When kept under control, dogs can be friendly companions. However, they can also attack strangers and cause severe wounds when let loose in public. All dog owners are responsible for taking appropriate measures to prevent these situations.

If you were attacked by someone else’s pet, a Staunton dog bite lawyer could inform you of your legal rights. You may be able to collect compensation for your damages. Reach out to The Warren Firm today to start working with a skilled personal injury attorney.

The Responsibility of Pet Owners in Staunton

Both state and local laws mandate that dog owners take reasonable action to restrain their pets and keep the public safe. Under the Code of Virginia Annotated § 3.2-6538 and the Staunton City Code § 6.10.190, it is illegal to allow a dog to run at large, without a leash. If an owner walks his or her dog off-leash, and it runs away and bites someone, that person may suffer criminal and civil consequences.

A dog owner can be held liable in civil court the first time their pets bite someone. This law applies if the owner knew or should have known their dog posed a danger to others. However, if the owner violated the state or local laws, that may be enough to prove negligence.

Proving liability is one of the most important aspects of an accident claim. A local attorney could work with you to establish the negligence of an owner after a dog bit.

Contributory Negligence Laws

In a civil suit, the defendant may attempt to place some of the blame on the injured person. The state operates under contributory negligence laws, meaning any plaintiffs who are partially responsible for their damages are barred from compensation.

This rule may be enforced in instances of trespassing. For example, an individual who is bitten while on the dog owner’s property without permission may not be able to pursue damages.

Further, provoking an animal may cause it to attack. If a person is proven to have incited violence by taunting the dog, he or she could also be barred from recovering damages.

Any ruling of partial fault could seriously hinder a plaintiff’s chances of obtaining compensation. A lawyer who focuses on dog bite cases could prepare a strong argument to rid you of any blame.

Time Limit for Filing a Dog Bite Claim

Injured parties may also lose the opportunity to recover damages if they wait too long to file a claim. Under Va. Code Ann. § 8.01-243(A), plaintiffs must raise their claims within two years of the incident or risk having their cases thrown out altogether. A diligent dog bite lawyer could manage any deadlines related to your claim to protect your right to recovery.

Get in Touch with a Staunton Dog Bite Lawyer

Dog bites can cause severe injuries and potential infection. If you have been bitten by a dog, you should seek medical care. Once you have addressed your injuries, consider taking legal action against those responsible.

Whether you wish to negotiate a settlement or file your case in court, a Staunton dog bite lawyer could advocate for you. Call The Warren Firm today to schedule a consultation with a dedicated personal injury attorney.