Dog Bites/Attacks

You may be going about your own business, walking, jogging, bicycling, etc. when all of a sudden without notice a dog attacks you, biting you, causing you serious injury. What are your rights? Your right is to recover damages especially if the dog was off a leash or even if the dog was on a leash. Many times irresponsible owners of dogs entrust their dogs to young children who cannot control the dog or hold on to the dog thereby resulting in the dog breaking away from the child and attacking you and causing you serious harm. There are statutes in Virginia which require the owners of dogs to have their dogs on a leash and there are statutes which protect your right to recovery depending on the circumstances and where and how the animal attacked you.

Many people love to have a dog for a pet but there are responsibilities which accompany the ownership of that dog. Not only do they have a responsibility to care for their dog, they have a responsibility to have their dog in a controlled environment or situation so that that dog does not cause injury to another.

As in other cases the first thing an attorney must do is find witnesses who have either witnessed the attack or who know of the vicious propensities of the dog or other instances in which the dog has attacked or bitten someone or run off their leash untethered. Many owners feel that their dog should be allowed to run wild and do whatever they want as their dogs do not cause them harm. There is a difference however in understanding the nature of a dog towards its owner and not being aware of the dog’s propensities to attack a complete stranger. This is where the owner of the dog is negligent and therefore responsible for any injuries his dog causes to another when the owner has not taken the precautions to avoid the situation in question.

Common injuries caused by dogs are:

  • Permanent Scarring/Facial Scarring
  • Tissue loss
  • Puncture wounds
  • Lacerations/ Abrasions
  • Fractured bones
  • Infections/Rabies
  • Sprain/Strain injuries

In many instances dog owners have not followed through on the local law regulations specifically requiring that they get their dog vaccinated for Rabies and have them wear a tag acknowledging such. In those instances the County Animal Control will quarantine the dog for 10 days to see if it has rabies. Unfortunately this may necessitate the individual who has been bitten to begin undergoing rabies injections which are terrible thing to go through and can also cause psychological scarring.

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