Advocating For Dog Attack Victims In Renton
Dogs who receive the proper care and attention can be gentle, loving companions. When they are mishandled or neglected, however, they may attack and cause serious injuries. In the state of Washington, dog bites fall under the responsibility of the owner. If an owner allowed their dog to run loose without a leash, lost control of it, or did not keep a dangerous dog fenced in, this negligence can cause serious trauma to neighbors and strangers.
If you or your loved one has been bitten by a dog in Renton, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against the owner for compensation. However, dog bite cases can be complicated, and most accident victims do not understand the legal requirements to recover compensation. That is why your best option is to work with a Renton dog bite attorney at Pendergast Law. We have recovered millions of dollars on behalf of accident victims and can provide thorough legal guidance throughout your claim. To schedule a free consultation, contact our office toll-free at 888-539-9211.
The Risk Of A Dog Attack
Any dog can attack if provoked, regardless of breed. Dogs may bite in reaction to stressful situations or perceived threats, when they are ill or injured, or while defending their territory, food or young. Some dogs are neglected or abused and become aggressive as a result. Sadly, many of us have witnessed or heard of a dangerous dog attack that catastrophically injured the victim or even killed them.
Children have a greater risk for serious injuries from dog bites, because of their relative size and their tendency to be overconfident and miss the warning signs of aggression. A child may only see a cute animal rather than a growling, full-sized dog. In addition, some children may inadvertently provoke a dog, oftentimes yelling at them for not obeying a command. In any situation, dog bites involving children are rarely ever mild, often leading to emergency care and emotional trauma in the long run.
Alongside children, the elderly are also at risk of suffering attacks if the dog is untrained or aggressive. Dogs that get off a leash or escape the view of an owner may run into an older adult on a walk, causing a fall. Falls involving the elderly are extremely dangerous, as they can lead to severe spinal cord trauma, neck pain, hip fractures, and brain damage.
No matter the age of the victim of a dog attack, Washington does have strict dog bite laws that may allow you to pursue compensation.
Washington State Dog Bite Laws
Washington has a “strict liability” rule for dog bites. As stated in statute RCW 16.08.040.
“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.”
In other words, if you are bitten by a dog, you do not have to prove the owner or responsible party knew or should have known the dog could potentially attack to recover compensation. Instead, in order to file a claim, you only have to demonstrate that you were not trespassing or did not provoke the dog prior to the attack. So long as you were lawfully on the owner’s property or out in public, then you may be able to pursue damages for your injuries.
What Types Of Injuries Can Dog Attacks Cause?
Not all dog bites are serious, but they can be, particularly if a child is attacked. A severe dog attack can cause wounds that lead to physical scarring and disfigurement, nerve and tissue damage, and the risk of severe infections. The trauma of the attack can also leave the victim with emotional scars.
Injuries commonly caused by dog attacks include:
- Facial injuries
- Eye injuries
- Head and neck injuries
- Puncture wounds
- Nerve, muscle, and tissue damage
- Psychological trauma
Never hesitate about receiving medical treatment for a dog bite. Puncture wounds made by a dog’s teeth force bacteria from the dog’s mouth under the skin, which can lead to various infections, including sepsis, a potentially life-threatening condition. Even if you are worried about the medical costs for treatment, most dog attacks are covered under homeowner’s insurance, meaning you may be able to cover your medical bills with a claim against the dog’s owner.
What Is A Dog Bite Case Worth?
If you or your child has been seriously injured in a dog attack, you have a right to seek compensation for your losses under Washington state law. Damages you may be entitled to claim may include:
- Medical expenses, past and future
- Lost wages
- Permanent disability
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Mental anguish
The overall size of your case will vary depending on the circumstances of your injuries. While some bites may be minor and only involve surface-level damage, others can be devastating. If you fell during the attack and hit your head, leading to a traumatic brain injury, all of your treatment costs can be included in the claim.
Compassionate Legal Guidance From Pendergast Law
Severe dog bite injuries may require extensive medical treatment and time away from work and may have long-term consequences for the victim. Filing a claim may be your best option after a dog bite, as you can include everything from medical bills to lost wages to mental anguish in your claim. But there is a statute of limitations (time limit imposed by law) for dog bite claims. You have three years from the date of the bite to file a claim. The sooner your attorney begins investigating and preparing your case, the better.
Our Renton personal injury attorneys at Pendergast Law, have the knowledge, skills, and resources to effectively pursue the compensation you deserve after serious dog bite injuries. We have been in practice for nearly 30 years and a history of success for our clients. Call us toll-free at 888-539-9211 to schedule a free consultation. We can explain your options under the law and fight for your right to compensation.