If you or your child was
bitten by someone else’s dog, you may be wondering if you have grounds to seek financial compensation.
While the dog bite laws in West Virginia do not hold pet owners strictly
liable, as is true in many other states, you may still be able to file a
personal injury claim if you can establish that the dog was “running at large,”
that the pet owner was otherwise negligent or that the dog had bitten
someone else in the past, and the owner knew about it.
Contact a Charleston injury attorney at Preston & Salango, PLLC to see if you have a case.
Understanding West Virginia’s Dog Bite Statute
Under West Virginia Code § 19-20-13, a dog owner or keeper would be
held strictly liable for the actions of their pet if it attacked someone
else, and they allowed it to run at large—meaning, without restraint
or supervision. This means that the victim would not have to prove that
the owner or keeper knew that the dog was dangerous. The fact that the
dog was allowed to run at large is enough to hold them accountable for damages.
One exception to this law is that “running at large” does not
apply to situations where the victim was attacked or bitten on the owner
or keeper’s property. This is also true in cases where someone other
than the owner or keeper allowed the dog to run at large. Even so, this
does not mean that the victim is without options. In either of these cases,
the victim could still file a claim based on common law negligence or
the "one bite rule."
Filing a Claim Based on the “One Bite Rule”
Even if your case is not protected by West Virginia’s dog bite statute,
you may still be able to file a claim based on other grounds. If you can
prove that the dog has previously attacked someone else, and that the
owner or keeper was aware of their dog’s vicious tendencies, you
may file a claim based on the state’s “one bite rule.”
Unless you are able to prove the owner had prior knowledge, however, they
cannot be held accountable.
The Statute of Limitations for Dog Bite Cases
West Virginia’s statute of limitations will limit the amount of time
that you have to file a personal injury claim against a negligent dog
owner, which is why you should move quickly to discuss your case with
Preston & Salango, PLLC after an attack. In most situations,
you will only have two years to file a lawsuit. Any cases that are filed after this two-year deadline are almost always
thrown out of court, which is why prompt action is crucial.
Discuss Your Case with Preston & Salango, PLLC
Whether you or someone you love was attacked by a vicious dog, you should
take action immediately by speaking to a Charleston personal injury lawyer
at Preston & Salango, PLLC. Not only do we have more than four decades
of combined legal experience, but we have already
recovered more than $75 million in damages on behalf of former clients—earning us a coveted place in the Multi-Million
Dollar Advocates Forum®.
We are no strangers to the courtroom, and we know what it takes to successfully
negotiate with insurance companies. Find out how we can assist you by
free initial consultation with one of our attorneys. We accept all cases on a contingency fee basis,
which means that you don’t pay us a dime unless we are able to secure
a favorable settlement or verdict on your behalf. Call us today to find
out what we can do for you.