Your Legal Rights as a Dog Bite Victim
If you would like to learn what your rights as a victim are, call the attorneys of Cohen & Cohen to speak with a top dog bite lawyer Alexandria VA offers. An experienced dog bite lawyer will review your case at no charge and offer an opinion as to what your rights are under the circumstances.
A dog bite lawyer in Alexandria VA can help make sure that any costs or losses associated with your dog bite injuries are recovered from the animal’s negligent owner. It is your legal right to receive maximum compensation for your damages from any parties found to be responsible for your injuries.
Every case is different which is why it’s important to meet with an experienced attorney at Cohen & Cohen to learn the extent of your rights. In advance of your meeting, we provide this general information about your rights as a dog bite victim.
Overview of Your Rights
Laws regarding the behavior of dogs, and the liability of dog owners varies according to local, county, and state laws. Your rights as a dog bite victim will depend on the circumstances of the dog attack and where it occurred.
After reviewing your case, a dog bite lawyer Alexandria VA injury victims recommend can provide you with information specific to your situation. Though laws can overlap, they generally fall into the following categories:
- Civil laws allow victims to pursue monetary compensation from the liable dog owner. An experienced dog bite lawyer Alexandria VA community members rely on to protect their rights can suggest if pursuing punitive damages is warranted.
- Criminal laws impose jail time and possibly fines against the liable dog owner.
- Administrative laws address the dog and its actions.
Dog Owner Liability
Generally speaking, a dog owner can be held civilly liable for injuries that their dog causes another person. Consult with a dog bite lawyer Alexandria VA victims of dog attacks hire to learn if punitive damages are also possible. Common scenarios where the dog’s owner may not be held civilly liable:
- If the dog was provoked into attacking someone.
- The dog bite victim trespassed onto the property where the dog lives. If you are a victim of that dog attack, a skilled dog bite lawyer Alexandria VA offers may be able to prove that you were not trespassing.
After discussing your case with a dog bite lawyer Alexandria VA dog bite victims hire under similar circumstances, you’ll have a clearer understanding of the laws that pertain to your situation. The dog’s owner might also face additional violations of criminal and animal control laws. They may be cited for:
- Negligent control or handling of a dog.
- Negligent confinement of a dog.
- Violation of leash laws.
If the dog has a history of attacking people and causing injuries, the animal control or related government entities may share responsibility for those injuries along with the dog’s owner.
Landlords can be held responsible for dangerous conditions on their property or buildings. This can include a tenant’s dog if the dog attacks a person or another animal without provocation, or it is clear in some way that the dog is a threat.
- If a tenant has a dog, the landlord may have the responsibility to determine if the dog is a threat to the physical safety of others. If the dog is found to be vicious, in some cases the landlord may be held liable in addition to the dog’s owner.
- It must be proven that the landlord was aware or should have been aware of the dog’s viciousness and potential for attacking or hurting a person.
- The landlord must make a reasonable effort to remedy the dangerous situation regarding the vicious dog. If no effort is made prior to the dog attacking and causing harm to someone, the landlord may be held responsible in part or in full.
Statutes Governing Dog Bite Attacks
Dog bite statutes differ depending on the location of the attack and other factors. For instance:
- Dog bite injuries compared to non-bite injuries.
- The victim may only be eligible to receive compensation for their medical costs or they may be able to receive additional compensation for related damages.
- Did the dog bite a person or another animal? Animal on animal attacks follow a different set of laws.
- If the dog was under control of someone other than the owner at the time of the attack, the absent owner may or may not also be held liable. An Alexandria VA dog bite lawyer will have to review the case to make that determination.
Common Defense Strategies of the Dog’s Owner
In an effort to avoid taking responsibility for the actions of their dog, the owner may use any of the following excuses to claim they are not liable for the victim’s damages:
- The dog bite victim provoked the dog, thus making it attack.
- The dog bite victim was a trespasser and therefore not a victim at all.
- The dog bite victim acted negligently, thus precipitating the attack.
- The dog bite victim was working with the dog on a professional basis, and was therefore aware of the risk of being bit and so is not a victim. This is an especially common defense when dog groomers, trainers, walkers, etc. are injured.
- If the dog bite victim was a child, it was the parent who is negligent because he or she did not adequately supervise the child and prevent the attack.
Compensation to Victims of Dog Bites
Even if the dog does not have a history of attacking people and biting them, the owner may still be held liable. After retaining a dog bite lawyer Alexandria VA residents turn to for legal assistance, he or she can establish the extent of the dog owner’s financial resources. There are several ways in which the owner may compensate the victim for damages. Common methods are:
- Homeowner’s insurance
- Renter’s insurance
- The rental unit’s owner if a tenant owns the dog and does not have the financial resources to compensate the victim
Contact the legal offices of Cohen & Cohen if you would like to speak with a dog bite lawyer Alexandria VA victims trust.