Emroch & Kilduff: Your Richmond Dog Bite AttorneyAt Emroch & Kilduff, we have successfully recovered hundreds of millions of dollars in damages for a wide range of clients suffering from personal injuries. Our extensive experience in personal injury law has prepared us well to handle your dog bite claim with efficiency and compassion. We aggressively pursue resolutions for our clients, resulting in successful outcomes for many of our clients. Check out our past case results. While we cannot guarantee results in any one case, the attorneys at Emroch & Kilduff will fight for a fair outcome in your dog bite claim. Our clients appreciate our compassion and commitment as well as our determination to seek justice for victims of dog bite accidents.
Understanding Dog Bite InjuriesMany people assume that the worst dog bites come from big dogs rather than small ones. Cautious individuals may attempt to avoid aggressive breeds or stay away from large, intimidating dogs. Unfortunately, any type of dog can bite given the right provocation. Children, in particular, may mistakenly antagonize a dog or convince it to bite unnecessarily. Following a dog bite, immediate care can help reduce the risk of infection. Medical care can also help establish the full damage caused by a dog, including:
- Tearing damage to the skin
- Crushing damage. Large dogs can exert more than 450 pounds of pressure per square inch, leading to substantial damage beneath the skin.
- Infection. Dog bites may lead to increased risk of infection, including long-term illness or further damage to the area around the bite.
- Scarring. Following the injury, many injured individuals experience long-term scarring.
Does the Dog’s Owner Bear Responsibility for Your Injuries?According to Virginia law, if a dog bites, the owner bears responsibility for paying for any damages associated with the bite. In some cases, however, you may share liability for the accident, such as if you deliberately antagonized a dog known for biting. Talking with a lawyer will help determine whether you share any liability for the dog bite and how that might affect your eligibility to recover damages.
What Compensation Can You Receive?Following a dog bite, you may wonder what compensation you can receive for your injuries. If you suffered a bite, you can claim any medical expenses associated with the accident, including the following:
- Ambulance transport to the hospital, if required. If you needed an ambulance to take you or your child to the hospital following a dog bite, you can seek reimbursement for that trip.
- The emergency room visit. Dog bites may require stitches or medical assessment to determine the full extent of the damage. Often, the emergency room represents the best place to get the care many people need after a dog bite.
- Ongoing medical care, including followup visits. You may need ongoing medical care to help you recover completely from a dog bite.
- Physical therapy, if needed. In some cases, dog bites may cause injuries severe enough to require physical therapy during recovery. If so, the dog’s owner bears the burden of paying for those expenses.
- Plastic surgery. In some cases, dog bites may cause such substantial damage that the bite requires plastic surgery to restore a victim’s physical appearance. In this case, the dog’s owner may bear the burden of those costs.
How Can a Lawyer Help?Following a dog bite, you may need to deal with the owner’s homeowner’s insurance company to seek compensation for a dog bite. In some cases, you may need to deal with the homeowner directly to seek compensation for your injuries. A good attorney may seem expensive, but after a dog bite, working with an attorney offers many benefits. For example, an attorney can:
- Help you better understand the compensation you deserve for your injuries. The attorney will work with you to fully assess how much you should receive in compensation and when to accept a settlement from the insurance company.
- Fight on your behalf. You may need to fight, whether during insurance company negotiations or in court, to receive the full compensation you deserve, and a personal injury attorney will fight to protect your rights and maximize your compensation.
- Increase the compensation you receive. Following a dog bite accident, a lawyer can often increase the funds the insurance company will offer or help you secure a better settlement than you would otherwise acquire on your own, even when you deduct your attorney’s fees.
Richmond Dog Bite Injury FAQThey say dogs are man’s best friend, but not so for victims of a dog bite, many of whom suffer traumatic, disfiguring injuries. Dog bites happen at an alarmingly high rate. The American Animal Hospital Association reports approximately five million people are bitten by dogs every year, and many of those cases result in the victim needing hospitalization or medical treatment. If you or your child has sustained a dog bite, the animal owner may owe you damages. Below, we answer some frequently-asked-questions about dog bites and other dog attacks. If you want to learn more, then a skilled dog bite attorney can help.
What should I do after a dog bites me or my child?Safety first. Some dog bites only result in temporary pain or minor abrasions, but others pose a serious health risk, and it isn’t always easy to tell one from the other. After any bite that breaks the skin, seek immediate medical care at an emergency room or walk-in clinic. Also, because dog bites can transmit bacteria and disease (even if they do not break the skin), always ask the dog’s owner for the dog’s vaccination history. Next, under City of Richmond municipal ordinances, you and the dog’s owner (as well as any treating medical provider) must report the dog bite within 24 hours to Richmond Animal Control at 804-646-5573. Then, contact an experienced dog bite attorney to learn about your potential legal rights to compensation for any injuries and losses you or your child suffered because of the dog bite.
Will the dog’s owner have to pay for my or my child’s injuries?Possibly. In Virginia, dog owners who fail to take reasonable steps to prevent their dogs from attacking people may face legal liability for their negligent conduct. In addition, a local court may order the owner of a dangerous or vicious dog to pay restitution and other damages to the victim of any attack by the dog. To give yourself the best chance of recovering compensation for your injuries, seek the help of an experienced dog bite attorney.
What damages can I recover for a dog bite?It depends on the specific circumstances of your case. However, in general, victims of a dog bite can take legal action seeking compensation for:
- Medical expenses;
- Other expenses related to dealing with dog bite injury and trauma;
- Lost wages or income that a lawyer can show resulted from the dog bite;
- The cost of repairing or replacing personal property damaged in connection with the dog attack;
- The victim’s physical pain and emotional suffering, including long-term trauma caused by disfiguring injuries; and
- In some cases, punitive damages that punish the dog’s owner for especially outrageous or criminal conduct.
How long do I have to file a lawsuit against the dog’s owner?Virginia law generally allows dog bite victims two years to file suit against the party at fault for their injuries. This may seem like a long time, but give your attorney as much time as possible to gather evidence and build your case by seeking legal advice as soon as possible.
If I file a claim against the dog’s owner, does that mean the dog has to be put down?If you’re an animal lover, it’s natural to worry about an animal's future, even after that animal has caused personal harm. In the case of dog bites, courts consider each case individually. Unless the dog has a history of violent behavior, chances are the dog owner may only receive a citation or a fine.
Are there any circumstances where a dog owner does not have financial liability for a dog bite?Yes, but they are fact and circumstance-specific. A court may let a dog owner off the hook for injuries and losses caused by a dog bite, for example, if:
- The victim was committing a crime at the time of the attack;
- The victim was abusing or provoking the dog;
- The dog was an on-duty police K9 under the control of a trained handler; or
- The dog was responding to pain, protecting itself, its owner, or the owner’s property.
How much will a dog bite case cost me?If you hire Emroch & Kilduff, it will cost you nothing unless a lawyer succeeds in securing you compensation. Our experienced dog bite attorneys will meet with you for free to talk about your potential case for the first time. You should never have to pay a lawyer to find out if you have a claim to make. If you and the lawyer decide to work together on your case, then we always also agree to represent you on contingency. That’s when a lawyer works for you in exchange for receiving a percentage of any money recovered on your behalf. If the lawyer’s efforts do not succeed in getting you paid, then you pay the lawyer nothing. In other words, victims of dog bites should never worry that they cannot afford an attorney to represent them in a claim for damages. Just the opposite: the only thing dog attack victims cannot afford is to go without an experienced attorney. So, don’t wait. Contact a skilled, seasoned dog bite lawyer at Emroch & Kilduff today to learn about your rights.
Do You Need a Dog Bite Attorney?If you suffered serious injuries due to a dog bite, you need an attorney to fight on your behalf. Call us in Richmond today at (804) 358-1568, or contact us online, to schedule your free consultation.
Emroch & Kilduff 3600 W Broad St #700 Richmond, VA 23230 Phone: (804) 358-1568