Who Is Liable For A Dog Bite Attack In Washington?
Dogs may be an important member of the family, but they can be dangerous. Unfortunately, dog bites are common occurrences. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC), about 5 million American suffer dog bites each year. Many of these victims are young children trying to pet or play with dogs not aware of the warning signs of an aggressive or upset dog. The CDC reports that over 1,000 people seek emergency treatments for dog bites each day nationwide.
Dog bites can cause serious injuries like nerve and tissue damage, permanent scarring and disfigurement, and psychological trauma. In some tragically extreme cases, dog bites have even resulted in deaths. If you or a loved one have been injured by a dog bite, you need an experienced Seattle dog bite attorney on your side.
Washington State Dog Bite Liability Law
In Washington, dog bites fall under a “strict liability statute.” This means that dog owners can be held liable for injuries caused by their dogs. Washington Code RCW 16.08.040 states:
“The owner of any dog which shall bite any person while such person is in or on a public place or lawfully in or on a private place including the property of the owner of such dog, shall be liable for such damages as may be suffered by the person bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of such dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.”
Who Is Liable For A Washington Dog Bite Injury?
If you are bitten by a dog in Seattle or anywhere else in Washington, the dog’s owner is responsible for your damages and injuries. As mentioned above, Washington is a strict liability state, which means that the dog bite owner is completely responsible for damages and injuries their dog causes. The law is written this way to be tough on people who have aggressive or dangerous dogs.
The law is also written to protect landlords from dog bite liability. In a strict liability dog bite law, a landlord cannot be held responsible for a tenet’s dangerous or aggressive dog. The only instance in which you can bring a dog bite injury claim against your landlord is if it was your landlord’s dog who attacked you.
Washington One-Bite Rule
Of course, there are some grey areas in Washington dog bite laws. Lawmakers recognize that though animals can be dangerous, many of them only bite or attack when provoked. The law allows a dog owner to assume, until there is concrete evidence to the contrary, that their dog is not a danger to people.
But, an owner who knows their dog shows behavioral signs that make them more likely to bite someone, must be prepared to take responsibility for their dog’s actions.
What Compensation May Be Available For Dog Bites?
If you or a family member have suffered injuries after a Seattle dog bite, you may be able to pursue compensation for your damages and losses. Here are some of the items your personal injury claim can cover:
- Medical bills
- Future medical bills
- Physical therapy (if necessary)
- Psychological counseling for trauma
- Lost earnings from missed work
- Lost future earnings
- Pain and suffering
Do I Need An Attorney For My Dog Bite?
Yes! Your personal injury claim after a Seattle dog bite can get very complex. You’ll have to deal not only with the dog owner responsible for your injuries but also their insurance company. Remember, insurance companies are businesses looking out for their bottom line. They will try to offer you a lower settlement than you need or reject your claim altogether. DO NOT let this happen to you. Contact an experienced Seattle dog bite attorney who can help you secure the maximum settlement needed to heal and move on from this difficult situation.
Contact A Seattle Dog Bite Lawyer Today
Pendergast Law can help build a strong case that gets you the settlement you deserve. We have guided many Seattle dog bite injury victims to successful claims. Contact us today to learn how we can help you. We can be reached at 888-539-9211.