Helping Victims of Dog Bites & Animal Attacks in Virginia Beach
Determined injury attorneys fight for full compensation
A dog attack is a harrowing experience that can leave you shaken, severely injured and even permanently disabled. In fact, there were 42 dog bite fatalities in the U.S. in 2014, almost half of which were small children. The Stallings Law Group, P.C. takes dog bite cases seriously. Virginia law definitely favors the dog owner, but we fight to see that you are fully compensated for your losses. This page discusses dog bites in detail, but our attorneys also represent individuals injured by horses and livestock.
Damages available in a dog bite case
As in other personal injury cases, a dog bite may entitle the injured party to collect monetary damages for economic and noneconomic losses. These include:
- Medical bills — Present and future expenses for treatment of the injury
- Loss of earnings — Present and future losses due to an inability to work that results from the injury
- Pain and suffering — Compensation for physical and mental discomfort from the wound
- Disfigurement — Compensation for loss of appearance due to scarring or a severed body part
- Emotional distress — A dog attack can be traumatic, causing symptoms such as night terrors, or a dread fear of animals.
- Loss of quality of life — If, for example, the victim were a musician who, as a result of the dog bite, could never play the piano again, the dog owner must pay compensation for the loss of that enjoyment.
Our goal is to see that you receive the maximum amount of compensation possible.
Dog bite plaintiffs must prove negligence in Virginia
Virginia does not have a strict liability standard for dog bites, but only requires that a dog owner exercise reasonable care to prevent injuries. Reasonable care requires a general understanding of a breed’s natural inclinations and characteristics, as well as the particular inclinations and characteristics of the dog in question. This standard, for example, would impose a duty on the owner of a guard dog to make sure the fence is not so low that the dog can jump over it to attack an approaching pedestrian. It would charge the owner of a pit bull with knowing that the breed is responsible for almost two-thirds of all dog bite fatalities in the U.S., and to take appropriate precautions. However, the law does not make the owner of a breed which is normally docile responsible for even an unprovoked bite from a dog that did not have a history of viciousness. The end result in many cases is allowing the dog “one free bite” before an owner would be liable.
To prevail in your dog bite case, you need an experienced attorney who can make a case for negligence on the part of the owner.
Negligence per se in Virginia dog bite cases
Usually negligence is a question for the judge or jury, who must decide if the defendant’s conduct was unreasonable. But in cases where a defendant’s conduct violated a standard encoded in the law, negligence per se applies and the plaintiff does not have to argue that the defendant’s conduct was unreasonable. In dog bite cases, negligence per se may apply if the owner violated a leash law, or some other ordinance designed to protect the public. A knowledgeable attorney can help determine if facts support a finding of negligence per se.
Contact our attorneys for your dog bite case in Hampton Roads and Virginia Beach
If you’ve been severely bitten by a dog in Hampton Roads or Virginia Beach, you need an attorney who understands the law. The Stallings Law Group, P.C. has experience with complex animal attack cases. Call us today at 757-422-4700 or contact our office online to schedule your free consultation.