West Virginia Dog Bite Attorneys
Being bitten by a dog is no joke, and whether the dog is one you know that just panicked and barely broke the skin or it was an unfamiliar dog that attacked you and caused you to seek medical attention, you must speak with an attorney. This is particularly true if you are in the state of West Virginia because the laws around dog bites are a bit confusing to the average person.
Speak with West Virginia Dog Bite Attorneys to Get Clarification
Firstly, the state laws indicate that liability exists only when a dog is allowed to run at large. In other words, if the dog is running freely or out of the owner’s control, and attacks someone, there is an obvious case of owner liability. Where West Virginia dog bite attorneys are needed is the cases when the conditions around a dog’s running at large are called into question.
And as you might guess, many owners do call the issue into question in order to reduce or eliminate their liability. There are some pre-existing cases cited by those attempting to avoid the worst liability after their dog has done damage, and so an attorney is a very important resource if you are seeking compensation after being bitten.
For instance, if a dog is in its own yard and bites someone, liability may not exist. There is also more than just what the law books call “strict liability” and some owners can be sued for negligence. This is because the state of West Virginia is one of many with the one bite rule in place. This is a rule or law that views any dog as innocent of risk if it has never bitten anyone before. Should that dog bite someone, the fact that it has no history of biting reduces the liability to the owner.
However, should a dog with a history of biting or attacking once again bite someone, there is now a serious liability for the owner of that dog.
The Dog Owners
Of course, there is also a need for dog owners to work with West Virginia dog bite attorneys if the incident is a misunderstanding. After all, a lot of people worry about simple accidents leading to unfair claims. For example, the same one bite rule that holds every dog as harmless until that dog bites for the first time, may paint an inaccurate portrait of a dog stuck in an unfortunate circumstance.
As a simple example, a dog might nip a child who is teasing it, break the skin, and go on records as having bitten someone. Should that dog now bite someone again, and it being purely accidental again (which most dog owners know is entirely possible during play time or when a stranger approaches a nervous dog, and so on), the one bite rule no longer protects the dog or owner. There would be liability on the part of the dog owner, even though the dog is not a real threat at all.
If you have been injured by a dog bite, or you are a dog owner who needs to combat a claim against your pet, you must speak with an attorney qualified in West Virginia dog bite laws. They can help victims to prove that there is liability on the part of the owner or to help an owner demonstrate that the dog is not a risk and that negligence was not an issue.
Pet ownership is a joy, but there are times when you will need legal help to overcome a challenge that you might not have expected. Heavens Law has the expertise you need at such times and will review your case right away.
- AllLaw.com. West Virginia Dog Bite Injury Laws. 2014. https://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/personal-injury/dog-bite-laws-liability-west-virginia.html