Owning a dog is a big responsibility and something that should be taken seriously. Dogs are beloved by many people but can also be dangerous. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, dogs bite approximately 4.5 million people each year in the United States.
While some dog bites are minor and heal on their own, many of them are serious enough to require medical attention. If you have been bitten by a dog, it may be best to seek medical help, even if the injury seems minor. You may also consider filing a personal injury claim against the dog’s owner.
Filing a personal injury claim following a dog bite injury
If you have been bitten by a dog, the owner may be held liable for your injuries under the legal theories of strict liability or negligence:
- Strict liability: Under Virginia’s version of the “one-bite” rule, the dog owner knew or should have known of the dog’s dangerous propensities and is therefore strictly liable for the injuries caused by their dog.
- Negligence: The dog owner acted negligently, and their negligence caused or contributed to your injuries, making them liable. For example, the dog owner may have taken their dog outside without a leash or failed to properly secure their dog in their yard. If the dog owner violated local law, the owner may be liable under the theory of negligence per se.
Statute of limitations
According to the statute of limitations in Virginia, you will have two years following your dog bite injury to file your personal injury claim. If your claim is successful, you may recover damages for your medical expenses, lost wages, mental anguish, and pain and suffering.