Advocating For Dog Bite Victims In The Seattle Area
Seattle is home to many popular dog parks and beaches where owners and their pets can enjoy a nice day out. As lively as these spaces may be, owners should always be mindful of where their pets are and how they are behaving. Untrained dogs may not know how to behave in public, around loud noises, or around other dogs and people. If an owner is not careful, his lack of attention can lead to a serious and violent dog attack.
If you were bitten by a dog at a Seattle park or beach, we encourage you to reach out to our legal team at Pendergast Law. We have been recovering compensation for dog bite victims throughout Seattle for nearly 40 years and have an in-depth understanding of both our state’s and city’s dog bite laws. Our Seattle dog bite lawyers can listen to what happened to you in a free consultation and explain your right to compensation. Call us today toll-free at 888-539-9211 to get a free case evaluation.
The Inherent Danger Of Dog Attacks
Dogs may be called man’s best friend, but we should never forget that they were once wild animals and still have many of their ancestors’ instincts. Every dog needs proper training to help it socialize when it leaves the home, but owners can easily become lax when they adopt a new puppy.
In fact, during 2020, multiple states saw a rise in dog bites as more and more people adopted animals and had a harder time training, socializing, and adjusting their dogs to strangers. Due to constant confinement, the number of dog bites increased drastically as more and more cities started opening back up, and the increases in re-sheltering have certainly not helped these dogs’ behavior.
But outside of the unique factors of 2020, dog bites have always been an issue in public spaces. While Seattle does have a leash law that prevents dogs from roaming through the city on their own, we also have several off-leash dog parks and beaches where owners may pay less attention to their pets. This increases the likelihood that an untrained dog will attack a stranger or start a fight with other animals. In many cases, owners are able to step in to prevent their pets from being injured but suffer injuries themselves in the process.
Seattle’s Leash Laws And Public Spaces
Seattle’s leash law states that all animals, excluding cats and pigeons, must wear leashes when out in public, with the exception of off-leash areas, per Municipal Code 18.12.080(A). The designated off-leash parks and beaches in Seattle are located in:
- Blue Dog Pond
- Denny Park
- Dr. Jose Rizal Park
- Genesee Park
- Golden Gardens
- I-5 Colonnade
- Kinnear Park
- Magnolia Manor Park
- Magnuson Park
- Northacres Park
- Plymouth Pillars
- Regrade Park
- Westcrest Park
- Woodland Park
Off-leash areas are limited to certain sections of the above parks. Outside of those zones, owners must have their dogs on leashes. In addition, while within off-leash areas, owners are still responsible for controlling their dogs’ behavior and must stay within speaking distance of the dog to issue commands and keep the dog on a leash when entering or leaving the off-leash area.
Are Owners Liable For Bites At Parks And Beaches?
Washington state has strict liability for dog bites even if the dog is in a public area, according to RCW 16.08.040. As such, owners are still responsible for dog bites that occur in off-leash parks and beaches, as well as any other area where the victim was legally allowed to be. If a dog bites someone in an off-leash area, then the victim can file a personal injury claim with the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance company to recover compensation.
The only situation where a victim cannot receive compensation for a dog bite in a public space is if the victim provoked the dog. Beyond that, the dog’s owner is responsible for providing compensation to the victim, which can include:
- All medical expenses, including past and future treatment
- Lost wages
- Lost earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress
Trust In Our 40 Years In Practice
After a dog attack, victims deserve to receive full compensation for their injuries. However, homeowner’s insurance companies rarely play fair after an attack. These companies only care about their profit margins, which means you can expect a lowball settlement offer if you go into a claim without an attorney at your side.
But our team of Seattle personal injury attorneys at Pendergast Law is well-versed in dealing with dismissive insurance companies. Our founding attorney, Mr. Pendergast, is a member of both the Million and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum and has been named to the Top 100 Trial Lawyers. If you bring your case to us, we can use all of our expertise to fight to get you the highest possible award after a dog bite. To sit down with us and learn what we can do for you, call toll-free 888-539-9211 for a free consultation.