WE SPEAK MULTIPLE LANGUAGES
Dogs are America’s favorite pet, with nearly 40 percent of households owning at least one dog, according to the American Veterinary Association. Indeed, dogs have been called man’s best friend, are used to provide comfort and support to those with emotional or psychological health problems, work intimately with military and police, and are relied upon for protection and love.
But as wonderful as dogs are, they can also be dangerous. Dogs, even the best-trained dogs, are animals, and can react instinctively or unpredictably when scared, threatened, or hurt. Sadly, some dogs are even trained to attack, and will do so on command.
If you have been bitten by a dog, you deserve the counsel of an experienced dog bite attorney. A dog bite lawyer in Kent can review your claim for free, and represent you as you pursue compensation for your injuries.
Being jumped on, snapped at, or fully bitten and attacked by a dog can all be scary experiences. And while some interactions with an aggressive dog cause little harm–perhaps a bruise at the bite site and a mild apprehension of dogs moving forward–other dog bites can be very severe. In fact, a serious dog attack could leave a victim with:
If a dog jumps on a person, knocking them down, it is also possible that the victim may sustain an injury, such as a fracture injury, head or neck injury, or traumatic brain injury upon impact as well.
The state of Washington has created a specific statute regarding liability for dog bites within the state. The statute holds dog bite owners strictly liable for harm that their dogs cause to others, reading that any person who is bitten while on a public place or lawfully within a private place can hold the owner of the dog liable for damages, “regardless of the former viciousness of such dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.”
This law is different than the laws in many other states, which requires that victims of dog bites prove the negligence of the dog owner, essentially allowing for a dog to get one “free” bite.
As found in the statute, a dog owner can only be held liable for damages sustained by a party bitten by a dog in the event that the dog bite victim was on public property, or was on private property lawfully at the time of the bite. This means that if you were trespassing at the time you were bitten, you cannot hold the dog owner strictly liable for the harm you suffered.
You may, however, still be able to bring forth a negligence-based claim against the dog owner. The state of Washington requires that property owners refrain from causing trespassers willful or wanton injury. So, if you entered a property and the owner of the property knew that their dog was aggressive and was likely to attack you, yet failed to restrain their dog anyway, you may have a negligence-based suit.
You could also bring forth a negligence-based personal injury claim against the dog owner if you wanted to seek compensation for pain and suffering. For example, say that you are in a public park at the time of the dog bite, and you can prove that the dog bite would not have occurred but for the owner’s failure to keep the dog on a leash (which was against statute in this specific park). As such, you file a claim against the dog owner which alleges that they were negligent in letting their dog off leash in an on-leash zone of the city.
Whether you decide to hire an attorney to represent you in your claim for damages is entirely up to you. If your dog bite was minor and the damages that you have sustained are fairly insignificant–for example, you have a bill from your doctor after getting the bite checked out and spent a few bucks on bandages, but did not suffer any long-term effects–you may choose to not hire an attorney. Not hiring an attorney is also not necessary when your case is straightforward, such as a situation in which injuries are minor and the dog owner assumes liability without question, agreeing to pay for your damages (and actually doing so) upfront.
There are other situations, however, when hiring a Kent dog bite lawyer for representation can prove helpful. For example, you may want an attorney on your side if:
In all cases, even ones in which your claim seems straightforward, an attorney can investigate your case, determine the value of your damages, file your claim, ensure you’re operating within the statute of limitations, negotiate your settlement, and file a lawsuit on your behalf if necessary.
Having a trusted lawyer on your side can be a comfort after you’ve been attacked by a dog in Kent. At the Khan Law Firm PLLC, we have three talented attorneys on our team, all of whom have experience in dog bite injury law and are generally knowledgeable in personal injury claims and related laws. We also have trial experience, and aren’t intimidated by aggressive insurance adjusters or the prospect of going to court.
We are passionate about what we do, and always put our clients first. We offer free case consultations for all of our prospective clients, and never charge you a fee for our legal services unless we win. To learn more, schedule your case consultation today by sending us a message, or calling our Kent, WA dog bite attorneys today.
We know how traumatic a dog bite can be. Call our experienced Seattle personal injury attorneys for a free case consultation now.