People often underestimate how much harm a dog can cause when it bites someone. Dog bites can lead to severe, potentially permanent injuries, as well as anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other mental health conditions. Further, treating dog bite injuries can cost thousands of dollars, not to mention the money people lose if a dog bite leaves them unable to work. This is when a dog bite lawyer comes in to help you claim compensation for your injuries.
At Robinette Legal Group, our West Virginia dog bite lawyers can help you recover compensation after a dog bite injury. Our team has extensive knowledge of West Virginia dog bite laws and is ready to handle your case from start to finish. While we handle your case and protect your rights, you can focus on recovering from your injuries. We do not charge any fees unless you recover compensation. Follow this link to explore our case results. Call us today at (304) 381-5814 or visit our website for more information.
West Virginia Dog Bite Statistics
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), “more than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the United States, and more than 800,000 receive medical attention for dog bites.” Further, according to one study, there are an average of 337,000 ER visits across the nation each year due to dog bites. As these numbers show, dog bites are a significant public health risk nationwide.
Health Issues Resulting from Dog Bites
In addition to causing short-term injuries, such as bruises and scratches, dog bites can also lead to long-term health issues. These may include things like:
- Scarring and disfigurement– Dogs have sharp teeth and are strong enough to cause deep lacerations and puncture wounds when they bite someone. Dog bites on the limbs, face, or other body parts can leave disfiguring scars. In addition to the physical pain from scarring, dog bite victims may experience intense emotional distress as a result of serious disfigurement.
- Difficulty with movement– Broken bones, torn ligaments/tendons, and other injuries from dog bites can significantly affect someone’s ability to move or perform normal physical tasks. In serious cases, a dog bite injury can prevent someone from working due to a physical disability, sometimes permanently.
- Infections – Dog bites carry a high risk of infection. Types of infections that could result include a Capnocytophaga infection, sepsis, tetanus, rabies, and MRSA. Some of these infections are lethal without proper treatment.
- Psychological distress– In addition to causing severe physical trauma, dog bites can also leave victims with deep psychological or emotional trauma. Heightened anxiety, nightmares, panic attacks, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other mental health issues from dog bites can take a severe toll on someone’s quality of life.
What To Do After a Dog Bite in West Virginia
Here is what you need to do if a dog bites you in West Virginia:
- Secure the dog if you can do so safely
- Look for an ID tag or other information that can help you identify the dog and its owner
- Contact the dog’s owner and give them a brief description of the incident
- Take pictures of any injuries you sustained
- Seek medical attention immediately
- Save all your medical records and receipts from the attack
- Avoid talking to insurance companies before speaking to an attorney
- Do not make any posts about the attack on social media
- Hire a dog bite injury attorney
West Virginia’s Dog Bite Statute and Strict Liability
According to the West Virginia Code, a dog’s owner or keeper is liable for any injuries the dog causes when running “at large,” meaning the dog is not leashed or under the control of its owner or keeper. Though most personal injury plaintiffs secure compensation by proving that the party responsible for their injuries behaved negligently, state courts have interpreted this law to mean a dog’s owner or keeper is strictly liable for dog bite injuries.
When applicable, strict liability spares plaintiffs from needing to prove the traditional elements of negligence. In other words, if a dog attacks you when it is “at large,” all you have to prove is that the dog attacked you along with the identify of its owner or keeper.
On the other hand, the state’s dog bite laws make proving a case more difficult if the dog was not running at large when it attacked. In these cases, the injured party must show that the dog’s owner or keeper acted negligently or that the dog has a history of aggressive or dangerous behavior. A dog bite injury attorney can tell you more about the West Virginia dog bite laws that apply to your case.
What Damages Can You Recover Through a Dog Bite Lawsuit in West Virginia?
All dog bite cases are different, and your compensation for a dog bite depends on your injuries, how much the attack has cost you, and what evidence you have to support your case. With the right evidence and the right dog bite lawyer to build a strong case on your behalf, you could recover compensation for things like:
- Medical expenses you incurred as a result of your injuries, including the cost of future care
- Post-traumatic stress disorder or other types of psychological distress
- Physical pain from your injuries
- Lost wages
- Reduced future earnings due to an injury or disability
- Diminished quality of life
How Can a West Virginia Personal Injury Lawyer Help You?
There is no reason to handle a dog bite case by yourself after suffering severe injuries. While you focus on your medical treatment, it is best to let an attorney handle your case. The West Virginia statute of limitations for personal injury cases gives you two years from the date a dog bites you to file a lawsuit, so you should talk to a dog bite lawyer right away. A West Virginia dog bite attorney can help with your case by:
- Identifying who owns the dog that bit you
- Gathering evidence to prove the dog owner’s liability
- Filing an insurance claim or lawsuit on your behalf
- Negotiating a fair settlement with insurance companies
- Taking your case to court, if necessary
Contact the Dog Bite Lawyers at Robinette Legal Group, PLLC, for Help
Our West Virginia dog bite attorneys are standing by to hear your story and get started on your case. We know what it takes to win dog bite cases and how to protect your rights. Call Robinette Legal Group, PLLC, today or visit our contact page for a free consultation.