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Finding a lawyer to handle a dog bite case can be difficult. Getting bitten by a dog can be painful, frightening, and traumatic. According to the American Humane Society, two-thirds of dog attacks happen on or near the victim’s property, mostly by a dog the victim knew. Around 800,000 dog bites require medical care every year. However, despite these figures, only about 0.001% of dog bite victims successfully recover damages after being bitten by a dog. This is because of the complex laws surrounding dog bites and every state is different.
In Virginia, in general, every dog gets one “free”, generally non-punishable bite. If the owner was following the leash law and had their dog properly vaccinated, regardless of the victim’s injuries, legal action is difficult. In addition, Virginia has an archaic rule called “contributory negligence” that only exists in three other states. Contributory negligence means that if the victim contributed to the dog attack in any way, usually including agitating the dog or attempting to pet a hostile dog, then the victim does not have any legal right to attempt to claim compensation. The only chance a victim has of recovering damages from a dog bite in Virginia is by proving owner negligence.
Maryland, though not quite as difficult as Virginia, is also a difficult state in which to recover damages from a dog bite. Maryland also generally has the one “free” bite rule, but with stipulations. However, similarly to Virginia, Maryland upholds the contributory negligence rule.
In Washington, D.C., the victim of a dog bite can recover damages if the victim was bitten because it got away from its owner out of the owner’s negligence. However, if the owner is unaware of the dog’s propensity to bite a person, then the action of the owner may not be considered negligent. Thus, the tough part of carrying out dog bite legislation in Washington, D.C. is proving owner negligence. Also, like Virginia and Maryland, the District of Columbia upholds the contributory negligence rule.
As you can see, dog bite litigation laws in Washington, D.C., Virginia, and Maryland are extremely precarious. This being said, if you plan to sue or carry out a lawsuit as the victim of a dog bite, you need an expert opinion and someone with extensive knowledge of dog bite laws. At Cohen & Cohen, we can offer you the perfect dog bite attorney for your case. Let our high success rate, high level of professionalism, and genuine care for our clients help you recover the damages from your dog bite injuries. Contact Cohen & Cohen today for an evaluation of the compensation you are entitled.
Remember, do not rely on any suggestions provided herein. The laws change frequently, and you must consult with an attorney.