Dog Bite Injuries
Every year, millions of Americans suffer dog bite injuries, and many are left struggling to cover their medical costs and lost wages while recovering. At Deering Hedrick, we understand the emotional and physical trauma that often accompanies a dog bite injury. We also know you might have questions about some of the most common types of dog bite injuries and how you can seek compensation for what you’ve suffered. Keep reading to learn more, and don’t hesitate to contact us for a consultation with our attorneys Mike Deering and Chris Todd Hedrick.
Common Types of Dog Bite Injuries
When dogs bite or attack people, they can cause the following types of severe injuries:
- Puncture wounds– A puncture wound is a deep skin wound that occurs when a sharp object, such as a dog’s tooth, pierces the skin. Serious puncture wounds can damage underlying tissues and often develop infections.
- Lacerations– A laceration is a skin cut or tear from a sharp object, such as a dog’s tooth or claw. Deep lacerations from dog bites may require stitches.
- Abrasions– An abrasion is a shallow scrape or scratch that occurs when something rough rubs against the skin, such as a dog’s tongue or claws. Abrasions are often painful but typically not as serious as other dog bite injuries.
- Bruising– A bruise is an injury from a hard blow or impact that damages the blood vessels under the skin. Bruises can occur when a dog bites hard enough to damage underlying soft tissue.
- Crush injuries– A crush injury occurs when a powerful force, such as a dog’s bite, crushes and damages a body part. Many crush injuries are extremely serious and require surgery to repair.
- Amputation– An amputation is a traumatic injury resulting in the loss of a digit, limb, or another body part. In severe cases, dog bites result in permanent amputations that can change a victim’s life forever.
- Avulsions– An avulsion occurs when a violent ripping force tears a chunk of skin or tissue away from the body. A dog’s powerful jaws can easily cause avulsion injuries, which often require surgery to mend.
- Infections– An infection occurs when bacteria or other pathogens invade the body and cause illnesses. Dog bites can get infected if victims do not receive appropriate medical attention after an attack.
- Emotional injuries– Emotional injuries are psychological and emotional wounds from traumatic events, such as dog bite injuries. In severe cases, emotional injuries linger and cause personal issues like new phobias, panic disorders, anxiety, depression, irritability, and sleep disturbances.
Who Is Liable For a Dog Bite in Virginia?
Virginia follows the “one-bite rule” regarding liability for dog bite injuries. Under the one-bite rule, a dog’s owner is generally liable for bite injuries if they knew or should have known that their dog was likely to bite or be aggressive. The one-bite rule applies only to a dog’s first bite, after which the law presumes that the owner knows of the dog’s tendency to bite and is liable for all future bites.
However, there are cases where a dog owner’s negligence could make them liable for a dog bite, even if the dog had not bitten anyone previously. For example, a dog owner who lets their pet off its leash in violation of a municipal ordinance could be liable if the dog subsequently bites someone.
On the other hand, owners of even “dangerous dogs” are not liable if their dog bites a trespasser on their property.
How Much Is My Dog Bite Injury Case Worth?
Every dog bite injury case is different, but you can generally expect to receive compensation for the following types of losses if your claim is successful:
- Any medical expenses you incur due to your dog bite injuries
- Medical costs you will likely incur in the future due to your injuries
- Lost wages from time you miss work because of your injuries
- Projected losses in future earning potential from permanent injuries
- Subjective losses, such as pain, suffering, and lost quality of life
An attorney can help you understand the specific types of compensation that are possible for your claim and what insurance coverages are available.
How Long Do I Have to File a Dog Bite Injury Claim?
Virginia law gives you two years to file a claim against a liable party in most personal injury cases, including dog bite injury cases. This means you have two years from the date when a dog bite occurs to take legal action. If you do not file your dog bite injury claim within two years, you could lose the right to demand compensation.
Remember that the legal time limit can change depending on the circumstances of your case and the type of claim you file. For instance, if the dog bite occurred on government property, you only have one year to give notice for a claim. Be sure to consult with an attorney as soon as possible after a dog bite to ensure that you can file your claim by the appropriate deadline.
How a Dog Bite Injury Lawyer Can Help
If you suffer a dog bite injury and wish to file an injury claim, a dog bite injury lawyer can help you by:
- Investigating the dog bite incident to determine who is liable and gather evidence
- Identifying all possible sources of compensation for your dog bite injury claim
- Communicating with the owner, their insurer, and other parties on your behalf
- Preparing and filing a well-supported, error-free claim for your dog bite injuries
- Negotiating with the insurance company to reach a fair settlement for your claim
Advocating for you in court and presenting your case to a judge or jury if needed
Contact a Virginia Beach Dog Bite Lawyer Now
At Deering Hedrick, our Virginia Beach dog bite injury attorneys have the knowledge and skill to navigate the claims process and demand the compensation you deserve. Contact us now to learn more about how we can help during your initial consultation session.