Dogs have powerful jaws that can inflict severe injuries on the human body. Unfortunately, there are times when the careless or negligent actions of dog owners caused serious injuries. When this happens, injury victims should be able to recover compensation for their losses. At the Robinette Legal Group, our team is standing by to help victims recover the compensation they are entitled to. We have extensive experience handling complex personal injury claims throughout Morgantown, and we have the resources necessary to fully investigate these incidents.
Why Choose the Morgantown Dog Bite Lawyers at the Robinette Legal Group?
- At the Robinette Legal Group, we handle every case with a client-centered approach. This means that we explain your legal rights to you and then handle every detail of your case so you can focus on your recovery period
- We had an extensive track record of success, and have secured significant multimillion-dollar settlements and jury verdicts on behalf of injury victims throughout West Virginia.
- We take Morgantown dog bite injury cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that our clients will not have to worry about paying any legal fees until after we recover the compensation they are entitled to.
Understanding Dog Bite Injuries
Dog bite injuries can be severe. Dogs have very powerful jaws and teeth that can inflict deep injuries. At the Robinette Legal Group, our attorneys have experience helping clients who have sustained the following injuries in these cases:
- Lacerations or puncture wounds
- Severed veins or arteries
- Severed muscles or tendons
- Significant scarring and disfigurement
- Massive blood loss
- Broken fingers or hands
- Amputated fingers
- Major infections
In addition to these traumatic injuries, it is not uncommon for dog bite injury victims to suffer from a range of emotional and psychological injuries as well. This can include long-lasting feelings of fear, stress, anxiety, and even symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
West Virginia Dog Bite Injury Law
When we turn to West Virginia Code Section 19-20-13, we can see that the law says that dog owners are responsible for any injury or property damage that their animal causes while it is “running at large.”
However, it can be difficult to determine exactly what “running at large” means when it comes to these cases. In some situations, this is interpreted to mean that the animal is outside of the owner’s property. In other situations, courts have interpreted this to mean that the animal was not restrained, regardless of whose property the dog was on at the time the bite injury occurred.
If a dog is determined to be running at large, the owner will be strictly liable for any injuries or property damage inflicted by the pet. However, if a person is bitten by a dog when the dog is not considered to be running at large, the victim will have to show that the dog owner’s negligence contributed to the incident. In these cases, this means that the owner knew that the dog had previously bitten someone before or exhibited dangerous conduct or that the owner violated local public safety laws concerning dog safety.
Steps to Take Following a Dog Attack in Morgantown
In the aftermath of sustaining a dog bite injury in Morgantown, West Virginia, there are various steps that dog by victims and their relatives can take to help ensure that they recover maximum compensation for their losses. We understand that the aftermath of these incidents can seem chaotic, and not all of these steps will necessarily be followed in this order.
- Seek medical care. The number one priority for any dog bite victim in Morgantown is to seek medical care as soon as possible. Dog bite injuries often result in rapid blood loss and significant infections. Any dog bite injury must be treated by a medical professional as soon as possible.
- Contact authorities. There may be various authorities that dog bite incidents need to be reported to. This can include the local police, particularly in emergencies. This should also include local animal control officials who can deal with the situation the way they are trained to. It is important to get official documentation of these incidents for insurance carriers and potential personal injury lawsuits.
- Gather evidence. If it is possible to do so after an incident occurs, those involved should gather as much evidence as possible. This could include taking photographs of the injuries or the area where the dog bite occurred. All clothing involved in the incident needs to be kept and not discarded or destroyed.
- Keep track of daily pain and suffering. We encourage any dog bite victim to keep a daily journal that logs their medical treatment and keeps track of how they feel. This can be used as evidence to show various types of pain and suffering or loss of quality of life after a dog bite occurs.
- Reach out to a dog bite lawyer. Dog bite victims need to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can step in and begin gathering the evidence needed to prove liability. They will also be able to handle all paperwork for these cases.
- Continue all medical treatment. Dog bite injury victims have to continue all medical care until their physician says they have reached maximum medical improvement. If a dog bite injury victim discontinues medical care before they have fully healed or reached maximum medical improvement, this could be used as evidence by insurance carriers to say that the victim is not as injured as was initially reported.
Type of Compensation Available for a West Virginia Dog Bite Claim
There may be various types of compensation available for dog bite accident victims in Morgantown, West Virginia. Our attorneys work diligently to recover various types of compensation for our clients, including economic damages and non-economic damages.
- Economic damages. This refers to the more calculable losses that a Morgantown dog bite accident victim is likely to incur. We say calculable because victims and their attorneys can add up bills and receipts to reach a total for the following:
- All medical bills caused by the dog bite incident
- Surgical or physical therapy is needed following the incident
- Lost income if a victim cannot work while recovering
- Any household out-of-pocket expenses incurred
- Non-economic damages. This refers to more immeasurable losses that a dog bite victim in West Virginia will likely endure. We say that these are immeasurable because there are no direct bills or receipts that can properly calculate a dog bite victim’s:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional and psychological distress
- Scarring and disfigurement damages
- Loss of enjoyment of life
There is no set amount of money available to dog bite victims in Morgantown. Every case will be evaluated based on the facts and circumstances surrounding the situation.
How Often do These Injuries Occur?
Estimates say that more than 76 million dogs are living in US households as pets. With this many dogs interacting with humans regularly, it should not be surprising that more than 4.5 million dog bites occur each year, according to data available from the CDC. Even though not every one of these dog bites results in a severe injury, around 800,000 of these injury victims do require medical care in an emergency facility.
Dog bite injuries can occur anywhere. Most people tend to believe that dog bite incidents occur in areas where these animals congregate, such as dog parks. However, dog bites can happen in any place a dog is present. In general, we see that dogs bite if they feel particularly stressed or if they are scared or threatened. However, there are also times when dogs are aggressive due to the way they were raised.
Regardless of why a dog bite injury occurs, injury victims must receive prompt medical care. If a wound is not properly treated, it could become seriously infected and lead to significant long-lasting consequences.
Time Limit for Filing a Dog Bite Injury Claim
It is important for dog bite injury victims in Morgantown to understand that they have a limited amount of time to file these claims in court. The West Virginia personal injury statute of limitations is two years from the date an injury occurs. Dog bite injury victims who fail to file a lawsuit within this two-year timeframe will not be able to recover compensation for their losses.
How Will an Attorney Help a Dog Bite Claim in Morgantown?
It is crucial to have a Morgantown personal injury lawyer by your side to handle these claims. Unfortunately, insurance carriers for the dog owner can put up resistance when it comes to paying compensation for these claims. However, when a dog bite injury lawyer in Morgantown gets involved, they can use their resources to handle every aspect of the claim. This will include:
- Gathering the evidence needed to prove what happened, including video surveillance, photographs from the scene, statements from eyewitnesses, public safety records regarding the owner or the dog, and more.
- Ensuring that their client is evaluated by a trusted medical professional who can treat their injuries and help properly calculate total expected losses.
- Negotiating with aggressive insurance carriers to help ensure that their client recovers total compensation for their losses.
- Fully preparing to take the case to trial is necessary to ensure their client’s rights are upheld.
Call a Morgantown Dog Bite Injury Lawyer Today
If you or somebody you love has been bitten and injured by a dog in Morgantown or the surrounding areas in West Virginia, reach out to the team at the Robinette Legal Group for help as soon as possible. We have extensive experience handling claims just like this, and we know what it takes to help clients recover maximum compensation for their losses. We will stand up to aggressive insurance carriers and at-fault parties to ensure that you are properly cared for. When you need a Morgantown dog bite injury lawyer, you can contact the Robinette Legal Group by clicking here or calling us at (304) 594-1800.