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Washington, DC Dog Bite Lawyer

It is true what they say - a dog is a man’s best friend. Nearly one third of American households include a beloved furry family member. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) links several health benefits to owning a pet, like decreased blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as increased opportunities for physical activity and socialization. However, along with all the benefits comes an unfortunate reality. As much as we love our dogs, there is always a risk they will bite. A CDC study estimates that nearly 4.7 million dog bites take place each year. Out of these, approximately 800,000 need medical attention following the bite.

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If you or your loved one were bitten by a dog in Washington DC, you have the right to file a personal injury claim and collect compensation for medical expenses and emotional trauma. The dog bite lawyers at Regan Zambri Long are here to help take the pressure of the claims process off your shoulders.

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With over 100 years of combined experience, our attorneys have a deep understanding of DC pet ownership laws and various insurance policies. Call today for a free consultation with an expert DC dog bite lawyer who will work to ensure you receive the compensation you are owed.

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What Are DC Dog Bite Laws?

DC imposes strict laws on dog-owning residents for the safety of the general public. DC residents who own dogs must adhere to the following laws:

  • Dogs must wear collars and tags at all times.
  • Other than dog parks, dogs are not allowed in public spaces in the District without being securely leashed. The leash must be held by the owner or someone else who is capable of managing the dog.
  • Leashes must not be longer than 4 feet.
  • Dogs are not allowed on private property without the consent of the owner of the property
  • Dogs must not be confined in a yard, enclosure, private property, or vehicle that allows the dog to bite or menace anyone using a public street, highway, or public space.
  • Dog owners must curb their dogs in public spaces and on someone else’s private property.
  • Violation of these laws result in a $300 fine and 10-day jail sentence.

Further laws are extended for dangerous dogs, or potentially dangerous dogs in the District. Dangerous dogs are defined as dogs that caused serious injury to a person or another animal without provocation. Potentially dangerous dogs are defined as dogs who chase or menace people or other animals without provocation, but cause less severe injuries.

If it is declared that someone has a dangerous dog, the owners must comply with the following laws:

  • Obtain a valid license for the dog
  • Have the proper enclosure to confine the dog.
  • Owner pays an annual fee, in addition to dog licensing fees.
  • Owner has the dog spayed or neutered.
  • Owner has the dog microchipped.
  • If the dog owner is not a property owner, he or she must get written permission from a homeowner’s association to house the dog on the premises where the dog will be kept.
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Where Do Most Dog Bites Occur?

2,400 dog attacks happen every single day, mostly victimizing children. The most likely place for a dog bite to happen is in the victim’s home. The second most likely place is in the home of a friend of the victim. In fact, 77% of biting dogs are owned by the victim’s close friends or family members.

Dogs bite for a wide variety of reasons, but the most common reason is a simple reaction to something. As much as they are part of our families, at the end of the day, a dog is just an animal. In stressful situations, they may bite if they feel they need to defend themselves, feel threatened, or if they are scared. Sometimes, dogs even nip or bite during play. However, if this is done toward a child, even in play, the effects can be devastating.

If you or your loved one are a victim of a dog bite on someone else’s property, a Regan Zambri Long premises liability lawyer can help you. If you are lawfully on someone else’s property, at a hotel, or a job site, you have the right to expect that you will be safe. If the property has unsafe conditions, such as a dangerous dog, it is up to the owners to warn their guests before arrival. If you arrived at a friend or relative’s house and were not thoroughly warned about a dangerous dog, or the owners neglected to stop an attack, you have reason to seek compensation from their insurance company. Contact Regan Zambri Long today for a free initial consultation where you can discuss all your legal options.

Does Contributory Negligence Apply to Dog Bites?

Contributory negligence is a law that Washington DC, Virginia, and Maryland follow. It states that if the claimant (the person who files the personal injury claim against someone else) is found to be at all responsible for the accident, then they cannot pursue damages against someone else.

For example, if you were trespassing on a property and were bitten by a dog, you would most likely not be able to pursue damages. The defense may also try to prove the dog was provoked or taunted and only displayed aggressive behavior because of that. Your Regan Zambri Long dog bite lawyer will use the evidence gathered and work to prove you were not negligent in any way. The Regan Zambri Long dog bite lawyers do not let defense teams minimize the injuries inflicted on you and your loved ones. They will work to prove negligence of the other party in order to secure the maximum amount of damages possible.

What Are Common Dog Bite Injuries?

Dog bites can cause serious harm, both physically and emotionally. Some of the physical injuries that can occur after a dog bite are:

  • Broken bones
  • Puncture wounds
  • Scarring
  • Nerve Damage
  • Eye injuries
  • Head and neck injuries
  • Facial injuries
  • Disfigurement
  • Tendon damage
  • Ongoing psychological and emotional trauma

If the dog has an infection, the bite can lead to more severe outcomes such as:

  • Rabies
  • Tetanus
  • MRSA
  • Capnocytophaga
  • Pasteurella

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How Will Regan Zambri Long Determine Liability?

Proving liability in a dog bite incident can be complicated, which is why you should enlist the help of a Regan Zambri Long dog bite lawyer as soon as possible. They will work to prove the dog owner did not act reasonably and that their negligence was what led to the dog bite. One thing to remember – no dog gets a free pass. The behavior of the dog falls solely on the owner and they need to be held accountable.

Washington DC leash laws

As discussed before, leash laws are strict in the District. Dogs are not allowed to roam freely without a leash unless they are in a designated dog park. If you were attacked by a dog who was off leash, it could be considered negligence on the owner’s part.

Lack of confinement

DC law is clear that a dog must be properly confined, especially if it is a dangerous dog with past aggressive behavior. It is up to the owner to provide safe and reasonable confinement for their dogs, not only within a home, but also if the dog is outdoors. If you can prove the dog was not confined at the time of the attack, it will help prove liability.

Previous attacks

DC law has special provisions for dangerous dogs, or dogs that have bitten or attacked in the past. If you think the dog who bit you may have a record of biting incidents, your Regan Zambri Long dog bite accident lawyer will track down the dog’s history.

Unprovoked attack

In order to be able to collect damages under the Washington DC contributory negligence laws, the attack you suffered must have been fully unprovoked. Your dog bite attorney will work to show that nothing you did provoked or scared the dog that led to the incident.

Frequently Asked Questions about Dog Bites in Washington, DC

Q:How can I prevent being bitten by a dog?

A: There are two angles to dog bite prevention – the owner and the passerby:

The Owner (before you bring the dog into your home)
Once the dog is in your home
For the passerby
If an unknown dog approaches you

  • Stay still and remain calm.
  • Avoid direct eye contact with the dog.
  • Say “no” or “go home” in a firm, deep voice. Stand with the side of your body facing the dog.
  • Slowly raise your hands to your neck with your elbows in and wait for the dog to pass or slowly back away.

Q: What should I do if I’ve been bitten by a dog?

A: The most important thing to do after being attacked by a dog is to seek medical attention immediately. While you’re waiting for medical personnel to arrive, take the following steps to prevent infection from the bite:

Q: Who is at most risk of a dog bite?

A: Anyone can be the victim of a dog bite accident. However, children are at most risk of suffering an injury from a traumatic dog attack. In fact, children under 10 are considered to be the most vulnerable. Children are more likely to be bitten in the face or neck, resulting in permanent scarring or disfigurement. Some even lose function in parts of their body due to the bite. Post-traumatic stress disorder is common among children who have been bitten by dogs, displaying emotional distress for extended periods of time. Children should always be supervised around animals, even familiar ones, in order to prevent severe injuries from a dog bite.

Q: What type of insurance will cover a dog bite accident?

A: In most cases, homeowners’ insurance will cover the legal liabilities for a dog bite accident. The victim will be able to recover damages for medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future wages, and pain and suffering. Speak to your Regan Zambri Long dog bite attorney today to go through the different types of damages you should pursue in your claim.

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Have you or your loved one sustained injuries in Washington DC, Maryland or Virginia? Regan Zambri Long PLLC has the best lawyers in the country to analyze your case and answer the questions you may have.

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