DOG BITE INJURY LAWYERS

Our dog bite injury attorneys have represented numerous individuals that have been injured by dogs. The injuries range from a bite on the leg to more severe injuries from a fall after being jumped on by a dog.

It is completely natural to be afraid when an unfamiliar dog runs your way.  You do not know if the dog is going to run in for a friendly hello or is going to act aggressively.

Being bitten by a dog is scary for anyone, especially when you do not know the owner or the history of the dog.  Dog bite victims often have to get rabies vaccines, tetanus shots and other antibiotics to stave of infection. An experienced dog bite injury lawyer will explain to you that the laws in Washington are straight forward.  The dog’s owner is liable for the injuries that their dog causes.

Washington Law Center has on-staff injury attorneys who specialize in representing people who are injured by dogs. We fight to recover not only your medical expenses, but for the pain, suffering and subsequent anxiety that follows a traumatic incident involving a dog.  We encourage dog bite victims to speak to an attorney who has successfully represented those injured, bitten or attacked by a dog.  It has been our experience that insurance companies often try to downplay the significance of an attack and our dog bite injury attorneys will stand up for the victims. We will carefully investigate the circumstances and interview witnesses to determine the most effective legal arguments to maximize our client’s recovery.

We fight, you win.

See how we can help you by giving us a call, sending us an email or filling out our contact form.

Dog Bite Injury FAQ

  • Why should you hire a dog bite injury lawyer?

    Why should you hire a dog bite injury lawyer?

    While dogs are referred to as “man’s best friend”, dogs can be decidedly unfriendly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that approximately 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs annually with over half of these victims being children. Dog bites accounted for over one third of all homeowner’s insurance liability claim payouts during 2013. The cumulative amount of these payouts amounted to $483 million according to a study conducted by the Insurance Information Institute (III) and State Farm®. The average cost of insurance claims from dog bites has increased by 45 percent during the last decade.

    At the Washington Law Center, our experienced dog bite attorneys recognize that dog attacks can result in severe physical injuries and deep lasting emotional scars. We have handled many dog bite cases involving bites, mauling incidents and falls caused by dogs.

  • How severe can dog bite injuries be?

    How severe can dog bite injuries be?

    Some people assume dog bite injuries are minor and they rarely require significant medical attention. However, one in five dog bite victims suffer injuries severe enough that they seek medical attention. Approximately 27,000 people bitten by dogs each year need reconstructive surgery according to the CDC. Further, the average insurance payout for a dog bite case is close to $30,000 per claim according to the III. The notion that dog attack injuries tend to be minor is simply not supported by statistical data. Dog attack victims often suffer broken bones, fractures, internal injuries, head injuries and permanent facial disfigurement.

  • What’s the basis for imposing liability in a dog bite incident in Washington?

    What’s the basis for imposing liability in a dog bite incident in Washington?

    The basis for imposing liability can depend on the type of injury, identity of the dog and the surrounding circumstances. Our state’s dog bite statute is Revised Code of Washington § 16.080.040. This provision imposes strict liability on dog owners without regard to any history of viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge. Although this law eliminates the need to establish that the owner’s dog is dangerous (referred to as the “scienter” requirement), the scope of the statute is limited.

    When a dog attack does not fall within the auspices of the Washington dog bite statute, our knowledgeable dog bite lawyers explore other potential theories of liability including:

    • Common Law (Scienter): When the person handling the dog is not the owner, the dog bite statute is inapplicable. The common law provides a basis for imposing liability based on the keeper of the dog if the individual should have reasonably known of the dog’s vicious propensity. Although this rule is often referred to as the “one bite rule”, the victim of the attack does not need to prove that the dog has previously bitten someone. Evidence that the person taking care of the dog knew the dog engaged in lunging, growling or an attempted bite might be sufficient. This theory of liability also can be based on a broader range of injuries, such as knocking over a bicyclist.
    • Negligence: If someone charged with the care or possession of the dog fails to exercise reasonable care to control the dog, negligence can provide a basis for imposing liability in a dog bite lawsuit. For example, a neighbor who is house sitting might leave the gate to the yard open and allow the dog to bite someone walking on the sidewalk.
    • Leash Laws: Local municipalities or counties frequently enact ordinances that require dogs be kept on a leash when in public. Some city codes require that a dog be kept on a leash and imposes liability on a dog “owner, custodian or other competent, authorized person” for a dog attack. The law is considered a public safety statute, so a violation justifies strict liability (liability without fault) based on the legal doctrine of negligence per se.

  • Are dog bite injury cases covered by Homeowner's Insurance?

    Are dog bite injury cases covered by Homeowner’s Insurance?

    This can change depending on the details of the dog bite injury case.

    • Insurance may cover damages resulting from dog bites which occur on the homeowner’s property.
    • If the dog bite injury was sustained in a car, the owner’s automotive insurance may be held liable.
    • If the dog owner has pet/animal insurance, they may also cover your injuries.

    If you fear that you may not be eligible for legal claim against the dog owner because they don’t have coverage, our attorneys will determine whether the owner has a supplemental insurance policy that will cover the incident and grant you compensation for your losses.

  • What damages can you recover if you are a dog bite victim?

    Are dog bite injury cases covered by Homeowner’s Insurance?

    • Emotional Distress
    • Pain & Suffering
    • Lost wages from time missed from work
    • Any current and/or future medical costs

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