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Liability and options for victims of dog bites

| May 27, 2021 | Personal Injury Claims

Dogs can make great companions but not all dogs are trained to act appropriately with individuals who are not their owners. When a West Virginia resident is hurt buy a dog bite, they may have options for seeking the recovery of their damages through personal injury litigation. Before initiating a lawsuit, however, a victim should understand the laws that will govern the outcome of their case.

Depending on how the bite incident occurred, the victim may have to prove different elements of different legal theories. Their personal injury attorney can advise them of how best to approach their case. This informational post should not be relied upon as legal advice and any questions about dog bite law in West Virginia should be directed to knowledgeable personal injury attorneys.

Incidents when dogs are running at large

West Virginia recognizes strict liability for dog bite injuries when a dog commits a bite while running at large. This means that if a dog is not under the control of its owner while off the property of the owner, the dog’s owner will be held responsible for the injuries the dog inflicts on others. A victim in such a situation would not need to prove negligence on the part of the dog owner in order to seek the recovery of their damages.

Incidents when dogs are not running at large

In all other situations, it is likely that a victim would have to prove negligence on the part of the dog owner in order to recover their damages. This would mean that the victim would have to show that the dog owner owed them a duty of care, that that duty was breached, and at the dog owner’s actions caused the victim to suffer harm. It is important to remember that West Virginia recognizes comparative negligence, which means that if a victim contributed at all to their injuries, they may not be able to fully recover their full damages amount.

Dog bites can cause serious injuries as well as long-term pain and suffering. When an individual is harmed by an aggressive dog, they may have rights to seek the recovery of their damages through personal injury litigation. There legal representatives can advise them of how best to address their particular cases.