If you or your loved one was attacked and seriously injured by a dog, West Virginia law provides that you may be able to file a lawsuit against the owner to pursue financial compensation for your damages. There are several challenges to filing a dog bite lawsuit, though, and these types of cases may require the assistance of an attorney familiar with this area of the law.
Your attorney will review your case and determine the best route to file the claim. He or she will advise you on the claims process, help you collect supporting evidence, and ensure the full extent of your damages are accounted for on your claim.
Challenges to Dog Bite Claims
West Virginia dog bite liability laws, detailed in Code of West Virginia, section 19-20-13, are generally grouped into two categories: bites from dogs at large and bites from dogs not at large.
If the dog was at large when the attack occurred, the victim can file a claim against the owner for damages. And in this case, the victim will not have to prove that the owner was negligent.
However, if the dog was not running at large when the attack occurred, the case will be subject to West Virginia’s liability rule known as the One Bite Rule. This law essentially only holds owners liable for victims’ damages if the dog had a history of attacks.
Other challenges of filing a dog bite lawsuit are listed below.
- locating the dog.
- proving ownership.
- producing sufficient evidence to meet the law’s requirements.
- filing the claim within the appropriate time frame.
- and, proving the extent of the damages (particularly with emotional and psychological injures).
Dog bite attorneys will know how to address these issues and rise to the challenges. They will also know how to abide by the required legal proceedings and argue victims’ stance in court.
Types of Compensable Damages When Filing a Dog Bite Lawsuit
Dog bite attacks can cause substantial, if not fatal, injuries. Some of the injuries can cause long-lasting impairments or lead to permanent disability. Dog bite wounds can also lead to dangerous infections, which are not only frightening, but costly in terms of medical expenses. Furthermore, dog bite attack victims develop psychological disorders as a result that can require years of treatment and counseling.
As noted above, determining the extent of injuries can be challenging. Figuring out which damages are recoverable in the first place, though, can also be a challenge especially if the claimant is trying to go it alone.
Talk to your attorney about your damages, which might include the following.
- medical and rehabilitation bills.
- future reconstructive surgeries.
- treatments and medications.
- loss of wages.
- disability, scarring, and disfigurement.
- pain and suffering.
- and, psychological disorders and treatment (post-traumatic stress disorder for example).
Free Consultation with a Dog Bite Attorney
There are far too many individuals injured by dangerous dogs each year in Clarksburg and throughout West Virginia, and our team is dedicated to helping these victims obtain settlements from the responsible parties.
If you or someone you love was attacked by a dog, give our firm a call to discuss your case. Let us help you obtain the compensation you need and deserve and overcome the challenges of filing a dog bite lawsuit. Contact The Miley Legal Group in Clarksburg for a free consultation at (304) 931-4088.