Tacoma Dog Bite Lawyer
Tacoma, WA dog owners have a responsibility to ensure their animals do not pose a risk of injury to others, but dog bites are still a common threat. Children are especially vulnerable, but any victim of an animal attack can suffer devastating consequences. There are the medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering that affect anyone who is hurt in a personal injury case. However, dog bites are often even more catastrophic. Scarring and disfigurement can be horrific reminders of the incident, and many victims experience emotional trauma for the rest of their lives.
If you or your child suffered a dog bite, you need solid, experienced representation on your side. At Khan Injury Law, PLLC, our Tacoma, WA dog bite lawyers are committed to getting full compensation to cover your losses when someone else fails to protect the public from a dangerous animal. Please contact our office to schedule a free consultation, and read on for some important information on how these cases work.
A Tacoma, WA Dog Bite Lawyer Will Protect Your Interests
Animal attack cases in Washington State are unique in that there are multiple theories of liability under which you may be able to recover compensation. They are:
- Statutory Law: Washington has enacted a dog bite statute that imposes liability on a dog’s owner if the victim was bitten while in a public place or rightfully in a private location. The law only applies to actual bites, however; you cannot rely on the statute to recover compensation for injuries caused by scratching, knock-downs, or other dog behavior. In addition, you should note that you can only recover economic losses under the statutory law, which are described in more detail below.
- Negligence Theories: The legal concept of negligence also applies to dog bite cases. Under this doctrine, dog owners have a duty to protect other individuals from risk of harm that the animal may present. If a person is attacked due to a breach of this legal duty of care, the victim can obtain compensation for a wide range of damages. Examples of negligence in a dog bite case include:
- The animal’s owner knew the dog was dangerous, either from previous attacks or a propensity for viciousness. Failure to restrain the dog may be considered a breach of the duty of care.
- The dog’s owner violated Tacoma, WA laws by not having the animal on a leash or otherwise restrained. This failure to comply with legal requirements is evidence of negligence.
There are advantages to seeking compensation under each theory of liability in a dog bite case. The limitation on damages under statutory law makes a claim based upon negligence more attractive. However, the burden of proof in a negligence case is higher, so there is a risk you cannot establish all essential elements of your claim. Our dog bite attorneys at Khan Injury Law, PLLC can review your circumstances and advise you on your options.
Recovering Damages in Animal Attack Cases
When you file a case as the victim of a dog bite, you will be seeking damages to make you whole after suffering injuries. The legal concept of damages is tied to the losses you sustain across a wide range of factors, but they fall into two general categories:
- Economic Damages: These are the readily ascertainable, sometimes out-of-pocket losses you endure as a result of an animal attack. Economic damages include medical costs, lost wages, property damage, and similar losses. This is the only category of damages that you can recover if you seek compensation under statutory law.
- Non-Economic Damages: Other losses are more difficult to assign a dollar value, but you definitely experience hardship. For instance, you may endure:
- Pain and suffering, which can range from mild discomfort to severe agony;
- Emotional trauma, as a dog bite can carry serious psychological implications;
- Losses based upon your personal relationships with your spouse, children, and other relatives;
- Diminished quality of life, especially when your injuries prevent you from enjoying your favorite activities; and,
- Other non-economic damages depending on your case.
Under the theory of negligence outlined above, you can recover both economic and non-economic damages as the victim of a dog bite. However, you need solid evidence to establish your claim to compensation in a negligence-based case. Our dog bite lawyers at Khan Injury Law, PLLC have access to investigative resources, medical experts, animal behavioral professionals, and other individuals that help us in building a strong legal strategy.
Special Considerations in Dog Bite Claims
Though our attorneys will take proper action to protect your rights, there are a few considerations to bear in mind in a dog bite case.
- You have three years from the date of the incident to file a lawsuit in a dog bite case. Washington’s statute of limitations acts as a complete bar to recovering compensation if you try to sue the animal’s owner after this time period expires.
- Under Washington’s dog bite statute, you cannot recover damages if you provoked or injured the animal. Likewise, provocation prevents you from obtaining compensation in a negligence case, acting as a defense for the owner.
- Another defense that may reduce or prevent you from recovering compensation is trespassing. The statute specifically protects only those victims who are in a public place or lawfully in or on a private place. Likewise, the theory of negligence may affect your claim because a person should not receive a windfall for injuries incurred while violating the law or engaged in other misconduct.
Discuss Your Claim with an Experienced Dog Bite Lawyer in Tacoma, WA
The physical and emotional impacts of a dog bite can be overwhelming, but Washington State law provides you with multiple options to recover compensation for your losses. The key is working with skilled Tacoma, WA dog bite attorneys that will take on the complicated legal issues on your behalf. Whether we are negotiating settlement with an insurance company or fighting for your rights in court, you can trust Khan Injury Law, PLLC to help you get your life back. Please contact our office with questions or to schedule a free consultation.
We know how traumatic a dog bite can be. Call our experienced Seattle personal injury attorneys for a free case consultation now.