Dogs are seen by many as “man’s best friend,” however this is not always the case. Some dogs are more malicious than others, and can be seen as a danger to society. A dog bite can be serious, with potential long term effects on your health and overall being. Thus, states like Virginia have laws regarding these dog-related issues, and not following them can lead to more serious consequences than one might think.
“One Bite” Law
The “one bite” law, unique to Virginia, allows the dog and its owner a one-time courtesy. In other words, the first time the dog bites someones, the owner will not face any repercussions. This makes it very difficult for victims of a dog bite to collect damages or any form of compensation. Further, Virginia is one of the few states without a dog bite statute, and thus there is no set outcome for cases. Rather, each case heavily depends on the outcomes of similar cases before it.
Virginia does, however, have a dangerous dog statute. This comes into play if it is found that the dog owner is aware that their dog is dangerous, as it has exhibited previous vicious behavior. In this case, if the court finds the dog to be dangerous as well, the owner must register the dog with the local animal control and put its name on the Virginia Dangerous Dog Registry. This means the dog will have to wear a tag at all times that warns individuals of its dangerous nature.
In some cases, even if a dog has not been registered as dangerous and has not bitten anyone prior, damages may still be collected. In order to do so, it must be proven that the owner was negligent in its care and handling of the dog. In other words, if the owner failed to properly restrain the dog, and this lead to the bite, damages may be recovered. Any instance in which negligence is proven places the liability on the dog owner.
Contact A Virginia Dog Bite Attorney
If you or a loved one have been bitten by a dog, you may be eligible for compensation and collection of damages. However, due to Virginia’s unique laws, it may be more difficult to do so than one may think. Contact a personal injury attorney that specializes in dog bites to plan the best future course of action.