A dog bite or dog attack can leave a person physically injured, emotionally scarred, and financially strained due to medical bills. While we generally should not be scared of every dog we come into contact with, bad things can happen when aggressive dogs bite. This is especially so when children are involved because, according to the Center for Disease Control, children are more likely to be bitten by dogs than adults.
Who is Responsible When a Dog Bites or Attacks?
West Virginia has a specific statute dealing with harms caused by a dog while it is running loose. Under W.Va. Code § 19-20-13, if a dog is running loose, the owner or keeper is liable for all damages to any property or person while the dog is running loose. Accordingly, if a dog is running loose and bites you, the owner is responsible for the harms and losses caused by the dog. If a dog is not running loose, the analysis is one of negligence: that is, was it reasonably foreseeable to the owner or the keeper that the dog would act aggressively towards humans and bite or attack a human.
Why Worry About a Dog Bite?
Dogs can cause serious puncture wounds to human flesh when they bite. Certain dog bites can present a high risk for infection. This is in addition to other diseases that dogs may carry including rabies, tetanus, MRSA, Pasteurella, and Capnocytophaga bacteria, among others. A deep wound that you think will heal on its own could present a host of hidden diseases. Accordingly, if you have been bitten or attacked by a dog, it is always best to get checked out by a medical provider to protect against long-term, physical harms that may be caused by disease or infection.
Hurdles to Dog Bite Cases
Dog bite cases can be factually complex. If a dog is running loose, it may be difficult to determine the dog’s owner. Even then, if a person is lawfully on the property of another and a dog bites or attacks, the injured person will need to establish whether the owner knew that the dog was aggressive prior to the injured person being bit or attacked. Because of the factual complexity of dog bite cases, it is a good idea to contact a dog bite lawyer to determine whether you have a case. A civil case today could prevent the dog from harming another person in the future.
If you or a loved one has been bitten or attacked by a dog, call Barney Law PLLC today. The initial consultation is always free and we work on a contingency fee basis meaning you owe us nothing unless we get a recovery for you.