If you’ve been bitten by a dog, it’s important to know your legal rights. A Morgantown dog bite lawyer can help you file a lawsuit and get the compensation that you deserve for your injuries. It is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible because there may be time limits on when you can file suit against the owner of the animal.
At The Miley Legal Group, our personal injury lawyers have years of experience litigating dog bite claims and negotiating with negligent dog owners to compensation for injured victims. In fact, we wrote a book on the steps West Virginians need to take after being bitten by a dog.
West Virginia dog bite laws can make it difficult for victims to fully recover, but our firm is well versed in overcoming any limitations so that you get the compensation you deserve. If you’ve been injured by a dog, please contact our law firm for a free consultation today.
How a Morgantown Dog Bite Attorney Can Help
After reaching out to one of our attorneys, they will work with you to find a way to prove the dog owner’s liability and support your claim. Your attorney will begin investigating your case and may gather the following information:
- Details about the nature, location, and time of the attack
- Photographic evidence of your injuries
- Witness testimony
- Medical bills
Your attorney will also gather information about the dog that bit you and that dog’s owner. They will investigate the dogs history to see if it was spayed or neutered, if its vaccinations are up to date, and—most importantly—if the dog has a history of previous dangerous behavior.
Your attorney will seek evidence to prove that the owner let the dog roam free leading up to the attack.
West Virginia’s dog bite law states that in cases where the dog was “at large” during the attack, there is no burden to prove negligence on the part of the owner in order to receive compensation. This means that if the dog was off its leash when it bit you, the owner should assume all responsibility for the damages.
Your case may be more complicated if the dog was not at large or was restrained by a leash when it attacked. This is because West Virginia laws use what is called the “One Bite Rule”.
The “One Bite Rule” requires your attorney to demonstrate that the dog had at least one prior reported incident before it attacked you in order to prove negligence. Some evidence of dangerous behavior your attorney may look for to prove a claim of this type includes:
- A previously reported bite or attack
- A history of complaints against the dog
- Fight training
- Lunging at or fighting other dogs
- Barking at strangers
- Jumping on people
- Threatening behavior such as growling or snapping.
Your dog bite attorney will work diligently to prove that the animal that attacked you has a history of dangerous behavior and will work with you every step of the way to negotiate a settlement or verdict in your favor.
What to Do After a Dog Attack
If you’re bitten by a dog, there are certain steps you need to know to preserve a legal claim against the owner of the dog that bit you. You need to:
- Seek medical attention immediately
- Call law enforcement
- Take photographs of the location of the attack and your injuries
- Speak with an attorney as soon as possible.
Dog’s mouths are full of bacteria and you need to make sure that your wounds are cleaned right away. Seeking medical help ensures that infection does not set in and helps document the incident.
The next step is to call the police so they can come out, take a report of what happened, and get an incident number for any potential legal claim against the animal’s owner.
You should also photograph or video document your injuries as soon as possible because it creates even more evidence to shore up your case.
Finally, speak with an experienced dog bite attorney as soon as possible to preserve your legal rights to compensation. Most dog bite claims are paid out by homeowner’s or renter’s insurance and those companies may try to minimize your claim without a skilled lawyer negotiating on your behalf.
What Compensation Can You Recover in a Dog Bite Claim?
Injured victims of a dog attack are entitled to compensation for their injuries under the law. The amount and type of compensation varies depending on the circumstances of the attack. Victims of dog attacks may be eligible for the following forms of compensation:
- Medical expenses
- Pain and Suffering
- Disfigurement from scarring and other injuries
- Lost wages or income
- Lost earning capacity
- Property damage
Every case is different and you may qualify for other forms of compensation.
Common Dog Bite Injuries
Over 4 million people are bitten by dogs every year and of those nearly 900,000 people require medical attention for their injuries. Common dog bite injuries include:
- Lacerations and puncture wounds
- Broken bones
- Nerve damage
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Infections including Pasteurella, MRSA, tetanus, and rabies
Dog bites can also inflict long-lasting emotional and psychological injuries such as PTSD.
Contact the Morgantown Dog Bite Attorneys at The Miley Legal Group Today
A dog bite can happen at any time, in any place. Dogs are not always provoked and victims of a dog attack may be left with devastating injuries that affect them for the rest of their lives.
If you or someone you know has been bitten by a dog, it’s important to understand your rights and what legal options might be available. The skilled dog bite attorneys at The Miley Legal Group are prepared to help with your case to get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Contact us today for a free consultation with one of our attorneys to learn more about how we can help you after a dog attack.