Dog bite attacks can cause serious injury, scarring, and emotional trauma. A dog attack is often sudden, and overwhelms a person's capacity to take control and defend herself. Children are particularly vulnerable.
According to the American Humane Association, roughly 4.7 million dog bites occur in the U.S. each year. Of these, nearly 800,000 require medical care. Unfortunately, children and toddlers are often the most seriously injured. Because of their size, children are often at eye level with large breeds and tend to get facial injuries. Also, kids do innocent things which a dog may perceive as threatening – such as running, jumping, dancing, laughing or the uneven movements of a toddler. Many dog bite attacks occur at a friend’s home, as the dog misinterprets a threat to the home and family. In this way, dog bite cases can be the most serious and tragic because the victims are unsuspecting.
Too many of these cases are preventable, and the result of irresponsible dog owners. Certain cases involve specific breeds of dog which are universally known to be dangerous, or individual dogs of any breed having a history of biting. Many times, history reveals that the same dog has been aggressive or attacked others prior to the immediate case. All these factors go into consideration.
Handling a dog bite case correctly requires the proper evaluation of medical expenses, pain and disfigurement, and quite often, future medical needs which often includes the need for plastic or reconstructive surgery. As with most other injury cases, dog bite cases are typically against insurance companies (usually through a homeowner’s liability policy). The insurance industry takes these cases seriously. They're represented by their own team of attorneys, investigators, and expert witnesses. Having your own advocate may not only be helpful, but necessary.
Virginia law features specific challenges to dog bite cases, and defenses which are available to the insurance company. Every case is fact-specific. If you or a family member has been the victim of a dog bite, we can likely help. Feel free to contact us for an honest, free consultation.