Helping You Recover Compensation For Your Injuries and Anguish After A Dog Attack That Wasn’t Your Fault
Being bitten or attacked by a dog is a terrifying experience, even more so when the victim is a child. Dog bite victims face serious physical injuries, permanent scars, a series of painful rabies shots, and sometimes the wrongful death of a loved one occurs. If you or a loved one is a victim of a dog bite or attack, you should know your legal options.
Attorney Richard Serpe
As a Virginia personal injury attorney, Richard Serpe advocates for those who have been injured due to the negligence of another person, dangerous product, or company. A substantial portion of his 35-year legal career has been devoted to the representation and protection of injured children.
He’s earned a reputation as a well-respected, hard-working attorney with a tenacious approach to every case he takes on. Richard Serpe has a track record of success in obtaining favorable settlements and verdicts for his clients.
What are my legal rights after a dog bite?
A: If you’ve been attacked by a dog, you’re likely feeling shocked and overwhelmed. Once the initial shock wears off, though, many victims feel helpless. It’s important for dog bite victims to know their rights. When an animal attacks, the owner of the dog is liable for the damage done. Sometimes a person who is caring for the animal at the time of the attack can be held liable if they knew the dog could be vicious. Victims bitten by dogs have the right to compensation.
Typical damages that Virginia dog bite victims can receive compensation for include: pain and suffering, loss of earnings while unable to work, future loss of earnings if you cannot return to work, disﬁgurement – if the injury causes scarring or other unsightly marks, plastic surgery, and other medical expenses.
What to do After a Dog Bite or Attack
- Seek medical attention immediately. You do not know whether or not the animal has been vaccinated against rabies. Even if they have, you are still at risk for infection. As well, it is important that your injuries are documented by a medical professional should you decide to pursue a lawsuit.
- Report the incident by calling the the police or the Norfolk Animal Protection Unit at 757-664-7387. It is very important that the incident is documented by authorities. In addition, the dog will need to be quarantined to monitor for rabies.
- Take photos of your injuries. Be sure to take photos of your injuries right after the attack, and continue to take photos through the healing process. This will be important evidence for your case.
- Contact a Virginia dog bite lawyer who is experienced with dog bite cases to help you get the best possible settlement.
Do I need to hire a dog bite lawyer?
A: The simple answer is no. However, you need to be careful not to sign away your legal rights with the insurance company for a small settlement. If you agree to a dog bite personal injury settlement and sign the release papers, you cannot come back for more money later. Insurance companies know that most people are inexperienced with liability claims. If they see a chance to deny or minimize a claim, they’ll take it. An experienced Virginia dog bite lawyer will ensure all of your medical bills are included in the settlement, as well as any permanent long-term care that you will need.
The fact is, most dog bites and attacks can be prevented. When a dog owner chooses to act negligently by letting their dog run loose or continuously escape from their fenced in yard, they are putting innocent people at risk. If you are injured because of a dog owner’s negligence, you deserve to be compensated for your injuries. If you hire us we will:
- Conduct a thorough investigation to find out if the dog owner or handler acted negligently.
- Deal with the insurance companies and legal matters so that you can focus on getting better.
- Attempt to recover the best possible settlement for your case so that you can afford the medical treatment you deserve.
Compensation & Settlements for Norfolk Dog Bite Victims
Depending on the specifics of the dog bite, victims may be entitled to one or more of the following types of damages:
- Medical Expenses: Damages include any sort of medical expenses that a victim has had to pay for at a hospital, clinic, or to a pharmacy.
- Pain and suffering: This is the right to compensation for physical pain and suffering and mental anguish you have suffered and could possibly endure in the future.
- Loss of Earnings: You are entitled to recover for the loss of earnings which you suffered from your injuries.
- Future Loss of Earnings: If your injuries have prevented you from your ability to earn income in the future, you can recover damages for the value of the reduction in earning capacity with reasonable probability which will occur in the future.
- Disﬁgurement & Scarring: If the injury causes scarring or other unsightly marks, the victim is entitled to recovery for the disﬁgurement. Because these injuries are often in very visible places, victims are often very self-conscious of their appearance.
- Wrongful death of a loved one.Fatal dog attacks are rare, but when they do occur, they’re always incredibly tragic. No one ever expects to lose a loved one in such a violent way. The Virginia wrongful death statute allows certain family members of the victim to file a claim on the behalf of the deceased.
What is the average dog bite settlement?
According to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), in 2019 the average pay out for a dog bite claim nationwide was $44,760. Further, homeowners insurance paid out $797 million in claims related to dog bites and attacks.
*Please understand that every case is different. Lawyers cannot evaluate a case without knowing all the facts.
Statute of Limitations (Claim Deadlines)
In Virginia, there are strict deadlines for filing a lawsuit. In many cases, Virginia provides a two-year deadline also known as a Statute of Limitations (SOL). However, sometimes special circumstances apply and can alter that deadline. It is important to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible after the accident to protect your rights.
Legal Duties of Virginia Dog Owners
Under Virginia law, a person who owns a dog or otherwise has custody or control of the dog has certain legal duties, including:
- It is the duty of the owner of domestic animals to exercise ordinary care to prevent them from running at large beyond the boundaries of his own land. This requirement may turn on whether your county or city has a “leash law” ordinance. Check our website for a list of these cities and counties.
- If the owner of a dog sees or in the exercise of reasonable care should have been aware of the fact that his animal was about to attack or injure another person or their property, then the owner is under a duty to exercise reasonable care to prevent it from doing so
- Dog owners are charged with knowledge of the general propensities of dogs and also of any particular propensities peculiar to the breed of dog that he knew or in the exercise of ordinary care should have known. Insofar as any such propensities were of a nature likely to cause injury, it is the duty of dog owners to exercise ordinary care to guard against them and to prevent injuries that were reasonably to be anticipated from any such propensities.
Norfolk Dog Bite Lawyer
For over 34 years, attorney Richard Serpe and his team have helped Virginia personal injury victims get back what they have lost. Mr. Serpe represents innocent victims throughout Virginia — children, delivery drivers, FedEx, UPS, postal workers (USPS), joggers, pedestrians, neighbors, loved ones, and anyone else attacked by a dog. Discuss your dog bite case with one of our Norfolk dog bite lawyers. The consultation is free and there is no obligation. If you do decide to retain us to represent you, we have a no fee promise – you pay no legal fees unless we settle or win your case.
We are located in the Crown Center Building in Downtown Norfolk. 580 East Main Street, #310 Norfolk, VA 23510. We have clients across the state of Virginia and will come to you or set up a virtual meeting if you can’t come to us.