Gloucester County dog bite lawyers
Dogs are often called man’s best friend. And while they do make great companions, they’re not harmless. In fact, many dogs have been bred specifically to be powerful and protective.
While many of us here in Gloucester love our furry friends, the truth is that some dog attacks are dangerous, deadly, and more common than is widely known.
While we don’t know how many people are bitten by dogs each day in the United States, we do know that around 1,000 people require emergency room care every day. And 14,000 people are hospitalized after dog attacks every year. Fatal attacks are also on the rise, with last year recording the highest number of dog-related deaths yet – 48 maulings.
In rural areas like Gloucester, dogs are more likely to run loose, which increases the odds of a confrontation with unsuspecting humans. Gloucester is a wonderful community to enjoy time with your dog with our county’s broad expanses of farms, trails, and coastline – not to mention a dog’s joy in playing in rivers like the Ware, Severn, York, and Piankatank. Strolling the sidewalks of the quaint village in Gloucester Courthouse with a dog is also a favorite activity of residents and visitors alike.
But with that freedom, dog owners who are on notice that their dog may be dangerous must take steps to prevent their dog from injuring other people. Unfortunately, we see too many cases where dog owners fail to take even the most basic steps to control their dog, and they regrettably underestimate the severe damage an attack by their dog can inflict.
We at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys have helped numerous people who have been seriously injured by dogs right here in Gloucester, and we understand that you may be in pain and in desperate need of expert advice. We are passionate about helping our neighbors in Gloucester and beyond, and we are experienced in ensuring that you are fairly compensated for your injuries. We offer you the legal help you need to find recovery. Call us at (804) 413-6777 and toll-free at (855) 781-6777 for a free consultation and outstanding legal advice.
Dogs are descended from wolves, and many dog breeds make that obvious. With sharp teeth, powerful jaws, and fast legs, a dog can cause serious damage. While many dogs are faithful companions, others are aggressive and improperly trained. If you end up in the path of a dangerous dog, you can end up suffering serious injuries, such as:
- Deep lacerations
- Broken bones
- Puncture wounds
- Crush injuries
- Eye damage
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Limb loss
- Nerve damage
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Organ damage
Even a small dog can pose serious health risks. A dog’s mouth is full of harmful bacteria, and if a dog bite wound isn’t properly cleaned, the bacteria can cause severe infections. While infections can be treated, infections can also spread. That’s why, even if you think that because the bite wound was small and you’ll be fine, you should still seek medical assistance to make sure the wound is properly cleaned.
One of the groups most commonly attacked by dogs is children. Children love dogs and can be quick to get into a dog’s space. Children also may not recognize when a dog is acting scared or aggressively.
And sadly, because children are much smaller than adults, a dog attack that may have left an adult with a few scars can result in a child’s death. In such a case, the child’s family can file for a wrongful death claim, but compensation can’t ease a family’s suffering.
Under Virginia law, the owner of a dog is liable for a dog attack if he knew, or should have known, that his dog was going to act aggressively. This is commonly called the “one-bite law,” because it’s based on the assumption that the best way to know if a dog is aggressive is if it has already bitten someone.
However, the one-bite law does not just apply to bites. Rather, it applies to any form of aggressive behavior that could cause injury. For example, if a dog has often jumped on people, and his jumping has caused someone to fall, then that could qualify as “the owner should have known,” under the one-bite law.
Further, under the law, someone who has been injured by an aggressive dog can hold the dog’s owner legally responsible for the resulting damages. But, to file a successful dog attack claim, the injured party must show that:
- The owner had a duty of care toward the victim
- The owner failed this duty of care
- The victim received injuries as a result of that failure
Keep in mind that a dog’s owner is always responsible for keeping his dog controlled, and when necessary, he should use tools such as a leash or harness to ensure others’ safety. This mandate makes it fairly straightforward to prove that a dog owner was negligent and should be held liable if you are attacked by their dog.
The liable party isn’t always the owner, and it’s not always obvious. Dog attacks can be fast and disorienting. So it can be difficult to determine who was responsible for keeping the dog secured.
At GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys, we are experienced in working with dog attack victims in Gloucester, and we know there are four most commonly liable parties:
- The owner: While the owner isn’t always liable, he is most commonly the one responsible for a dog attack.
- A dog sitter/walker: Many dog owners are too busy to walk their dogs, and many hire dog sitters or walkers. These employees must keep the animal properly secured. If they fail to do so, they may be responsible for your injuries.
- Kennel or shelter owners: Many dogs are boarded at kennels while their owners are away, while other dogs are kept at shelters until they are adopted. Kennels and shelters must have properly secured facilities to keep dogs on premises at all times. If a dog escapes and attacks someone, the facility may be responsible for the injuries.
- A property owner/landlord: When you are visiting someone or returning home to your apartment, you expect the property to be safe. But some owners and landlords are negligent, and allow dogs to roam about freely. This can be a problem if you live in an area with a lot of strays. If you are attacked on a property that should have been kept safe, especially your own apartment, your landlord or the property owner may be legally responsible for your damages.
Determining who is liable for a dog bite can be tricky, and it may require an investigation into the circumstances. Then, once the liable party is determined, you have to submit evidence, file paperwork, and fight insurance companies to recover the compensation you deserve. Doing all of this while recovering from injuries can be daunting.
That’s why we at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys are here to help. We know how difficult dog bite claims are, and we are prepared to shoulder the burden for you. As local personal injury attorneys, we will fight for your fair compensation, and we will give you the confidence to recover in peace. Best of all, we work on a contingency basis, meaning we don’t get paid until you do. For a free consultation, call us at (804) 413-6777 today.
It costs you nothing for our firm to represent you. We only get paid when you do. Learn more
Prevention, empathy, and diligence are hallmarks of everything we do at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys. Our community can see these ideals lived out in our work to prevent personal injuries from happening.
- Safety Education
GibsonSingleton launches “Texts=Wrecks” campaign to reduce the number of people injured or killed by distracted drivers.
- Annual Coat Drive
During the fall, our team works to distribute coats to people in need in our community.
- Hands-on Service
John and Ken join the Gloucester Point Rotary Club in cleaning up the community.
- Supporting Local Schools
The Gibson family participates in Gloucester’s Botetourt Elementary Shuffle fundraiser.