Dog bite cases in Virginia

How Negligence Affects Dog Bite Cases in Virginia

If a dog bites and injures you in Virginia, you could be entitled to seek compensation for your medical bills and losses resulting from the harm you suffered. However, Virginia does not have a law that governs dog bite cases, so holding a dog’s owner liable for your injuries often requires proving that they were negligent. This can be challenging, so hiring an experienced dog bite attorney is crucial to building a solid case in your favor. 

In this blog, the Virginia Beach lawyers with Deering Hedrick Law, PC, explain Virginia’s “one-bite” rule regarding dog bit cases, how negligence applies in these cases, and how an attorney could help you pursue the compensation you deserve after a dog bite. If you have further questions, don’t hesitate to contact our office to get started with a free consultation. 

What Is Virginia’s ‘One-Bite’ Rule?

Virginia does not have a statute that governs liability in dog bite cases. Instead, court opinions have established the “one-bite” rule for liability in these cases. Under this rule, the owner of a dog that bites or attacks someone is automatically liable for resulting injuries only if they knew or should have known that the dog was aggressive. For instance, the owner of a dog that had bitten or attacked someone previously would be liable for injuries from a subsequent attack.

However, if you are bitten or attacked by a dog that had never injured someone before, you likely will need to prove that the owner was negligent in establishing that they are liable for your injuries and other losses. This is where an experienced dog bite attorney who is familiar with state and local laws can make a difference in the success of your case. 

How Negligence Applies in Virginia Dog Bite Cases

You can hold a dog owner responsible for your injuries if your attorney proves the owner was negligent. This means that the owner breached a duty of care that they owed you, and as a result of that breach, you were injured and suffered losses. For example, a dog owner might be found negligent if they fail to exercise reasonable care in handling or restraining their dog. For instance, if a dog’s owner is required to keep their dog on a leash or keep them fenced in a yard and fails to do so, they could be responsible for the harm their dog causes, including bites or attacks.

It’s important to note that Virginia Beach has a leash law requiring dog owners to keep their dogs leashed in city parks, public streets, and sidewalks. Thus, if a dog owner violates this law by allowing their dog to roam a city park unleashed, and the dog bites or attacks you, the owner could be found negligent per se. Under negligence per se, breaking the law might be sufficient proof that the dog owner was negligent. Furthermore, violating the law could result in a misdemeanor conviction. 

Our Virginia Beach Dog Bite Attorneys Are Ready to Help

The dog bite injury attorneys at Deering Hedrick Law, PC, are prepared to advocate for your rights and help you hold a negligent dog owner accountable. We are deeply familiar with state and local laws that govern these cases and can gather crucial evidence to build a solid case in your favor. If you were injured by a dog bite or attack in Virginia Beach, don’t hesitate to contact our knowledgeable dog bite attorneys. Call us at 757-383-6848 or visit our contact page for your free case review with one of our lawyers.

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