When someone has been the victim of a dog bite, they can suffer some serious injuries as a result. Sometimes, the bodily harm a dog bite can inflict can result in considerable medical bills from the treatment and rehabilitation that are required. Furthermore, if a dog bite injury causes a temporary or permanent disability, the victim may not be able to work to support themselves. All of this adds up to significant financial consequences, in addition to the physical and psychological pain and suffering the victim will endure.
If you have recently been wounded in a dog bite attack, it is important that you know in what circumstances you are eligible to file a claim for compensation.
When Can I File a Claim for a Dog Bite Injury in Fairfax, Virginia?
There are a number of situations in which your injuries from a dog bite will qualify you for compensation. One of the most common circumstances is when an owner has violated a leash law. This can happen if a dog bites you either:
- When an owner has received legal notice of a dog’s propensity for danger and has failed to keep the dog on a leash, or
- When an owner has not kept their dog on a leash in a public place in which local authorities have required dogs to be on leashes.
If you have been bitten in either of these circumstances, the owner may be liable for your injuries.
It is also possible to recover compensation if:
- The dog has any history of having attacked another person or dog
- The dog has been involved in dog fighting or similar dangerous activities
- There have been documented occasions that demonstrate the dog’s vicious propensities that the owner knew or should have known about
However, if the owner has not had any cause to believe that the dog had behaved dangerously in the past, it can be much more difficult to hold the owner liable if their dog bites someone for the first time.
How Is Compensation Determined for Dog Bite Injuries?
There are two types of damages awarded in all personal injury cases in Virginia, including dog bite cases: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are compensation for medical bills, lost wages due to missed work, and other things that are quantifiable in dollar amounts. If applicable, you may also be eligible for a loss of earning capacity. In order to correctly calculate what you are owed in economic damages, it is important that you save copies of all your medical reports, bills, employment information, tax returns, and anything financially related to your injuries. These documents will serve as evidence for your claim.
Non-economic damages include compensation for the consequences of your injury that are intangible and more difficult to quantify. This can include your physical and mental pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and impairment of your daily activities as a result of the injuries you suffered.
If the defendant’s negligent behavior was particularly egregious and the case goes to court, they might be subject to punitive damages as well. Virginia law caps punitive damages at $350,000.
Who Pays the Damages?
If you are concerned about filing a claim because the owner is someone you know, there is no need to worry that you will bankrupt them. While they may be technically liable, the damages are generally paid by:
- Homeowner’s or renter’s insurance
- Landlord’s insurance
- Commercial general liability insurance
- Insurance covering employers
- Motor vehicle insurance (in cases where the dog and the victim were inside the car)
Contact a Fairfax Dog Bite Attorney
If you have been the victim of a dog bite injury, it is important that you have an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side. The trusted attorneys at Whitestone Young have the knowledge and skill necessary to help you determine whether you are eligible to file a claim for compensation. We will fight for your best interests every step of the way. Contact us today at 703-591-0200 for a free consultation.