Helping You Recover Compensation for Your Injuries and Anguish After a Virginia Beach Dog Bite that Wasn’t Your Fault.

Norfolk, Virginia dog bite lawyerDog attacks can be incredibly traumatic experiences for the victims involved, often resulting in severe physical injuries, permanent scarring, and emotional trauma. These incidents can occur unexpectedly and can have long-lasting effects on a victim’s quality of life. As a personal injury firm serving Virginia Beach, we understand the devastating impact that these attacks can have on individuals and their families.

Our firm is dedicated to representing dog attack victims throughout the state of Virginia. We have successfully helped a wide range of individuals, including children, delivery drivers, postal workers, joggers, pedestrians, neighbors, and many others who have suffered from these types of incidents. Richard Serpe has a deep understanding of the legal complexities surrounding dog bite cases and will work tirelessly to ensure that our clients receive the compensation they deserve.

We know that every case is unique, and we take the time to listen to our client’s stories and understand their individual needs. Our goal is to help our clients navigate the legal system and obtain the maximum possible compensation for their injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. We work closely with medical professionals, investigators, and other experts to build a strong case and achieve the best possible outcome for our clients.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a Virginia Beach dog attack, we are here to help. Contact our firm today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about your legal options. We are committed to fighting for justice on behalf of our clients and holding negligent dog owners accountable for the harm caused by their pets.


  1. Get medical attention. If you are seriously injured, you should call 911 or seek help from a medical professional to protect your health. As far as personal injury claims go, having your injuries treated and documented by a medical professional will almost always be required.
  2. Report the incident. Any dog that has bitten or attacked someone is a risk to the health and safety of the public and should be reported. The dog will also need to be quarantined and monitored for rabies. Animal Control’s investigative report can be incredibly helpful to your case.
  3. Consider contacting a lawyer. An experienced dog bite attorney can do a thorough investigation into the dog owner, handle the insurance companies, and protect your right to fair compensation.


Virginia’s “One Bite” Rule

The “one bite” rule in Virginia aims to legally hold pet owners accountable for their dog’s violent behavior. Essentially, if a dog has previously bitten someone, the owner can be held liable for any damages caused by future attacks. For instance, if Fido’s owner was aware of the dog’s previous biting incident and failed to take preventative measures, they may be held responsible for any financial losses incurred by a subsequent victim. In other words, the owner’s knowledge of the dog’s aggressive tendencies creates a legal obligation to prevent future attacks.

Negligence Per Se

Owners negligent in controlling their dogs can be held accountable for any damages caused, even if the dog has no prior history of violence. If a victim can provide evidence that the owner failed to comply with the law and control their pet, they may be able to sue for compensation. For example, if a dog attacks someone at a Virginia Beach park where leashes are required, but the owner has allowed the dog to roam freely, the victim may have a valid claim. This is because the owner’s decision to disregard leash requirements demonstrates negligence on their part.


Dog bite settlement amounts are based on many different factors. A major factor? Whether or not there is insurance and the policy limits. Policy limits often represent the ceiling for settlement negotiations. Beware, insurance companies will often make lowball settlement offers. A Virginia personal injury lawyer can negotiate a fair settlement.

Depending on the circumstances surrounding your Virginia Beach dog bite, the following may be included in your settlement.

  • Pain and suffering: This is the right to compensation for your physical pain and mental anguish.
  • Loss of Earnings: You may recover for the loss of earnings that you suffered from your injuries.
  • Future Loss of Earnings: Your injuries are permanent and have affected your ability to earn income in the future.
  • Scarring & Disfigurement: If the injury causes scarring or other unsightly marks, the victim may be entitled to recovery for the disfigurement. Because these injuries are often in very visible places, victims are often very self-conscious of their appearance.
    • Children are frequently bitten in the facial region and require plastic surgery.
  • Medical Bills: Damages include any sort of medical expenses that a victim has had to pay for at a hospital, clinic, or pharmacy.


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. However, sometimes special circumstances apply and can alter that deadline.  It is important to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible after the dog attack to protect your right to compensation.


Our firm works on a contingency fee basis. This means you won’t owe us any attorney’s fees unless we settle or win your case.

Contingency fees are paid by the client if a lawyer successfully handles a case. These fees are commonly used in personal injury law where money is being claimed. The fee is deducted from the money recovered in the successful settlement or verdict.

Contingency fees allow the client and attorney to share the financial burden of a case. This creates an incentive for lawyers to work hard for the best possible results. It also shows the level of confidence the attorney has in the case: they wouldn’t take on the client if they didn’t believe they could win! Contingency arrangements are also helpful for clients who might not have the money upfront to hire an attorney.


Virginia Beach city code regarding dog bites and dog attacks contains many provisions regarding proper ownership of one’s pets. Here are a few regulations you should be aware of to keep yourself and others safe.

  • Virginia Beach Animal Control
  • Regulations on Dogs at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront & Boardwalk
  • Leash Law: Code 5-531, the “leash law,” covers dogs only. When a dog is being walked on any city sidewalk it must be on a lead at all times. Also, dogs being walked on a leash must also be wearing a city pet license.
  • Running At Large: Code 5-530 stipulates that no animal may be free to run “at large” within the city limits. So, that means a dog is supposed to be properly contained within one’s residence, either within the house or on a tie-out or chain.
  • Dangerous & Vicious Dogs: But what constitutes a vicious dog or dangerous dog?
    • Code 5-520 maintains that a “dangerous dog” is one that “has bitten, attacked or inflicted injury” on another person or even another animal. A “vicious dog” is one that has killed or inflicted severe or serious bodily harm on a human being, as well as one who has continually exhibited dangerous behavior as previously found by a court.


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