Dog Bite Laws in Virginia
Not all dogs are cuddly people-pleasers, and some can be fairly vicious, especially if they think their owners are in danger. Unfortunately, dog bites and dog-related injuries are common, with about 4.5 million people bitten in the United States each year. If you’ve been attacked by an overly protective canine, you may be owed some damages.
Dogs attack for several reasons—when they feel threatened or scared, they feel like you’re a threat to those they love, or they feel like you are going to take something that they care about. Whatever the reason that a dog has harmed you, you may be able to file a claim to receive compensation.
What’s the Law in Virginia for Dog Bites?
Virginia operates under the so-called one bite rule when it comes to personal injury cases involving dog bites. What this means is that a dog owner is not liable for the first time a dog bites another person.
This may seem unfair to you, but the state of Virginia does give dog owners a pass if they had no reason to believe that their dog would harm someone. Once the dog’s aggressive tendencies have been proven (usually because it has bitten or attacked someone before), the owner will then be liable for any injuries the dog causes.
If you have been injured and you believe it may be the first time the dog has ever attacked someone, don’t give up just yet. There are some ways to prove that the owner should have known that the dog was dangerous even if it hasn’t technically attacked someone.
If you have evidence of aggressive behaviors, such as documented incidents where the dog was aggressive toward you unprovoked, then you may be able to show that the dog’s owner should have taken precautions against the dog hurting someone.
Also, by reporting your incident, you can create a record of the dog’s first attack so that the dog’s next victim is able to take action through a personal injury claim, even if you can’t.
Negligence Laws May Have You Covered
In addition, negligence laws can make it possible for you to obtain damages for your injuries. By proving that the owner was behaving recklessly (e.g., allowing the dog to roam without a leash), you may be able to win your case using regular negligence laws.
Statute of Limitations in Virginia for Dog-Related Injuries
The time frame for filing a dog-related injury case in Virginia is two years from the date of the attack. Make sure you file your case within this time frame or you could lose the chance.
Reach Out for Legal Assistance with Your Dog-Related Injury Case
Dog bites and related injuries are a very real concern in a country where it seems almost everyone owns a dog. No one should be injured by an animal. When pet owners are irresponsible and fail to train and properly restrain their pets, you should not be the one to pay because of it.
It’s likely your injuries have already caused you enough suffering—you don’t want to suffer further by struggling through the personal injury claims process by yourself. Find an injury lawyer experienced in winning dog injury cases.