Virginia Dog Bite & Attack Lawyer

6 Common Questions About Virginia Dog Bite Injury Claims

In 2017, insurance companies paid more than $600 million in settlements and jury verdicts to people who were injured by dog bites and attacks. Shockingly, about 50% of those victims are children. Dog bite victims often sustain serious physical injuries, scars, and emotional trauma. You should consider contacting a dog bite lawyer if you’ve been attacked.

  1. Do I need to hire a dog bite lawyer?
  2. How much is my dog bite case worth?
  3. Are you a child dog bite lawyer too?
  4. What are the time limitations for a claim?
  5. How much does a dog bite lawyer charge?
  6. I was attacked by a dog, what should I do?

Do I need to hire a dog bite lawyer?

A: The simple answer is no.

However, you need to be careful not to sign away your legal rights with the insurance company for a small settlement.  If you agree to a dog bite personal injury settlement and sign the release papers, you cannot come back for more money later.

An experienced Virginia car accident lawyer will ensure all of your medical bills are included in the settlement, as well as any permanent long-term care that you will need.

How Much Is My Dog Bite Case Worth?

Claims made by a dog bite and attack victim are almost always paid by the dog owner’s homeowner’s, or renter’s insurance company. Without a dog bite lawyer, insurance companies will try and offer you the lowest settlement possible.

Typical damages for which dog bite victims can receive compensation include:

  • Pain and suffering: This is the right to compensation for physical pain and suffering and mental anguish you have suffered and could endure in the future. This accounts for many of the damages that are recovered and are in addition to the following damages that are discussed.
  • Loss of Earnings: You are entitled to recover for the loss of earnings which you suffered from your injuries.  This includes wages, commissions, bonuses, and all other earnings and fringe benefits. If you are not able to work because you are recovering from your injuries, the loss of income will be made up.
  • Future Loss of Earnings: If your injuries have prevented you from your ability to earn income in the future, you can recover damages for the value of the reduction in earning capacity with reasonable probability which will occur in the future.
  • Disfigurement: If the injury causes scarring or other unsightly marks, the victim is entitled to recovery for the disfigurement. Because these injuries are often in very visible places, victims are often very self-conscious of their appearance.
  • Children are frequently bitten in the facial region and require plastic surgery later on in life. Depending on the age of the child at the time of the attack, many surgeons will not perform surgical revisions until the child reaches early adulthood.  This means that many times, children will go through the embarrassment and humiliation of the scar through adolescence, a period in which they are very self- conscious of their appearance. This often impacts them both socially and emotionally.
  • Medical Expenses: Damages include any sort of medical expenses that a victim has had to pay for at a hospital, clinic, or to a pharmacy.  These include the cost of basic medical treatment, going to the emergency room, and any sort of surgical treatment or care needed to repair the damaged area of the body.

Do You Help Children Attacked by Dogs?

A: Yes. Many of our dog bite clients are, sadly, children.

Kids love animals, but animals don’t always love kids. When dogs feel threatened, afraid or angry, they can lash out at even the tiniest of children.

dog bite lawyer, dog attack lawyer

Injuries Associated with Child Dog Bites

Dog bite injuries range from minor to deadly. Lacerations and punctures are common among child dog bite victims, as are sprains, fractures, and tissue loss. Many times, scarring on the face and neck leave a permanent reminder of the attack. Some victims require initial surgery to repair the damage done by the dog and plastic surgery down the line to fix the cosmetic damage.

Time Deadlines for Virginia Dog Bite Claims

In Virginia, there are strict deadlines for filing a lawsuit. In many cases, Virginia provides a two-year deadline also known as a Statute of Limitations. However, sometimes special circumstances apply and can alter that deadline.  It is important to contact an experienced dog bite lawyer as soon as possible after the accident to protect your rights.

How Much Does A Dog Bite Lawyer Charge?

Insurance companies have tremendous resources. Our law firm understands that the costs associated with a lawsuit can be a barrier to justice. This is why we offer a no-fee promise. This means you don’t owe us any legal fees unless we settle or win your case. If our Virginia dog bite lawyers accept your case, we will work on your behalf to get a fair settlement, and only charge legal fees if you receive a settlement or verdict.

Dog Bite Lawyer Richard Serpe

Virginia dog bite lawyerVirginia dog bite lawyer Richard Serpe has 33+ years of experience helping victims of personal injuries. He has helped numerous victims across the state to get the compensation they deserve after being attacked.

These clients include children, adults, mail carriers, delivery drivers, joggers, pedestrians, and others. If you’ve been attacked contact Richard Serpe for a free consultation.

I was attacked by a dog. What should I do now?

  • Seek immediate medical attention. By seeking medical attention quickly, you can get treated professionally and are protecting your well-being. If you do not seek medical treatment for your injuries, the dog owner and his or her insurance company may claim that your injuries were not serious or that you were not injured in the attack. By obtaining professional medical treatment, your medical records will document the serious nature of your injuries.
  • Make a dog bite report with the police department, fire department, or animal control department of your city or county. Making a report is very important to document that the event took place and to have the government agency do an investigation. If this is a dog that has previously attacked other people, the city may want to take action against the owner or the dog. Some people choose not to make these reports because they do not want anything to happen to the dog or because they do not want to offend the owner of the dog, as the owner may be a neighbor or a family friend. Failing to report the incident may harm your case.
  • Take photos immediately. If you decided to take photos later on the wound or the mark could heal without you realizing it. If you do not have proof of the extent of your injuries at the time of the bite, it may be disputed at a later time. You must be able to show that you have been seriously injured if you want to protect your legal rights. Our firm often hires a professional photographer to take pictures of the wound shortly after the incident and at a later date after the scar has reached its maximum healing.
  • Contact an experienced dog bite lawyer to recover the best possible settlement for your injuries so you can focus on getting better.
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How much is my dog bite case worth?

A: In 2012, insurance companies paid $489.7 million in settlements and jury verdicts to people who were injured by dog bites and attacks. Claims made by dog bite and attack victims are almost always paid by the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance company.

Typical damages that dog bite victims may receive compensation for include:

  • Pain and suffering: This is the right to compensation for physical pain and suffering and mental anguish you have suffered and could possibly endure in the future. This accounts for many of the damages that are recovered and are in addition to the following damages that are discussed.
  • Loss of Earnings: You are entitled to recover for the loss of earnings which you suffered from your injuries. This includes wages, commissions, bonuses, and all other earnings and fringe benefits. If you are not able to work presently because you are recovering from your injuries, the loss of income will be made up.
  • Future Loss of Earnings: If your injuries have prevented you from your ability to earn income in the future, you can recover damages for the value of the reduction in earning capacity with reasonable probability which will occur in the future.
  • Scarring & Disfigurement: If the injury causes scarring or other unsightly marks, the victim is entitled to recovery for the disfigurement. Because these injuries are often in very visible places, victims are often very self-conscious of their appearance.
  • Children are frequently bitten in the facial region and require plastic surgery later on in life.Depending on the age of the child at the time of the attack, many surgeons will not perform surgical revisions until the child reaches early adulthood. This means that many times, children will go through the embarrassment and humiliation of the scar through adolescence, a period in which they are very self- conscious of their appearance. This often impacts them both socially and emotionally.
  • Medical Expenses: Dangers include any sort of medical expenses that a victim has had to pay for at a hospital, clinic, or to a pharmacy. These include the cost of basic medical treatment, going to the emergency room, and any sort of surgical treatment or care needed to repair the damaged area of the body.

Time Deadlines for Virginia Dog Bite Claims

In Virginia, there are strict deadlines for filing a lawsuit. In many cases, Virginia provides a two-year deadline also known as a Statute of Limitations. However, sometimes special circumstances apply and can alter that deadline.  It is important to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible after the accident to protect your rights.

Virginia Dog Bite Lawyers at the Serpe Firm

Our Virginia-based personal injury law firm handles dog bite and dog attack cases. Our attorneys know the rules, the regulations, and the laws surrounding dogs and dog attacks, and we know how to fight for you to recover the fair compensation that you may be owed. Contact us for a free, no obligation consultation to discuss your situation.

Can I sue the dog owner and the apartment complex?

Q: I was attacked by a dog in my apartment community. What are my legal options? Can I sue the dog owner and the apartment complex?

A: You may be able to take action against the owner if they have renter’s insurance. In order to establish liability on the part of a land owner (the complex) you would have to prove that they knew of the dog’s dangerous nature and prior attacks.


Settlements & Compensation

Typical damages that Virginia dog bite victims can receive compensation for include: pain and suffering, loss of earnings while unable to work, future loss of earnings if you cannot return to work, disfigurement – if the injury causes scarring or other unsightly marks, plastic surgery, and other medical expenses.

What We Suggest You Do if You’ve Been Attacked

  1. Seek medical attention. If you’ve been seriously injured, you should contact 911 immediately. Even if your wounds seem small, when bitten by any type of animal you run the risk of contracting rabies or a serious infection and you should consider seeing a medical professional. Having your injuries documented by a medical professional is important evidence for your case.
  2. Report the incident to local animal control, or emergency authorities. It is VERY important to have the incident officially documented and for information to be gathered concerning the dog owner.
  3. Take photos of your injuries. Make sure to take photos of your injuries as soon as you can, as well as pictures of the healing process. This may become important evidence to your case.
  4. Gather information. Make sure that animal control or the police know of anyone that may have witnessed the attack. Have other neighbors had problems with the same dog?
  5. Contact an Experienced Virginia Dog Bite Lawyer. If you were injured in a Virginia dog attack because of someone else’s negligence, you should consider contacting an experienced Virginia dog bite lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your legal rights.

Time Deadlines for Virginia Dog Bite Claims

In Virginia, there are strict deadlines for filing a lawsuit. In many cases, Virginia provides a two-year deadline also known as a Statute of Limitations. However, sometimes special circumstances apply and can alter that deadline.  It is important to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible after the accident to protect your rights.

Virginia Dog Bite Lawyers at the Serpe Firm

Our Virginia-based personal injury law firm handles dog bite and dog attack cases. Our attorneys know the rules, the regulations, and the laws surrounding dogs and dog attacks, and we know how to fight for you to recover the fair compensation that you may be owed. Nobody should have to suffer because a dog owner’s negligence.

What is the definition of a 'dangerous dog' in Virginia?

A:  Virginia state law provides a definition of a “dangerous dog.”

“Dangerous dog” means a canine or canine crossbreed that has bitten, attacked, or inflicted injury on a person or companion animal that is a dog or cat, or killed a companion animal that is a dog or cat. When a dog attacks or bites a companion animal that is a dog or cat, the attacking or biting dog shall not be deemed dangerous

(i) if no serious physical injury as determined by a licensed veterinarian has occurred to the dog or cat as a result of the attack or bite;

(ii) if both animals are owned by the same person;

(iii) if such attack occurs on the property of the attacking or biting dog’s owner or custodian; or

(iv) for other good cause as determined by the court…. No canine or canine crossbreed shall be found to be a dangerous dog solely because it is a particular breed, nor is the ownership of a particular breed of canine or canine crossbreed prohibited.

VA Code Ann. § 3.2-6540

Once determined to be a dangerous dog, the owner has strict requirements to maintain liability insurance and faces liability for any subsequent injury to a person attacked by that dog (with few narrow exceptions such as criminals entering the dogs home.)

Settlements & Compensation

Typical damages that Virginia dog bite victims can receive compensation for include: pain and suffering, loss of earnings while unable to work, future loss of earnings if you cannot return to work, disfigurement – if the injury causes scarring or other unsightly marks, plastic surgery, and other medical expenses.

What We Suggest You Do if You’ve Been Attacked

  1. Seek medical attention. If you’ve been seriously injured, you should contact 911 immediately. Even if your wounds seem small, when bitten by any type of animal you run the risk of contracting rabies or a serious infection and you should consider seeing a medical professional. Having your injuries documented by a medical professional is important evidence for your case.
  2. Report the incident to local animal control, or emergency authorities. It is VERY important to have the incident officially documented and for information to be gathered concerning the dog owner.
  3. Take photos of your injuries. Make sure to take photos of your injuries as soon as you can, as well as pictures of the healing process. This may become important evidence to your case.
  4. Gather information. Make sure that animal control or the police know of anyone that may have witnessed the attack. Have other neighbors had problems with the same dog?
  5. Contact an Experienced Virginia Dog Bite Lawyer. If you were injured in a Virginia dog attack because of someone else’s negligence, you should consider contacting an experienced Virginia dog bite lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your legal rights.

Virginia Dog Bite Lawyers at the Serpe Firm

Our Virginia-based personal injury law firm handles dog bite and dog attack cases. Our attorneys know the rules, the regulations, and the laws surrounding dogs and dog attacks, and we know how to fight for you to recover the fair compensation that you may be owed.

What are my legal rights after a Virginia dog bite or attack?

A:  If you’ve been attacked by a dog, you’re likely feeling shocked and overwhelmed. Once the initial shock wears off, though, many victims feel helpless. It’s important for dog bite victims to know their rights. When an animal attacks, the owner of the dog is liable for the damage done. Sometimes a person who is caring for the animal at the time of the attack can be held liable if they knew the dog could be vicious. Victims bitten by dogs have the right to compensation.

Settlements & Compensation

Typical damages that Virginia dog bite victims can receive compensation for include: pain and suffering, loss of earnings while unable to work, future loss of earnings if you cannot return to work, disfigurement – if the injury causes scarring or other unsightly marks, plastic surgery, and other medical expenses.

What Should I Do?

  1. Seek medical attention. If you’ve been seriously injured, you should contact 911 immediately. Even if your wounds seem small, when bitten by any type of animal you run the risk of contracting rabies or a serious infection and you should consider seeing a medical professional. Having your injuries documented by a medical professional is important evidence for your case.
  2. Report the incident to local animal control, or emergency authorities. It is VERY important to have the incident officially documented and for information to be gathered concerning the dog owner.
  3. Take photos of your injuries. Make sure to take photos of your injuries as soon as you can, as well as pictures of the healing process. This may become important evidence to your case.
  4. Gather information. Make sure that animal control or the police know of anyone that may have witnessed the attack. Have other neighbors had problems with the same dog?
  5. Contact an Experienced Virginia Dog Bite Lawyer. If you were injured in a Virginia dog attack because of someone else’s negligence, you should consider contacting an experienced Virginia dog bite lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your legal rights.

Virginia Dog Bite Lawyers at the Serpe Firm

Our Virginia-based personal injury law firm handles dog bite and dog attack cases. Our attorneys know the rules, the regulations, and the laws surrounding dogs and dog attacks, and we know how to fight for you to recover the fair compensation that you may be owed. Nobody should have to suffer because a dog owner’s negligence.

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