition to irrigating and closing the wound, doctors may also need to treat you for possible infection caused by bacteria entering the body through the wound.
Filing a claim after a dog bite injury
Once you have received the medical care you need, you may consider filing a personal injury claim against the owner of the dog that attacked and injured you. Under Virginia’s ‘one-bite’ rule, dog owners who knew or should have known of their dog’s dangerous propensities may be held liable for dog bite injuries or other injuries caused by their dog. For example, if their dog had bitten or injured someone in the past, that would be enough to hold them liable for the injuries the dog caused you.
If the dog was not involved in any prior incidents and there was no reason for the owner to know that their dog would injure you, you may still recover damages if the owner’s negligence caused their dog to injure you. Some common examples of dog owner negligence include:
- Failure to maintain control of the dog
- Failure to use a leash in violation of a city ordinance
- Failure to supervise the dog
- Failure to restrain the dog (e.g., failure to keep the dog in the backyard)
Keep in mind that if you provoked the dog or otherwise contributed to your own injuries, you may not recover damages in Virginia, due to Virginia’s contributory negligence laws.
Injuries caused by a dog can cause a great deal of physical and emotional harm. A personal injury attorney can help you receive the financial compensation you need to begin to move forward after the traumatic incident.