Dog bites can be very compromising. This is especially true when dogs bite children. Whether you are an adult or a child, it is common to become fearful of dogs after being bitten—thus making your life less enjoyable. Also, a dog bite usually results in scarring, which causes people to be become less confident with their physical appearance.
2 Ways West Virginia Law Protects Dog Bite Victims
First, when a person is bitten by a dog that is allowed to roam freely a.k.a "run at large" (i.e. the dog is permitted by its owner to be off his or her property and the bite occurs at some other location), the owner is strictly liable to the victim of the dog bite. The concept of "strict liability" only obligates the bite victim to prove that the dog was unrestrained and not on the dog owner's premises when the dog bite occurred in order for the victim to be compensated for their injuries and medical costs. West Virginia's strict liability dog bite law is codified by West Virginia Code 19-20-13.
The second protection West Virginia law provides for victims of dog bites is based upon owner negligence. In this second context of owner liability, a victim of a dog bite must demonstrate that the owner knew of the dog's dangerous or vicious propensity but failed to employ adequate safeguards in protecting the dog bite victim from the dog. This is often referred to as the "one bite rule". In order for a dog bite victim to receive compensation for their injuries based on this second theory of liability based upon principles of negligence, the victim will need to show that the dog owner knew, from the dog's previous behavior, that the dog was a danger to the victim under the circumstances that existed at the time the bite occurred, but failed to employ reasonable and responsible safeguards for the protection of the dog bite victim.
Help for Serious Dog Bite Injuries
If you have been injured by a dog bite in West Virginia, contact the Nestor Law Office for a free consultation. The statute of limitations for instituting a civil action involving a dog bite in West Virginia is two (2) years from the date of the bite.