Nobody should ever have to go through the devastating experience of being bitten by a dog. Much too frequently, dog bites involve pets of friends or family members, and even in some cases the victim’s own animal. There are many different reasons that dogs may bite, and often the injuries are severe. In particular, when children are bitten by dogs, they often sustain disabling and life-threatening injuries. If you were recently bitten by a dog, or if your child was seriously or fatally injured in a dog attack, it is important to know what to do in order to hold the dog owner accountable. The following are steps you should take after a dog bite incident.
Seek Medication Attention As Soon As Possible
You need to seek medical attention as soon as possible. As WebMD explains, about 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs on an annual basis, and about 50 percent of those cases involve kids between the ages of 5 and 9 years old. Without immediate medical attention, dog bites may become infected even if they do not seem severe immediately. Further, many dog bites involving young children require emergency surgery. No matter how minor or major a dog bite may seem, it is important to be treated by a healthcare provider.
Understand the Statute of Limitations in Dog Bite Cases
In order to make certain that you file your dog bite claim in a timely manner, you need to understand how the statute of limitations works for dog bite cases. The statute of limitations in most personal injury cases—where a person suffers an injury but does not die from the injury—is two years under Virginia law. For dog bite cases, this means your lawsuit must be filed within two years from the date of the animal attack. However, if a person sustains fatal injuries due to a dog bite, then the family needs to learn more about the statute of limitations in a Virginia wrongful death claim.
In a Virginia wrongful death case, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of death.
Learn More About Legal Theories for Filing a Dog Bite Claim
Generally speaking, there are two legal theories you may be able to use to file a dog bite claim. While many states allow an injury victim to file a strict liability case after a dog bite, Virginia is a little bit different. Virginia is what is known as a “one bite rule” state. In other words, while some states impose liability on a dog owner simply because the owner owns the dog (and does not need to have any knowledge about its viciousness to be liable), under Virginia law, the owner must have some knowledge of the dog’s previous aggressivity in order to be liable.
Yet injured persons can also file negligence claims. A dog owner can be liable if she or he failed to take actions to prevent a serious dog bite injury. An experienced Manassas dog bite lawyer can provide you with more information about your options for seeking financial compensation after a dog attack.
Seek Advice from an Experienced Fairfax Dog Bite Lawyer
Finally, and most importantly, you need to seek advice from an experienced dog bite lawyer. If you or someone you love suffered serious or fatal injuries in a dog bite incident or an animal attack, you should get in touch with an aggressive personal injury lawyer in Fairfax as soon as possible. One of the dedicated Virginia dog bite injury attorneys at our firm can discuss your case with you today. Contact Dougherty Tobias Iszard, Northern Virginia Law, P.C. for more information about filing a dog bite claim.