Common Questions Related To Your Dog Bite Injury
Do you have questions about how Virginia laws apply to your situation or what you can do to reach your legal goals after an accident, arrest, or divorce? Our experienced attorneys in Fairfax answer some of the most frequently asked questions from clients here. If you don’t see the answer to your question here, or if you need more information about your rights, reach out to us today at 877-652-1553.
- Page 1
Should I handle my dog bite personal injury claim without a lawyer?
If you are bitten by a dog in Virginia, you can handle the case without an attorney, but you shouldn’t. Having a personal injury attorney on your side can save you a lot of stress and help maximize your potential compensation.
Why You Need an Attorney
Although victims survive the vast majority of dog bites, many find themselves needing reconstructive surgery to repair the damage caused by the attack. Dog bite injuries include lacerations, puncture wounds, nerve damage, crushed bones, and torn ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Costs related to the injuries can add up—not only for medical treatment but for lost wages and pain and suffering.
If the dog that bit you belongs to a friend or family member, having an attorney is crucial to handle the negotiations. You might be worried that suing could ruin your relationship and could be financially devastating for them. If they have renter or homeowner insurance, their insurance company will likely cover the costs of your injury claim. However, their insurance premium will probably go up.
When you have lost a loved one because of a dog attack, you are likely struggling to come to terms with the loss and unsure of what to do. An attorney will be invaluable during this difficult time, helping you build a case against the owner of the dog, so they are held responsible for the devastating loss.
Contact a Virginia Dog Bite Attorney
If you were injured because of the negligence of a dog’s owner, you have legal options for recovering damages. A personal injury claim can cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs. Working with an experienced attorney can help ensure you get the compensation you deserve. For a free consultation about your dog bite case, contact Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi, PLLC, in Fairfax, Virginia.
What happens if a dog bite results in an infection?
If a dog bit you, it may result in an infection. Symptoms of an infection may include redness, swelling, fever, or discharge from the wound site. After any dog bite, it’s important to get immediate medical care, as a proper diagnosis and treatment plan are necessary to prevent further illness and, in some cases, death.
Types of Dog Bite Infections
An infection may develop because the dog bite broke your skin and exposed you to bacteria. Some specific infections caused by a dog bite include:
Consult a Northern Virginia Dog Bite Lawyer
If you’ve been hurt by someone else’s dog, you may be entitled to financial damages for all of the injuries you’ve suffered. Our Fairfax dog bite lawyers will work hard to help you recover for all of your past, current, and future expenses related to your injuries, which may include but are not limited to:
- Doctor appointments
- Rehabilitation therapies
- Lost income
- Out-of-pocket costs
- Physical pain
- Emotional suffering
Together, the attorneys of Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi, PLLC have more than 100 years of legal experience. We apply this experience and our passion for justice to every client we represent. To find out more about your rights and potential recovery, please contact our Fairfax dog bite law firm today for a free, no-obligation consultation.
What should I do if a dog bites me?
Dog bites are not uncommon, especially for children and senior citizens. Each year, 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). If you or a loved one has suffered a dog bite, it’s important you understand Virginia law concerning dog bites, what you should do after suffering one, and how a Fairfax dog bite lawyer can help you if you decide to seek damages.
Virginia Dog Bite Laws
Virginia operates under what’s called the “one bite rule.” This holds a dog owner liable for any damages his dog causes if he knows that the dog has bitten someone before and is likely to cause harm to another person or dog. This rule also applies if an owner knows his dog has previously caused injury from jumping.
Negligence “Per Se” Rule
If a dog does not have a history of biting or jumping but causes someone injury, the victim can still attempt to seek compensation under the rule of negligence “per se.” This is defined as “a negligent act that violates a law that has been designed to protect the public.” A plaintiff must be able to prove negligence on the part of the owner who had a duty to reasonably restrain the dog but failed to do so properly. For example, if a dog was off the leash at a public park and bit someone, the victim may pursue damages by trying to prove negligence.
The Statute of Limitations
In Virginia, any claim filed against a dog’s owner must be filed within the time limit set by the statute of limitations. For all personal injury claims in Virginia, including dog bites, the claim must be filed within the two years following the date the injury occurred.
What to Do Following a Dog Bite
As with any personal injury, you should take a few important steps following the incident. These include:
- Record important information. After a dog bites you, get the owner’s name, phone number, address, insurance information (usually a homeowner’s policy), and email address, as well as the dog’s name, breed, age, and weight. In addition, record the time of the attack, and cite whether or not the dog was restrained.
- Call law enforcement. Asking the police or animal control to investigate the incident serves to record further information. This will assist you when it comes time to file a personal injury claim.
- Refrain from apology. It’s important to say as little as possible, except for what helps you gain information. If you apologize, even out of habit or as a courtesy, it may affect your claim and fault later.
- Document the incident. If you can, take pictures, record witness statements with your phone, and get contact information from any witness. If you’re too badly injured and someone is with you, ask her to document while you seek medical attention.
- Seek immediate medical attention. Right after a bite, see a doctor. Not only does this show insurance companies and a court that you take your injury seriously, a doctor visit reduces the chance that you’ll suffer a serious infection or further injury later on.
- Find legal help. A dog owner may adopt a number of defenses—for example, saying a bite victim provoked the dog in some way—and you may need experienced legal help to win fair compensation for your injury.
- Stay quiet on social media. Although it may be difficult, refraining from posting on social media and talking to friends or adjustors about the incident will help your claim. Insurance adjusters perform online and in-person surveillance to determine whether or not your claim is legitimate.
Trustworthy Fairfax, VA Dog Bite Lawyers to Help Your Claim
If you or someone you love suffered injuries from a dog bite, you may have questions about if or how you should proceed with filing a personal injury claim. The legal team at Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi can evaluate your case, help you understand the law, and advise you on your next steps. To speak with a member of our Fairfax dog bite lawyers today, give us a call at 877-652-1553.