What to Expect from a Dog Bite Claim in Virginia

The following are frequently asked questions on dog bite injury claims in Virginia. To learn more schedule a consultation with a Virginia dog bite injury lawyer to discuss your claim and whether you have a case for compensation.

Are Dog Bite Claims Typically Settled by Trial or by Settlement?

It depends on the case. Some factors to consider are whether the dog needs treatment, whether similar incidents have happened before, the extent of victim involvement with the dog pre-injury and whether the injuries claimed are causally related to the attack. Dog owners may also be concerned about being ostracized by the community through a lengthy and embarrassing trial. It really varies on a case by case basis.

What May An Individual be Entitled To Recover in a Dog Bite Case?

This is similar to any other case. They’d be entitled to recover damages for their injuries including medical bills, lost wages, any permanent disabilities or disfigurement as well as pain and suffering. All of those regarding all the other categories that folks would have in other cases apply here as well.

Who is An Individual Suing in a Dog Bite Case?

Generally, the party that is responsible for the dog. Often, that is the dog owner. It doesn’t necessarily mean you are suing your neighbor that happens to own the dog. What it often means that you must sue them personally as the owner of the dog in order to invoke their insurance policy.  Many homeowner’s policies indemnify their insured for dog bite cases and insurance exists for just such an occasion as this.

In the end, many dog bite cases are not about personal liability but rather they are about the responsible parties being insured for losses caused by their pets.

What is Contributory Negligence and How Does it Apply to Dog Bite Cases?

Contributory negligence is the doctrine that says if you contribute to your own harm, through your own negligence, you are barred from making a recovery. That has an impact in dog bites cases because if someone antagonizes or otherwise encourages the dog to bite and then the dog bites; well then, they just created a circumstance that made the dog bite more likely to happen than it would have if they had not acted in that way. That’s the very foundation of contributory negligence and in Virginia even 1% of contribution is a bar to recovery.

Are There Scenarios Where a Claim Can Be Barred?

The most common scenario in which a dog bite claim may be barred is contributory negligence.  Another common scenario is the legal doctrine known as assumption of risk.

What is Your Investigation Process Like For a Dog Bite Case?

Like any other case, the investigation process starts as soon as the dog bite happened. It goes in depth into how it happened, interviewing witnesses, potential police report, and going into animal control to see if there have been prior complaints. The goal is to establish what the background part of the dog bite was.