Fairfax, Leesburg & Loudoun, Virginia

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Doug Landau
Doug Landau
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Proving notice in a dog bite or animal attack case

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Some states have Strict Liability law for dog bites. New Jersey’s statute, for example, does not require proof that the owner knew the dog was a danger to others. Other states, like Virginia, require prior notice that a dog is "dangerous" or likely to bite or attack. It is not enough to show that a dog attacked an innocent victim. The injured plaintiff and their lawyer must show that the Defendant dog owner was "negligent" and that they had notice" of their dog’s dangerousness to others.

At Abrams Landau, Ltd., we have used evidence of "prior similar events" to establish "notice" in dog bite cases. We hesitate to use the term "dog bite accident," because these cases usually involve the dog’s intentional biting and attacking of innocent clients.

These prior acts can be bites, attacks, knock downs, chasing incidents or other threatening behavior. Canvassing the neighborhood can produce evidence of the attacking dog’s pre-injury behavior. In Virginia, another way to get the required notice evidence before the jury is to get the bad dog’s veterinarian’s records. We also seek copies of local animal control incident reports on the dog that bit our client.