Dog Bite Lawyers Providing Compassionate Legal Representation to Injured Victims in the Seattle Area
Dogs have long been thought of as ‘man’s best friend,’ but try telling that to the mother of a child who was mauled by a family dog or the dog walker who lost control of their animal and then lost an eye in an attack. We love dogs, and they love us. But the fact remains; that dogs can and do bite.
Dog owners can be held liable for any dog bites that transpire in a public place, their personal private property, or someone else’s private property. It does not matter if the dog owners never knew about their dog’s aggressiveness. It does not matter if the dog never showed aggression previously. It does not matter if they lacked intent. It does not matter if they were negligent or not.
This is what is known as ‘strict liability under the state’s section for dog bite law.
A dog’s owner may face liability for dog bite claims in civil court. But they might also face criminal charges, depending on certain factors. In addition to paying a settlement, the dog owner may risk losing their dog at the end of the case.
There are certain exceptions to the strict liability rule. Trespassers on private property are not given the same legal protections and considerations as lawful visitors and guests. If a dog attacks a home intruder at night, for example, the intruder does not have the same rights to sue the dog owner for their injuries.
If a person provokes a dog into biting or attacking, then the dog owner may not be considered strictly liable for any injuries incurred. For example, if an individual abuses the dog, they will not have a strong dog bite injury claim should the dog decide to fight back.
Please note that children under the age of six are typically exempt from these exceptions.
Does Washington State Have a One-Bite Rule?
Some states offer a one-bite rule, which says that dogs aren’t considered dangerous until their first attack. Washington does not have this rule. The only thing that resembles this is that, under Washington’s dog bite law, if a dog owner knew that their animal had a past of viciousness, then they may be held liable in criminal court for any bites.
However, the dog needn’t have ever bitten anyone previously for the dog owner to be held liable in civil court proceedings.
Does a Dangerous Dog Need to Be Registered?
If a dog has any past of attacking a human being, it will be considered dangerous. Washington State laws require dangerous dogs to be legally registered, muzzled, chained, or leashed, and post ‘beware of dog’ warning signs around the dog’s property to notify the public of the risk of interacting with the dangerous dog.
Owners of dangerous dogs may also need to prove that they have good liability insurance in case their animal causes any dog bite injuries.
If the owner of a dangerous dog does not follow these guidelines, they may be held liable.
Does Seattle Have its Own Dog Bite Laws and Restrictions?
In addition to the statewide dog bite law, the city of Seattle has its own unique laws and regulations for owner responsibility.
In Seattle, every dog must be licensed with the city sometime within the first eight weeks of owning the dog or moving to the city with the dog. Special licenses are required for owners of guard dogs.
Dogs must always be leashed in Seattle, except in certain specialized dog parks. Dogs off leash could result in fines for the owners.
Additionally, all dogs must be vaccinated to fight off the chance of rabies for both the dog’s health and the community’s safety.
And while much of the rest of the state may allow a ‘dangerous dog,’ Seattle does not. If a person is deemed to be the owner of an aggressive dog, that dog must be moved beyond city limits.
Does Filing a Dog Bite Lawsuit Risk the Termination of the Dog’s Life?
While some dangerous dogs may be put down following a vicious attack, not every legal action against a dog results in the dog’s termination. For example, even in cases where the dog is legally recognized for its aggressive behavior and past history of biting people, it may survive this ordeal if its owner follows the requirements for registering the animal, posting warning signs, and taking other precautions to protect the public from the dog.
What Kinds of Injuries Do Dog Bites Usually Cause?
A dog bite can result in serious injuries for the victims, many requiring plastic surgery in order to cover the scarring and disfigurement caused by the animal’s teeth.
Typical dog bite injuries include:
- Broken bones.
- Facial disfiguration.
- Nerve damage.
- Psychological damage and emotional trauma.
- Puncture wounds and lacerations.
- Rabies virus.
- Soft tissue damage.
- Wrongful death.
It would be unfair to ask a dog bite victim to pay for the costly medical care necessary to recover following the animal attack. With a well-organized dog bite lawsuit, the injured victim can recover economic and non-economic damages in the form of financial compensation.
What is the Most Dangerous Breed of Dog?
No dog is born evil. Nor is any breed particularly more aggressive than any other. But just the same, statistics show that certain dog breeds are responsible for more dog bites than other breeds. Partly this is because of the population of the dog breed in question — it makes sense that the most common dog breeds would account for a more significant number of bites — and partly because of how humans train certain breeds to fight, defend, and attack.
The breeds most frequently named as more ‘dangerous’ than any other are pit bulls, rottweilers, bull terriers, German Shepherds, and wolfdogs.
How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help the Victim of a Dog Bite Injury?
Dog owner liability says that owners may be held financially and criminally responsible if their dogs cause physical harm to another person. However, sometimes the settlement that injured victims receive is not enough to pay the medical bills they’ve incurred after sustaining severe injuries.
Contact Khan Injury Law to speak with our experienced dog bite lawyers about your claim. Our legal team represents clients in many personal injury cases, including dog bite cases, and we would be proud to represent your legal rights in and out of the courtroom.
What if Police Dogs Caused the Injury?
If the dog bite injury was caused by a legally trained and supervised police dog, then the strict liability rules do not apply.
However, there have been cases where police dogs act on their own accord and attack civilians without warning. In such dog bite cases, it is possible to sue the city for damages.
Are Dog Owners Held Liable for Attacks on Another Person’s Dogs?
If another person’s dog has attacked your dog, then you may be legally able to hold the other person liable for damages, including paying any necessary veterinary bills. If the dog attack took the life of your dog, then you may need to go to court to work out a fair settlement for your loss.
Even if a dog bites another dog because it feels threatened, the aggressor may be held accountable for damages regardless of arguments for self-defense. Also, consider that if an unleashed dog mauls a dog on its leash, then the law will favor the owners of the leashed dog nearly every time.
What Type of Compensation Could Dog Bite Victims Recover with a Successful Personal Injury Claim?
Your dog bite attorney will gather all relevant evidence in your dog bite case to help strengthen the argument for maximum compensation.
Financial compensation can help the individual that the dog attacked recover from the dog bite without the added stress of worrying about money. Your settlement can help with medical bills, lost wages, emotional distress, disability, disfigurement, and loss of companionship.
What Are the National Dog Bite Statistics?
Approximately 80 million dogs reside in the USA. Considering that number, very few of America’s dogs bite people. However, nearly 1,000 dog bite injuries are treated in hospital rooms across the country daily. There are millions of reported dog bites every year.
Most dog attacks occur on the dog owner’s property — and usually, the dog is an animal that the victim knows and has been previously acquainted with. The majority of dog bites are inflicted upon small children.
One out of every five dog bites becomes infected.
Dogs with pit bull-like traits are responsible for most dog bite fatalities. Women made up the majority of the victims of fatal animal attacks.
In 2021, homeowners paid out over 880 million dollars for animal attack claims where a dog bite occurred.
Is There a Statute of Limitations for Filing a Dog Bite Claim?
You have three years to seek legal action if a dog has attacked you. After that three-year window, it does not matter how strong the dog bite case is; you will likely be unable to file a successful lawsuit.
Do not delay. Speak to a dog bite lawyer today. Our personal injury lawyers are well-versed in cases involving personal injury law in the state of Washington and would be more than qualified to take your dog bite case.
Schedule a Free Consultation with an Experienced Dog Bite Attorney Today
If a dog has bitten you or a loved one, you have the legal right to seek justice in both civil and criminal court proceedings. However, doing so may be easier said than done, especially when recovering from any serious injuries that might have been incurred in the attack.
You should seek the legal representation of an experienced dog bite lawyer for your case. The dog bite lawyers of Khan Injury Law represent dog bite victims across the state of Washington, with offices in Kent, Seattle, Tacoma, and Tukwila.
To schedule a free case consultation with a dog bite lawyer at our firm, please call our main office in Seattle at (206) 203-3978.