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Understanding Dog Bite Laws in Virginia

  • You used to like dogs—until one came up to you and bit you for no reason. You weren’t antagonizing the dog, and you weren’t breaking into someone’s home. However, dogs can be aggressive animals. Sometimes, they feel protective of their home or their owner, even when they are outside in the front yard. 

    Some dogs attack for reasons unknown. Whatever reason the dog decided to try to make a meal out of you, you are likely entitled to compensation. 

    Virginia’s Dog Bite Laws

    When someone’s dog harms you in Virginia, you can file a personal injury claim to seek financial compensation for your injuries and losses. But first, you need to know about Virginia's dog bite laws.

    The One Bite Rule

    When someone’s dog bites you and injures you, Virginia has a law that tells you whether you can seek financial compensation. If the dog has attacked before, or the owner knew the dog was aggressive, you could sue them for damages. However, if a dog owner didn’t know that their dog was aggressive, they are protected from liability for the “first bite.”

    That said, you might still be able to sue the owner for negligence in some cases.

    Dog Owner Negligence

    When a dog bites someone, you might be able to sue under negligence laws in Virginia. Virginia law requires dog owners to use a certain amount of reasonable care when handling their dogs. This means not letting them roam at will in a neighborhood. This also means restraining the dog if it seems to be agitated or aggressive.

    If you can prove the dog owner wasn’t using reasonable care, you could sue for financial compensation.

    Time Limitations for Dog Bites

    Virginia law generally gives injury victims up to two years to file a personal injury claim. This includes claims arising out of dog bite injuries.

    Damages for a Dog Attack

    Your injuries could be serious following an attack by a dog. You could be dealing with broken bones, puncture wounds, lacerations, infection, scarring, and disfigurement. The bite could have caused nerve damage or tissue damage, and you might need surgery to correct the issues caused by a dog attack.

    In addition, you could be dealing with medical expenses caused by the dog attack. You could be missing out on income while you recover from your wounds. Your settlement could account for all of your financial and nonfinancial losses.

    Reach Out to a Personal Injury Attorney in Richmond, Virginia

    As mentioned, you generally only have two years in Virginia to file a dog bite claim, so don’t delay in getting started. You need financial compensation from a dog bite case settlement to pay for your financial losses. You also deserve to receive payment for the mental suffering and physical pain you’ve been forced to endure.

    For more information or to get started on your claim, call a top-rated Richmond personal injury lawyer at Halperin Law Center. Dial 804-527-0100, or you can reach our firm by visiting our website. You will receive a free case review when you reach out.