Bergeron Law Firm – Serving all of Northern VA

Dogs can be fun, loving, adorable friends for you and your family.  In our family, we just love our border collie, Maybelle.  But it’s important to remember that some dogs have aggressive tendencies and strong jaws that can cause serious injury if they bite or attack.  Dogs may bite or attack out of fear, to protect their territory, or if they’re provoked and can cause serious injury including deep lacerations, nerve damage, permanent scarring, and disfigurement.  If you’ve been bitten or attacked by a dog due to the negligence of the dog’s owner, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and damages.  Steve Bergeron has experience representing dog attack victims and their families.

Some rules under Virginia dog bite law

In general, under Virginia law, a dog owner is required to be aware of her dog’s natural tendencies, propensities and characteristics and has duty to act reasonably, based on her knowledge of those tendencies, propensities and characteristics, to prevent her dog from injuring someone else.  This can mean that the owner of a dog with aggressive or dangerous propensities must do more than the owner of a more docile dog or the owner could be held liable if her dog attacks someone.

Most Northern Virginia localities, including Fairfax, Vienna, Arlington, and Alexandria, also have “leash” laws under which a dog owner can be held liable if her dog is “running at large” and attacks or injures someone regardless of whether the owner knows, or should’ve known, that the dog was likely to attack.

Contributory negligence

Virginia law also includes a doctrine called “contributory negligence.”  This means that if you were negligent and your negligence contributed to causing the injuries you suffered in a dog bite or attack, you could be barred from recovering any damages, even if the dog owner was also negligent.  As an example, an insurance company may argue that you were bitten because you teased or provoked the dog, or you were bitten because you trespassed on private property.

For reasons like these, it is important that you work with a personal injury attorney who has extensive experience in dog bite and dog attack cases.  Steve Bergeron understands the law, how to investigate your case, and how insurance company’s may try to blame you for your injuries.

Dog bite injury claims

If you’ve been attacked by a dog because of the negligence of the owner, you may be entitled to monetary damages under Virginia law.  Damages may include compensation or reimbursement for:

  • Current and future medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disfigurement
  • Mental Anguish
  • Inconvenience

What should I do if attacked by a dog (if you are able)?

  • Call the police and report the dog bite.
  • Try to identify the dog and owner.
  • Seek medical attention immediately.
  • Take photographs of the dog, of the area where the dog bite occurred, and of your injuries.
  • If there are witnesses, get their contact information.
  • Write down what happened as soon as possible while it is fresh in your memory.
  • Speak with a personal injury attorney who can explain insurance coverages, the applicable law and your rights, guide you through the process, and help protect your rights.

Get help from the Bergeron Law Firm

A dog bite or attack can change your life and create real-world problems that have to be solved.  Steve Bergeron understands the challenges that dog attack victims and their families can face and can explain your legal rights and the applicable law and investigate the incident to determine if there is sufficient evidence to make a claim against the dog owner.  Steve can also work with your doctors, other medical providers, and insurance companies to understand and explain the nature and extent of your injuries and their impact on your life.  Steve will investigate potential insurance coverages that might be available to reimburse you for your expenses and damages to try to help you solve the real-world problems caused by the dog bite, so you can focus on getting well and getting back to your life.

So, before you speak with an insurance adjuster about your dog bite and injuries, give Steve a call. He’ll do his best to explain the applicable law, your legal rights, insurance coverages, and give you his best advice on whether you have a personal injury claim against the dog owner and how you can try to solve the problems caused by your injuries so that you can focus on your treatment and getting back to a meaningful life.