The American Humane Society says there are nearly five million dog attacks each year in this country. Unfortunately, nearly a million of those result in injuries. Sadly, many of the victims are young children and injuries can be severe. There are leash laws in many areas, but dog owners fail to follow the law. The fact is that most dogs that attack have done it before. Victims need to make a claim against the dog owner.
Have you been attacked by a dog in Virginia? Contact the law firm of Dulaney, Lauer & Thomas for a FREE case evaluation. Owners are not liable every time a dog bites someone. That is why it is important to have an experienced lawyer handle the case. Virginia law describes several situations in which a dog owner may be liable when the dog bites someone. Dog owners are held responsible for knowing whether or not their dog may bite, or may be aggressive. Indeed, the law requires owners to prevent foreseeable harm.
The dog should be fenced in and never allowed to wander. Virginia also holds landowners responsible for acts committed by dogs on their property. Landowners are required to know about hazardous conditions, and that includes aggressive dogs. Tenants are required to inspect the rented property for hazards. Therefore, landowners should be aware of any animals on the property. However, the state still has an archaic law in place called the “one-bite rule.”
Basically, the law says dogs are allowed to bite someone one time. This lets the owner say they did not know the dog would bite. This is despite the fact that the dog might be of a known aggressive breed. Most states have repealed the one-bite rule. Another outdated part of Virginia law is contributory negligence. The law says that a person who is one percent or more responsible for the accident may not collect damages. Dog owners can use this to defend themselves in court. These laws must be changed. Anyone who is attacked by a vicious animal should be able to recover from their pain and suffering, and be reimbursed for any medical expenses related to the attack.
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