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Rick Shapiro
Rick Shapiro
Attorney • (800) 752-0042

Dog Bite Injury Laws Changed In Virginia

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People have a strange attitude about a dog bite injury case, but there happen to be lots of dogs in our society and unfortunately people do get attacked or bit by dogs and some of the injuries can be fairly serious-many cause permanent scars. Virginia happens to follow the common law rule known as the “one bite” rule which offers some protection to dog owners who have had no prior warning that a particular dog might bite. However, new Virginia Code Section 3.1-796.93:1 strengthens the legal framework for putting civil liability on dog owners.

Under the new statutory provisions, the dog can be declared a dangerous animal not only for biting a human, but also for any previous attack on another dog or cat. If an animal is declared a “dangerous dog” under a finding from a General District Court, the owner is required to carry liability insurance coverage of $100,000.00 or obtain a surety bond.

However, there are a number of local, city or county ordinances that can still apply. Some local ordinances prohibit dogs running at large.

In a dog bite case, it can be important to find out if any neighbors or other persons know something about a animal’s dangerous propensities.

Another idea is to subpoena records of a veterinarian in the nearby area for background records. Another tip is to check with utility crews, lawn care workers and UPS drivers about a particular animal. It is a sure bet that postal carriers will know a lot about which animals in a particular neighborhood are the bad ones.