Even the most well-trained dogs can behave in unpredictable ways. If you are one of the millions of Americans who have been bitten by a dog, you may have a valid personal injury claim against the owner of the dog that hurt you.
Dog owners may be held liable for injuries caused by their dog under certain circumstances. Under Virginia’s one-bite law, the dog owner may be liable for damages if the dog had bitten someone before or the owner knew or should have known about the dog’s dangerous propensities.
Dog owners may also be liable for damages under the theory of negligence. Dog owners are legally obligated to act in a reasonable manner to maintain control of their dog. Common forms of dog-owner negligence include:
- Letting the dog off leash, in violation of local lease laws.
- Failing to take reasonable steps to properly secure the dog (e.g., dog breaks out of enclosed/fenced-in area or breaks free off chain).
- Failing to take reasonable steps to restrain the dog.
- Failing to take reasonable steps to prevent the dog from attacking/biting the victim.
Dog owners should be held responsible for their dog’s actions, particularly if their dog has bitten someone before. If you have been bitten by a dog, you may be able to recover damages to cover your medical bills, emotional trauma and pain and suffering. A personal injury attorney can help you file a dog bite claim against the dog’s owner.