Dog Bite Attorney Services For Washington, D.C., Maryland & Virginia
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. If you or someone you know has been the victim of a dog bite, contact the Washington DC injury lawyers at Cohen & Cohen immediately.
If you or someone you love in DC is bit by a dog, you may want to consult a DC dog bite lawyer, especially if you believe the owner of the dog that bit you did not comply with DC leash laws. In DC, if a dog is outside of a confined area, that dog is required to be on a leash, unless that person is in a dog park, where dogs can be without leashes. However, if someone is taking their dog for a walk, that dog needs to be on a leash. If you have been bitten by a dog in the DC area, an expert dog bite lawyer can help you determine if you should file for damages or if you can receive compensation for any pain, injuries or suffering.
If a dog owner or someone walking a dog is walking a dog without a leash in public, that person can be held liable because of negligence. If someone is walking their dog without a leash, which means they are in violation of the DC leash laws, and the dog attacks someone, the person walking the dog sans leash can be considered liable and the attack is evidence of negligence. A person wouldn’t need to prove the dog has a vicious propensity because there was per se negligence on the party of the dog owner by not having that dog on a leash in a public area.
While sometimes dog owners are negligent because their dogs are not on leashes, sometimes dog owners have not done anything wrong. A dog owner may not be negligent if there is no evidence that the dog was violent before the accident, had never bitten anyone, the dog was on a leash, and someone simply approached the dog and the dog bit them. In situations like that, the dog owner couldn’t have done anything to stop the dog bite accident, therefore, the owner would not be liable.
One very important tactic surrounding a dog bite case is determining the role of leash laws in the specific case and that can be found by gathering witness statements and gather evidence. If you were bitten by a dog that has escaped a confined area, you must show that the dog escaped the confined area as a result of negligence or not being sufficiently locked up. If a dog was not on a leash, your dog bite case will be much easier to prove. If the dog was on a leash and still bite you or a loved one, you should pull animal control records to see the dog’s history and find out if anyone else registered any complaints about the dog prior. If the dog has had previously complaints against it that will strengthen your case.
A good place to start on getting witness statements is the dog’s neighbors. Neighbors tend to know a noisy dog, a violent dog or a vicious dog. People watch out for dogs that are known to be violent. If the neighbors know that the dog was violent, this will show that the dog owner was aware of the dog’s behavior prior to the dog bite and also be evidence for your case. What is most important is showing that the dog owner was fully aware of the dog’s violent disposition or propensites before the dog bite occurred. Knowing what information and how to get it is why contacting an expert dog bite lawyer DC can be helpful for your case.
The best way to prevent a dog bite is to avoid petting dogs that you do not know.
Recovering Damages Can Be Difficult, Even With A Dog Bite Attorney
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. If you or a loved one has been recently bitten by a dog, seek out the dog bite lawyer Washington DC trusts.
A Dog Bite Lawyer Will Help Make Sure Your Case Is Handled Effectively
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.