The “One Bite Rule” & Your Right to Compensation
If a dog attacked you in the Fairfax area, you might wonder about your right to compensation and whether the owner of the dog may be held liable. In Virginia, legal action is only permitted based on the negligence or wrongdoing of the dog owner. Adhering to what is often referred to as the “one bite rule,” a dog owner cannot be held strictly liable for injuries his or her animal inflicts upon another person. Liability only applies in the presence of an animal control violation or act of negligence.
Dog bite cases are complex and challenging, but they can be won. At Ashcraft & Gerel, we have a complete understanding of dog bite statutes and case precedents in Virginia and apply this knowledge to help victims and their families secure fair compensation from at-fault parties. Our Fairfax dog bite attorneys are experienced litigators who use every resource available to build compelling cases for our clients to maximize their recoveries.
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Negligence & Negligence Per Se
Because a Fairfax dog bite claim must be based on negligence or negligence per se, it is vital to understand how this applies in different circumstances. Your attorney can help you determine what applies and how to proceed.
Here we have defined negligence and negligence per se in their relation to dog bite claims:
- Negligence may be described as a failure to act as a reasonable person would in the same or similar circumstances. An example may be a dog owner who has seen the animal exhibit dangerous tendencies and yet allows a neighbor to visit without giving warning of the potential risk.
- Negligence per se involves conduct that is automatically considered negligent and does not require the plaintiff to prove that a reasonable person would have acted differently in the circumstances. An example may be a dog owner who violates a local ordinance by allowing their dog to be off leash.
Because every case is different, it will take a careful investigation and analysis to determine the correct approach and how to hold the dog owner accountable.
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Fairfax, VA Landowner Liability for Dog Attacks
Dog bites and animal attacks may also fall under the doctrine of landowner liability. Fairfax landowners have a legal obligation to take reasonable measures to provide for the safety of visitors, guests, and invitees. They are responsible for dangerous conditions on their properties, and this may include dangerous pets. If they had actual and constructive knowledge of a dangerous dog on the premises, and that dog injured someone on the property, they may be held liable.