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  • Is PTSD common after a dog attack?

    Unfortunately, yes, post-traumatic stress disorder and other emotional and psychological conditions are quite common after a dog attack. Fears and sadness after an attack can sometimes be worked out by talking them over with loved ones, and leaning on your support system.

    “Unfortunately, in some cases this is not enough to fix the problem. This is especially true if the attack is severe or life-threatening. In these instances, it is so common for there to be bad side effects that there is a medical term used by doctors and mental health to describe the condition. It is called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD),” explains the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

    Symptoms of PTSD after a Dog Attack

    Unfortunately, children often suffer the most from PTSD. More than half of children bitten by a dog experience PTSD symptoms two to nine months after the attack, according to a study published in The Journal of Pediatrics.

    Symptoms can include the following.

    • Irrational fears and phobias
    • Depression or feeling numb
    • Recurring memories and flashbacks
    • Nightmares
    • Avoidance of or inability to discuss the attack or the injuries
    • Hyper-arousal (easily startled)
    • Physical symptoms of panic, i.e., racing heartbeat, sweaty palms

    The mother of a six-year-old girl who was attacked by a large dog and sustained serious injuries explained that not only did her daughter have nightmares, but she was constantly afraid “something bad” was going to happen to her or her family. In a news report, the mother commented, “She was afraid to step outside. She didn’t even want to walk to the mailbox.” The little girl was diagnosed with PTSD.

    Legal Help in Clarksburg after a Dog Attack PTSD

    If you or your child suffered physical and emotional injuries such as PTSD after a dog bite attack, you can contact The Miley Legal Group for a free consultation to discuss your legal options.  Call us today at 304-931-4088 to schedule a brief appointment.

  • What types of treatments for a dog bite might I need after an attack?

    There are approximately 4.5 million dog bite reports each year in the United States, sending at least 885,000 people to the hospital for treatment, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

    Roughly half of these cases involve children, and about 27,000 dog bite attacks are so severe that the victim requires reconstructive surgery, the CDC reports. But other types of treatments for a dog bite are more common.

    Treatments for a Dog Bite

    When a victim sustains a dog bite attack, the doctor’s first objective is to stabilize the patient, particularly if one of these injuries is present.

    • a large amount of blood loss.
    • broken bones.
    • or, injured organs.

    The tending physician will need to assess the injury to determine the extent of the damage, and will often have to use anesthesia in order to allow for a thorough examination.

    Cleaning the wounds is also a top priority because the risk of infection is great with dog bites. The doctor might stitch up the wound as well and advise antibiotics. If the dog was rabid or if the dog’s rabies vaccination status is unknown, treatment to prevent rabies may be necessary.

    Surgery may be required if broken bones or other internal damage is present. Broken bones and other injuries might require immobilizing the area with a cast or brace to be worn while the injury heals. Pain medication, physical therapy, and psychological counseling are other types of treatments for a dog bite that a doctor might also recommend depending upon the type and severity of the injury.

    Pursuing Restitution for Dog Bite Injuries

    If you or a loved one was injured in a dog attack in Clarksburg, you may be able to file a claim and recover damages from the owner, including those related to your dog bite treatment. To discuss your options or to take a legal action, contact the Miley Legal Group at (304) 931-4088 to set up an appointment to speak with an attorney.

  • Who should I call to report an animal attack?

    After an animal attack, there may be several important calls to make to report the animal attack, such as to 911, police animal control, the owner of the animal, and a lawyer. Of course, this depends on the circumstances and uniqueness of the situation.

    Calls You May Need to Make When Injured in an Animal Attack

    Obviously, call 911 after an animal attack for help if you have injuries that are life-threatening. Animal attacks can cause severe internal damage and excessive bleeding. But there's also the risk of infection and other complications, so always seek medical assistance even if you don't need emergency care.

    If you don’t call for an ambulance you will probably want to jump straight to this step, contacting the police. An example is when you're dealing with an uncooperative or belligerent animal owner.

    You should also call animal control to report the animal attack. It's important you document what happened so there is a paper trail. In Clarksburg, call the Harrison County Animal Control office at 304-592-1876.

    If you know the animal's owner, contact him/her. Explain that you will be filing a report and seeking medical attention. This isn't the time to engage in an argument about liability for a dog bite or other animal attack or to discuss a possible monetary settlement.

    Finally, you may need to call an attorney. When the injuries are serious or fatal, it's important to have someone representing your best interests. Your attorney may help you with filing a claim against the animal's owner to recover compensation for your damages.

    Other Steps to Take When Injured in an Animal Attack

    Gather as much information as you can about the animal and its owner. Write down a description of the animal and any relevant details. Get the name and address of the owner. If you can, find out if there's a record of previous attacks.

    Take pictures of all injuries, whether its:

    • bruises;
    • open wounds; or
    • puncture marks.

    Also, photograph any torn or bloodied clothing. Keep track of all medical bills and other expenses. Collect your medical records to help show the extent and severity of the injuries. If there were any witnesses to the attack, make sure you get their contact information.

    Contact the Miley Legal Group in Clarksburg for more information about filing a claim and the evidence you'll need. Call us at (304) 931-4088.

  • Can I use physical force against a dog that’s attacking me?

    Yes, you may be able to use non-deadly or deadly physical force against a dog that’s attacking someone. In West Virginia, if you are being attacked or your life is in danger, it is lawful to use physical force against the dog, including killing the dog.

    Of course, if the dog was simply running at large and not causing any harm, then others may not kill the dog. If they do, they may be liable for damages to the dog's owner. Those who violate the law may be charged with a misdemeanor offense.

    What if I was injured by the dog in the attack?

    Dog owners are liable for injuries when the dog was allowed to run at large whether intentional or not. So if there was a failure to lock an enclosure and the dog escaped, if it goes onto someone else’s property and attacks, the owner could be responsible for damages inflicted and the victim or others may legally be allowed to use physical force against the dog.

    If the dog owner tried to sue the victim for injuring or killing his/her dog, he or she likely wouldn’t have a case. There is also a one bite statute that may apply.

    If it’s not a case where the dog was running at large, the owner could potentially be liable if:

    • there was a violation of local leash laws;
    • the dog had previously bitten someone; or
    • the owner had otherwise acted in a negligent manner.

    Again, this could be another situation in which the use of physical force (deadly or non-deadly) would be considered acceptable.

    These types of cases can become quite complicated. It’s best to talk with an attorney who can explain how the different dog laws may apply to your particular situation. Call the Miley Legal Group in Clarksburg at 304-931-4088 or fill out our contact form to set up a consultation.

  • Can I hold a dog park liable if I was attacked on its premises?

    When someone is attacked on the premises, dog park liability will depend on the circumstances. In general, the owner of the attacking dog is usually responsible. Each case would need to be evaluated and have a variety of factors that could impact responsibility.

    Dog Park Liability for Injuries Sustained on Premises

    There are certain settings in which a person assumes the risk. Using a dog park, particularly one where leashes are optional, does pose the risk of something going wrong -- such as getting bitten or attacked.

    Signs may even be posted that indicate this assumption of risk. On the other hand, this doesn’t always mean the dog park doesn’t bear some responsibility for injuries that occur while using it. For instance, the owners of the park could be on the hook for dog park liability if they fail to enforce their own rules and it’s connected to someone being attacked.

    More often, it’s the owner who is found liable when a dog attacks in a dog park. Owners are ultimately responsible for their dogs' actions and may be liable for injuries sustained. In West Virginia, the dog bite statute indicates owners who allow a dog to run at large are liable when someone is injured.  The statute indicates, “liable for any damages inflicted upon the person or property of another by such dog while running at large.” This could apply to a dog park where people bring their animals for a pleasant play day and subsequently have no idea what to do if a dog attacks.

    But there are other circumstances in which the Clarksburg owner might be found liable. Bringing a dog that has already been deemed dangerous or has previously bitten or injured a person or animal could be considered reckless. A recently sick dog can pose a disease risk if it bites. Negligence also may apply when deciding to bring a dog that would be considered unlikely to do well in a social setting. Examples include aggressive dogs, unneutered male dogs, and skittish or fearful dogs. They may have a greater propensity to bite and/or attack. Alongside the anger that accompanies an unprompted dog bite in a public setting is the fear of post-traumatic stress disorder or disease. Don’t let uncaring pet owners change your life; hire a dog bite lawyer in Clarksburg: (304) 931-4088.

  • Are there any laws banning dog breeds in West Virginia?

    Laws against owning certain breeds of dogs in West Virginia depend on the city and even the type of residence. Most banned breeds are those commonly considered by some to be dangerous.

    Dog Breed Restrictions in West Virginia

    Barboursville has restrictions on wolf hybrids and pits bulls under Section 505.09 of the Barboursville Codified Ordinances. The law requires a leash no longer than six feet and a muzzle when walking the dog. Owners must keep the dog in a locked kennel or pen that has a covered roof when the dog is outdoors. If indoor, the owner must not leave the doors or windows opened, and must post ‘Beware of Dogs’ signs. 

    Section 3-32 of the Bluefield Code of Ordinances also requires these restrictions on pit bulls and wolf hybrids in the city. The town of Credo prohibits ownership of pit bulls. And in Wheeling pit bull terriers have been declared vicious.

    It’s important to recognize that some condo and homeowners associations may also place restrictions on certain breeds of dogs. It could also be an issue for someone renting in an apartment complex if the owner has restrictions in place.

    Other Dog Laws in West Virginia

    Despite the breed, any dog known to be vicious or is in the habit of biting/attacking people could be deemed dangerous. As a result, a judge would have the right to order its destruction if the dog injures or kills someone.

    The owner could also be responsible for damages such as medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and more. If you were hurt by a dog and suffered injury and damages – regardless of the dog’s breed – talk to an attorney at The Miley Legal Group in Clarksburg about your legal options: (304) 931-4088.

  • My child was attacked while bothering a neighbor’s dog. Can I file a claim?

    If your child was the victim of a dog attack while bothering the dog, you may still be able to file a claim for compensation. The following circumstances may be applicable to establishing owner liability:

    • The dog was running at large. According to dog bite laws in West Virginia, the owner of a dog that was not properly secured and was allowed to run at large may be held liable for the damages inflicted by the animal.
    • The owner of the dog violated the “dangerous dog” law. West Virginia enforces the “vicious dog” or “dangerous dog” rule. According to this rule, it is the responsibility of the owner of a vicious dog to adopt measures to ensure the pet is properly confined and cannot injure anyone. Some cities automatically qualify certain breeds as dangerous regardless of previous behavior.
    • The owner of the dog did not possess a license to keep a vicious dog for protection. An individual is required to obtain a special license from the state authorities to keep a vicious dog for protection.
    • The dog had previously bitten a person. West Virginia imposes the “one-bite” rule for dog owners. This means that the owner of a dog not officially considered dangerous may not be held strictly responsible the first time the animal bites someone. But the law may hold owner strictly liable for subsequent bite incidents.

    Contact The Miley Legal Group for Help with a Dog Bite Injury Case

    Plaintiffs who wish to file claims for dog bite incidents should hire the services of an attorney who can gather the requisite evidence, interpret the law as it applies to specific incidents, and build a convincing case.

    Contact The Miley Legal Group at 304-931-4088 for help and to discuss case-specific information and how West Virginia’s dog bite laws apply to your case.

  • Can I get any kind of diseases from a dog bite?

    Diseases from a dog bite may still be contracted by victims of bites even if the dog is well-looked after and is not a stray. Dogs may carry a number of different diseases in their saliva that may cause infection. A dog attack attorney in Clarksburg can address any medical conditions and their treatment costs when filing a claim for dog bite injuries.

    What are some possible infections or diseases from a dog bite?

    Following a dog bite, it is imperative that you seek professional medical attention as soon as possible to lessen the chance of contracting one of these debilitating, and possibly life-threatening, diseases.

    • Rabies – Rabies is the most well-known disease that may be contracted from a dog bite. It can cause fever, headaches, body pain, partial paralysis and seizures, though symptoms may not appear right away. There is no cure for rabies; individuals may be given a rabies shot after a dog bite as a precaution. The disease is usually fatal.
    • Tetanus – Tetanus-causing bacteria is found in animal feces, dirt and dust. It may infect open wounds and can cause muscle spasms, stiffness, and fever.
    • Staph Infection – When a dog bites and breaks skin, staphylococcus bacteria may enter the wound and could cause minor skin infections. If staph infects the bloodstream, it may cause serious complications, such as blood poisoning. It may also infect other areas of the body, such as heart and lungs.  
    • Sepsis – This is a condition marked by body-wide inflammation caused by the body’s immune response to an infection. The body may release chemicals to fight the infection, which can harm other organs and may ultimately lead to death in the most serious cases.

    After you have seen a doctor, you may reach out to a dog attack attorney in Clarksburg for legal assistance to help pay for treatment and other complications resulting from dog bite injuries.

    Bitten by a dog? Get Help from the Miley Legal Group

    At The Miley Legal Group, a dog attack attorney in Clarksburg can take on cases involving dog bite injuries, including diseases from dog bites. Call us at 304-931-4088.

  • Can I be compensated for permanent disfiguring injuries resulting from a dog bite?

    Yes, when someone has sustained permanent disfiguring injuries from a dog bite or attack, compensation might be available. It may be advantageous to speak with a Clarksburg dog bite attorney about the types of compensation that could be sought in this type of claim.

    Types of Compensation Available for Permanent Disfigurement Injuries

    In the case of permanently disfiguring injuries, victims may be affected in every area of life: socially, emotionally and even in the workforce. This is especially true if the injuries are visible to others.

    When it’s the result of a dog bite and the owner is found to be negligent (if the dog is running at large or the dog is considered vicious, negligence does not need to be established), economic losses may be recoverable. These are the financial burdens placed on a victim’s shoulders such as medical costs and lost wages.

    However, noneconomic damages could also be recoverable. These address the emotional and psychological harm suffered. Examples of compensation that may be available for injuries that are permanently disfiguring include pain and suffering as well as emotional distress.

    Determining Worth of Damages in a Dog Bite Claim

    Determining the value of damages is easier for the economic losses. This requires calculating the cost of medical care and treatment, along with the amount of time missed from work.

    Working with a Clarksburg dog bite attorney can help ensure noneconomic losses are figured in a fair manner. For instance, pain and suffering might depend on the severity of the injury.

    A victim who suffered a fractured arm is entitled to receive some form of compensation. But its worth would be much less than someone whose arm had to be amputated as a result of a dog bite. So each case would need to be individually evaluated.

    The Miley Legal Group understands the financial, psychological and physical devastation dog bite or attack victims may experience. We can help injured victims who wish to file a claim for disfiguring injuries from a dog bite.

  • What is the dog owner's liability if I petted a dog on his or her property and it attacked me?

    Dog owner liability on the owner’s property will depend on the circumstances. If you were attacked by a dog while on the owner’s property, one of the first issues that may be raised is whether you had permission to enter. If you were trespassing or provoked the dog, it could be difficult to find the owner liable. Dog bite lawyers in Clarksburg, WV can explain the laws and how they might impact your case. 

    An Overview of West Virginia Dog Bite Laws 

    The laws in your state will impact your case; West Virginia follows limited strict liability. 

    Dogs that attack or bite and run at large almost always will result in dog owner liability. If the dog isn’t running freely, one possible way to find the owner negligent is if you were welcomed to pet the dog or given permission to do so, despite the dog having previously bitten someone. 

    Because West Virginia follows the one-bite rule, if you were the first person to be attacked or bitten, and the dog had not previously shown signs of being dangerous, it could be difficult to find the owner liable. The circumstances of each case would need to be evaluated by dog bite lawyers in Clarksburg, WV. 

    Legal Assistance if Bitten by a Dog 

    Dog attacks can result in devastating injuries. Consult a dog bite lawyer in Clarksburg, WV at The Miley Legal Group. We will review the details of the incident carefully to determine if you have a case of dog owner liability.