A dog has just bitten you, and now, you feel like a physical and an emotional wreck. Fortunately, you may be able to receive compensation for your injuries.
The state of Virginia does not apply a strict liability law regarding dog bites. For this reason, if you are interested in recovering damages from the owner of the dog that bit you, you typically have to demonstrate that the person who owned the dog knew or should have known that the dog had a predisposition to biting or attacking. In other words, you must prove that the dog had vicious propensities. Here are some factors you can use to demonstrate this.
History of aggression
If the dog has a history of being aggressive, you can use this to show that the dog owner knew of its vicious propensities. Likewise, if the animal has participated in fights with other dogs before, this might be enough for proving that it is vicious. Furthermore, if the owner muzzles the dog during walks or when other people may be near it, this could serve as proof that he or she knew about its dangerous nature.
Dog size and breed
As a general rule of thumb, the bigger the dog, the greater its chances of causing injuries. The breed and species of the animal that bit you might also be important to mention if there is proof that the breed is known to potentially be vicious -- for example, a Rottweiler or pit bull.
Confinement and warning signs
If the dog owner usually keeps the dog on a chain, on a leash or in a cage, this might be an indicator that the owner realized that the dog may be dangerous. In addition, if the owner hangs warning signs around his or her property, you could use this to establish his or her awareness of the dog's viciousness.
The owner's words and other people's words
Perhaps the owner mentioned to you that the dog that bit you also bit others in the past. This is relevant for demonstrating his or her knowledge concerning the dog's likelihood of biting again. In addition, if other people previously talked to the dog owner about his or her dog's nature and the owner failed to do anything about this to keep future attacks from happening, this may help your case as well.
An attorney can help you to take the necessary steps to establish liability in your dog bite case. A successfully fought case may ultimately lead to monetary damages that might help you to address your medical costs and other related losses.