Every year, nearly 5 million people are victims of dog bites, tragically many are children. In a ten year period, the number of dogs rose by 2%, while the number of dog bites increased by 33%. About 1000 dog bite victims arrive in hospital emergency rooms per day for treatment. Dog bite losses exceed $1 billion per year, with $345 million paid by homeowner insurance policies.
When a dog bite occurs, it is important to know the law of where the incident happened, knowledge of city or county ordinances, state law and even administrative law could be important. At The Joel Bieber Firm, we investigate the incident to determine what law applies, whether there was notice of a potential bite and even discuss with you whether the type of dog breed makes a difference.
Dog Bites. Why Does This Happen?
There are many reasons why a dog bites. A dog may bite out of fear or to protect their territory. Some owners teach their dogs that biting is an acceptable form of play behavior, and every year a number of newborn infants die when they are bitten by dogs that see them as “prey”. A dog bite can be a traumatic event that results in serious injury. Often a dog bite will result in permanent scarring and nerve damage. There are several common sense methods of preventing dog bites, but sometimes an attack is unavoidable. By putting our Virginia dog bite lawyers to work early in the claim, our investigation may uncover evidence that may otherwise disappear.
What Should I do if I am Attacked?
Try to identify the dog that bit you and see if you can get the address to the house at which the dog bite occurred. If it’s a stray, you could end up having to get rabies treatments, which is very painful. However, if the dog belongs to someone you may not have to get the treatments and you have the ability to successfully make a personal injury lawsuit claim against the owner. We will work to determine ownership, whether the owner knows or should have known that the dog would bite, and we will also try to determine what insurance coverage may apply. It is important to determine if there is renter’s or homeowner insurance. In some instances, there may be a premise medical payment coverage that will cover some medical bills, even if no one is at fault.
Get medical attention as soon as possible after a dog bite and follow all physician instructions relating to your care. Get medical attention quickly because any delay in getting attention could affect your eligibility for a claim.
After receiving medical attention, focus on finding out as much as you can about the dog and their owner, including whether or not the owner has insurance. When The Joel Bieber Firm is hired, based upon some of this information we may need to get an expert involved to assist in the investigation of the claim.
What am I Entitled to if I am a Dog Bite Victim?
It is impossible to state an “average” settlement for a dog bite victim, however damages in a dog bite case may include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Future plastic surgery costs
- Physiological counseling, if necessary
- Punishment damages if the conduct rises to that level
Some Defenses to a Dog Bite claim may include the following:
- The victim provoked the dog
- The victim was a trespasser
- The dog was a police dog in the performance of duty
- The victim was a medical care professional, who was treating the dog at the time of the bite.
Our Virginia dog bite attorneys are experienced in handling dog bite claims. In addition, by proper investigation in the early stages of the claim, we may be able to overcome such defenses with undiscovered evidence. The initial investigation may determine if there will be any recovery. It is important to talk to any witnesses, as quickly as possible. We also take photographs to preserve the evidence, to submit at a later date. We also act quickly to put any available insurance company on notice. And, of course, our actions may keep someone else from being bitten.
Contact an experienced dog bite lawyer at The Joel Bieber Firm today for your free initial consultation. Please fill out the form on this page.