Dogs owners in Seattle, like dog owners around the nation, have a particular set of responsibilities. These responsibilities include the owners being obligated to feed, care for, and walk the dog regularly. Dog owners also have an obligation to ensure that their dog is well-behaved and does not attack, bite, or cause any type of physical damage to other people. If the dog causes any damages, then the owner will be held liable.
In the unfortunate event of a dog inflicting a bite on you, you need to contact your Seattle attorney as soon as possible. Generally, if you have suffered wounds from a dog, you are entitled to compensation.
If you are reading this now because you just had an encounter with a dog that resulted in a bite, TorkLaw can help you start the process and receive fair compensation.
Dog Bite Liability in Seattle
If you have suffered a dog bite, there are two liability theories under which you can seek compensation for damages.
In Seattle and the entire state of Washington, statutes will hold any dog owner whose god caused damages directly liable. This is referred to as statutory liability. According to Washington State Legislature, “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.”
Statutory liability states that this liability applies to all dogs regardless of the dog was on public or private property.
Suppose you pursue a claim for a dog bite under statutory liability law. In that case, you can recover any financial damages that occurred (economic damages), which generally includes medical bills for medicine, stitches, etc.
You can pursue a claim under Statutory Liability and recover economic damages relating to the incident, and at the same time, seek further compensation for negligence, as stated by common law.
The theory behind a negligence claim is that the dog would not have attacked the victim if the owner took all precautions and responsibilities to avoid the incident. Most dog owners know the personality of their dog. Therefore, knowing that a dog is aggressive toward strangers and failing to restrain the dog can help the victim receive additional compensation for negligence.
In many instances, a dog owner might claim that their dog is not vicious, and they had no reason to believe they would attack the victim. At this point, the victim can continue with their claim under the common law. It is mandatory in Seattle when walking your dog to use a leash. Therefore, if a dog owner fails to use a leash, they are now liable for any damages their dog caused.
Dog Bite Injuries
Depending on the dog, the angle, and the overall situation during the attack, a dog bite can leave barely a scratch or become something more serious.
In many instances, dog bites can leave victims with severe scarring and other lifelong injuries. If the victim has been injured on their face, then they might require multiple surgeries to restore or reconstruct that part of their face.
Emotional scarring is also common when someone suffers from a dog bite. Especially when the victim is a child, it can scar the child for life, causing nightmares and crippling anxiety every time they see a dog.
Unfortunately, most dog bite incidents do involve children. If you or your child has suffered a dog bite, contact TorLaw, and we help you get compensated for any medical bills, rehabilitation bills, and bills that can occur from treating emotional trauma.
In most cases, victims know the dog owner. They are either neighbors, friends, or even family. This can cause a highly tricky situation as no one enjoys suing family or friends.
Your legal team can help you manage this claim by hopefully avoiding a lawsuit and utilizing home owner’s insurance, which in most cases, will cover dog bites.
What to Do if You Have Suffered a Dog Bite
- Call for medical help immediately. Dog bites, especially bites that puncture the skin, can cause infections. If the dog has not been vaccinated against rabies, you might need additional treatment. Delaying receiving medical attention more than eight hours after the incident will raise your infection risk.
- Document the situation by taking pictures of the incident. Make sure you take a picture of the dog. The more proof you have, the easier it is to finalize the case and receive fair compensation.
- If the dog appears to be a stray or the owner is nowhere to be found, contact animal control immediately. The dog might put more people in danger if not capture on time.
- Contact your legal team to handle your case.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, 50% of the time, dog bites, unfortunately, will introduce dangerous bacteria to the victim’s body. These bacteria include:
The risk of a bacterial infection increases if the dog is feral.
At TorkLaw, we are ready to help you and remove any stress from dealing with the case so you can focus on your healing process.