Having a dog around can be a source of comfort or security. However, sometimes the animals people spend their lives with can turn vicious with little warning or provocation. When dogs become aggressive toward people, they can potentially inflict serious injuries.
Scenarios involving large dogs and either very young or very old people can have particularly poor outcomes. The emergency care required after a dog bite incident could cost thousands of dollars even after a simple injury that requires stitches and medication.
If a dog causes disfiguring injuries or breaks someone’s bones, the cost of their treatment could be even higher. Can the people hurt by an aggressive dog in Virginia seek compensation for the injuries they suffer and the expenses they incur?
Virginia has a one-bite rule
To a certain extent, people who own dogs in Virginia assume some liability for the animal’s actions. However, the state extends a certain degree of leniency to animal owners by imposing a one-bite rule. Those who own a dog typically won’t face legal or financial liability for its actions until after the animal has displayed aggression toward someone else. Once a dog has bitten someone or shown a tendency toward aggression, the owner could face liability for any future incidents involving the animal. If it bites someone a second time, especially if the incident causes significant injury, the situation could lead to a claim against the animal’s owner.
Frequently, dog bite attacks that are actionable lead to compensation from an insurance company. The homeowner’s or renter’s insurance for the animal’s owner can pay to cover the medical costs, lost wages and other expenses generated by the incident. Typically, compensation is only available when the animal has a history of aggression and the person bitten was not breaking the law or provoking the animal at the time of the incident.
Especially when an animal was aggressive with no prior warning and when their behavior causes severe injury to humans, a claim against their owner or the insurance covering their owner may be the best option for those affected. Seeking legal guidance to make better sense of Virginia’s dog bite and personal injury laws can help those who have recently been injured by an aggressive animal.