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Who is liable for my dog bite injuries?

On Behalf of | Oct 25, 2023 | Personal Injury

Even the most loving dogs can become provoked or aggravated and end up attacking a human being or another animal. If you have been injured by another person’s dog, you may be able to recover damages for your medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional distress.

Recovering damages under the one-bite rule

Each state has its own laws when it comes to dog attacks. Under Virginia’s “one-bite” rule, dog owners may be strictly liable for injuries caused by their dog, if:

  • The dog has attacked and/or bitten someone in the past.
  • The owner was aware or should have been aware of the dog’s dangerous propensities.

When is a dog considered ‘dangerous’?

Not all dogs who attack or bite are considered dangerous. Under Virginia law, a dog may not be classified as dangerous in several instances, including the following:

  • The dog attacked another dog/cat but did not cause the other animal to suffer a serious injury.
  • The dog attacked an animal that also belonged to the dog’s owner or on the dog owner’s property.
  • Animal control or law enforcement determines that the dog bite caused only a minor injury.
  • The dog attacked someone who provoked or abused it.

Recovering damages under negligence

You may also be to recover damages under the theory of negligence. The owner of the dog is expected to take reasonable steps to make sure their dog is on a leash or otherwise properly secured and prevent others from getting injured, and also follow all state and local regulations. Failure to act as a reasonable dog owner may be considered negligent.

Dog bite injuries can be serious and have lifelong consequences. If you have been bitten by a dog, a personal injury attorney can help you file a claim against the dog’s owner and other responsible parties.