Frequently Asked Questions

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  • If I am attacked and bitten by a dog, do I have the right to seek compensation for my injuries?

    It depends on the circumstances. Virginia, along with 19 other states, adheres to the "one bite rule," which generally prevents civil claims for monetary damages from being successful against an animal owner the first time one of their animals bites another person if the attack was unintentional. However, the dog owner may be held liable if a personal injury lawyer can prove the dog has a history of attacking and biting people or that the owner violated a local or state ordinance such a leash law and that failure to comply with rules and regulations regarding pet ownership led to the attack.

  • Why do some dogs attack and bite people?

    There are many reasons why dogs attack. A dog may bite out of fear or to protect their territory or to establish their dominance over a person. Some owners actually teach their dogs that biting is an acceptable form of play behavior. This plays a role in the continued increase in newborns suffering serious injuries or getting killed by dogs who view them as "prey." Because dog bites occur for a variety of reasons, dog owners should take the steps necessary to try and prevent bites such as proper socialization, supervision, training, and safe confinement. 

  • What are the Virginia leash laws?

    Virginia leash laws may require you, the dog owner - while on your property - to keep your dog under control. This means that your dog is confined to the house, a dog pen, on a secured leash, or under some form of immediate voice control. If you take your dog for a walk and off the property, you must put your dog on a leash or under immediate voice control. It is best to have the dog on a leash. The law does not automatically apply everywhere as the localities, city or county governments, must decide if the want to implement it. Some rural counties in VA do not choose to make all canines stay on leash which can lead to problems like dogs chasing cars or threatening pedestrians on public roads.

  • What is the Virginia "dangerous dog" law?

    If a dog has bitten a person or another dog, then the dog is deemed a "dangerous dog" and you may be required to list your dog in a "Dangerous Dog Registry". However, there are numerous exceptions. For example, if the dog bite is deemed "not serious" by a veterinarian, the law doesn't apply. If the bite takes place on the property of the dog owner, then the law doesn't apply.

  • I own numerous rental properties and one of my tenant's dogs bit another tenant on my property. Am I responsible for those dog bite injuries?

    The answer is usually no. The law in Virginia does not transfer liability to the owner of a rental property for a tenant's animal. However, it might be a good idea to require your renters to have get renters' insurance, which is like home owners' insurance, but for tenants. Then, the insurer will take care of paying and defending any claims for injury or death caused by pets at the apartment building or house.

    Furthermore, Virginia follows the law commonly referred to as the "one bite rule." This means the dog owner is shielded from civil liability the first time each of his or her animals attacks another individual, if the attack was not intentional or due to negligence. For example, if the owner caused the dog bite by breaking a leash law, then that person could be held legally liable. If the animal was known to have dangerous propensities, the owner can sometimes be held responsible for even the first time it breaks skin.

  • What do I have to do to prove I have a brain injury?

    A traumatic brain injury is a unique type of injury because it is not readily visible. It is not like suffering a broken arm or facial laceration where the injury is immediately apparent. In order to substantiate your brain injury, medical records are the best proof so seek medical care. Medical testing may include CT scans, PET scans and MRI's. Make sure that the results of these tests are included in your medical records. Once medical records are obtained, medical experts can testify about how the injury was sustained.

  • What is anoxic brain injury?

    An anoxic brain injury occurs when your brain is deprived of oxygen and this leads to brain damage. When oxygen is prevented from entering the brain partially or completely, brain cells can die which can lead to permanent, life-altering brain injury.  The following causes, along with the details of the specific incidenc, may be grounds for an anoxic brain injury claim:

    Medical negligence or surgical mistake

    Near-drowning accident (sometimes leading to premises liability claims)

    Strangulation, choking, or suffocation. For example, a defective product like a crib or stroller that injures your child.

  • What are the long-term effects of a brain injury?

    There are mild and severe forms of brain injuries with side effects that can last for just a brief period or for the rest of your life. In general, the more severe the brain injury, the higher chance you have suffered a permanent, debilitating traumatic brain injury (TBI).  Some of the long-term effects may include epilepsy or seizures, Alzheimer's disease, dementia pugilistica, post-traumatic dementia, Parkinson's Disease, and other problems with motor skills, among others. A TBI may require the assistance of a nurse or medical professional on a daily basis. A mild brain injury is less severe but could lead to reduced motor functions and memory loss.

  • What are the side effects of a brain injury?

    The symptoms and signs of a brain injury vary and you may not notice the side effects for days or weeks after the accident. But general symptoms of brain injury include:

    ·         Losing consciousness even just for a minute
    ·         Headache
    ·         Confusion
    ·         Blurry vision, strange smells or a funny taste in your mouth
    ·         Trouble speaking
    ·         Personality/Mood changes
    ·         Memory loss
    ·         Dizziness or vertigo
    ·         Nausea

  • What are the signs and symptomsof a brain injury?

    The symptoms and side effects of a brain injury vary and you may not notice the side effects for days or weeks after the accident. But general symptoms of brain injury include:

    ·         Losing consciousness even just for a minute
    ·         Headache
    ·         Confusion
    ·         Blurry vision, strange smells or a funny taste in your mouth
    ·         Trouble speaking
    ·         Personality/Mood changes
    ·         Memory loss
    ·         Dizziness or vertigo
    ·         Nausea