Dog Bites and Animal Attacks Attorneys in Richmond & Tappahannock, VA

Dog Bites and Animal Attacks

Dogs are so commonplace in our society that many of us never stop to consider the possibility of being bitten by one. But the reality is that millions of Americans visit emergency rooms each year seeking treatment for dog bite and animal attack injuries. Dog bites not only cause physical damage but often leave its victims–especially children–to deal with emotional trauma.

Dog owners can be held liable in some cases when their animal bites or attacks someone. A qualified Richmond dog bites and animal attacks lawyer can review your case and advise you of your options for seeking compensation. Attorney Ryan Wind is an experienced Virginia personal injury litigator who knows how to deal with negligent dog owners and their insurance companies. He and his team at Wind Law, LLC, can represent you in taking appropriate legal action following a dog bite or similar animal attack.

Are Dog Owners Always Responsible for Attacks?

Dog Bites and Animal Attacks

Virginia follows what is known as a “one bite” rule in dog bite cases. This rule often works against victims for a simple reason: It lets the owner off the hook if their dog had no prior history of biting anyone. Basically, the one-bite rule means that a victim can only recover damages for a bite or attack if they can prove the owner knew–or should have known–their animal was dangerous. This is often established by proving the animal had at least one prior known incident of biting or attacking someone.

But even without a previous bite, it is also possible to establish an animal was “dangerous” if it had a history of aggressive behavior. In that scenario, the owner should have known to use reasonable and ordinary care to prevent foreseeable harm to others. For instance, if an owner knew they had an aggressive dog and failed to keep them leashed in public, that could be used as proof of negligence if the animal ran loose and attacked someone.

It is also important to note, however, that Virginia is a contributory negligence state. This means that even a negligent dog owner can still escape having to pay any damages if they can prove the victim’s actions somehow provoked or contributed to the animal’s attack in any way. For this reason, it is critical to properly investigate a dog bite incident fully before taking any legal action. The victim must be prepared to defend their own conduct in court as well as proving the dog owner’s negligence.

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Homeowner’s insurance policies often cover dog bite attacks. So it is often possible to negotiate an insurance settlement for such injuries without the need to go to court. Of course, insurance companies will not pay up without conducting their own investigation first. Which is why you must be equally prepared to defend your position.

If you need assistance from a skilled Richmond dog bites and animal attacks attorney, contact Wind Law, LLC, today to schedule an initial consultation.