There are times when “man’s best friend” turns out to be a nuisance. If a dog attacked you or a loved one, the physical and emotional trauma can be devastating. Thankfully, there are personal injury laws in place to help you get the just compensation you deserve.
In order for you to receive reparations, there are certain channels that you must go through. Before you present your dog bite case, make sure you understand the proper procedures.
Following the incident
Immediately after the incident, it is important to gather as much information as possible. Depending on the severity of the bite, you may need to seek medical attention immediately. If possible, gather the information of the dog owner and any witnesses before you leave. You should also take photos of the wound before any services to show the severity of the bite. Finally, you want to file a report of the incident. There are a few agencies that you may utilize, including:
- Animal Control
- Police Department
- Fire Department
Make sure to keep a copy of the report and all other documentation for your records and future use in the case.
Filing a claim
In the state of Virginia, there is a code regarding dangerous dogs. This code denotes dangerous dog classifications, proper handling and penalties for negligence. It may be helpful to review this information to solidify your case. Though it is wise to report the incident as soon as possible, the statute of limitations to file a claim is up to two years. In other words, you have two years from the date of the initial incident to file a claim. However, if the dog bites a child, the statute extends to the individual’s 20th birthday.
Once you file a claim, the dog owner’s insurer may contact you. They may try to settle the dispute quickly and cheaply, but do not take the bait. Be sure to review your rights and determine the best resolution option for you.