Dog attacks are terrifying but trying to obtain fair compensation following an attack can be equally scary. Virginia tries to help men and women who suffer injuries by allowing them to sue on their own in small claims court. However, most dog bite victims would benefit greatly from legal help. In our experience, a lawyer is worth every penny you pay in legal fees.
At Barney Injury Law, our team can swing into action to help you maximize your financial recovery. Below, our Virginia Beach dog bite lawyer highlights the key reasons you should contact us following an attack.
Proving Liability Isn’t Easy
You might think dog owners are automatically liable when their animal attacks you. Unfortunately, Virginia’s law is a little more complicated. Instead, you will need to show that you qualify under the law for compensation.
There are a couple ways to do this. First, you can try to show that the dog owner knew that the dog had bitten someone before. If the owner had knowledge, then the owner is on the hook for subsequent attacks. It is usually enough that the dog showed aggressiveness in the past, such as lunging and snapping at people.
Alternatively, you can show the dog owner violated a law that was designed to protect the public. This is “negligence per se.” For example, the owner might have not leashed its dog as required by law. If the unleashed animal bit you, then you can sue.
Whichever theory you choose to proceed under, you need evidence. And dog bite victims are usually in considerable pain, which limits their ability to travel around and interview witnesses or collect physical evidence. Let one of our Virginia Beach dog bite lawyers gather evidence for you.
Tracking Down the Owner is Time Consuming
If you were attacked in public, you might not even know the identity of the dog’s owner. This can require some legwork to find out. You might need to talk to neighbors, search for surveillance video in the community, or request help on social media. Obtaining helpful evidence requires a seasoned eye for
Negotiating a Settlement is Difficult
Many of our clients seek a settlement by filing a claim with the dog owner’s homeowners or renter’s insurance policy. Unfortunately, these entities are rarely eager to pay compensation to someone who was attacked. Instead, they will reject or minimize claims, dragging out the process.
For one thing, many insurers try to exclude certain breeds from their policies. They might also claim the dog owner hasn’t been paying the premiums in time. Insurers can be quite creative when trying to avoid a settlement, and only a seasoned attorney can review the relevant legal documents.
In other situations, the insurer might admit liability but minimize a person’s damages. They might claim some of the medical care you received was unnecessary or that you are not in as much pain as you claim. They make these arguments to reduce the amount they pay you in compensation. A dog’s powerful jaws can cause considerable damage, including nerve damage, and you deserve fair compensation to make up for the attack.
Hiring Our Virginia Beach Dog Bite Attorney is Easy
At Barney Injury Law, we represent clients on contingency, which means you never have to pay upfront legal fees. Instead, we represent you on the agreement that we will accept a portion of any settlement or jury verdict we obtain. These agreements provide an incentive to maximize the amount you take home.
Please contact us today. We can swiftly begin the claims process by meeting to discuss the dog attack and your odds of receiving compensation. We serve clients in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, and Norfolk, Virginia.