A dog bite causes significant harm and discomfort. According to CDC data, 368,245 persons were treated in emergency departments across the United States in just one year for dog bite-related injuries. Along with physical pain, dog bite victims frequently face mental trauma and subsequent ripple consequences in their daily lives.
If you have been harmed by a dog bite, continue reading to learn about Washington State’s dog bite laws and how they can work in your favor.
Dog Bite Laws in Washington State
When you compare dog bites to other types of personal injury claims, where the injured party must establish negligence, dog bite rules in Washington State are strict liability. In other words, the dog’s owner is strictly accountable for any harm caused by the dog. According to Washington’s Revised Code, Section 16.08.040,
“The owner of any dog that bites any person while in or on a public place or while lawfully in or on a private area, including the owner’s property…”
Additionally, Washington Provide dog bite statutes state that regardless of the dog’s prior behavior, the dog owner is liable for damages. This means that the dog owner’s ignorance of the dog’s viciousness cannot be used as a defense.
Fortunately for the bite victim, Washington does not have a one-bite restriction.
In states that have enacted a one-bite law, the owner is only liable for the bite if the dog had previously bitten someone or displayed signs of hostility. Demonstrating that an owner “should have known” about their dog’s aggressive behavior can be challenging.
The strict liability provision of Washington State dog bite legislation benefits persons who have been bitten by providing an avenue for compensation.
What Is the Time Limit for Filing a Claim Against a Dog Owner?
To obtain compensation, you must file a claim against the dog’s owner. You don’t have an unlimited amount of time to decide when to file a personal injury lawsuit. The statute of limitations for the vast majority of personal injury cases is set down in the Washington Revised Code. RCW 4.16.080 lists the types of actions that are subject to the three-year statute of limitations. This section covers legal action taken in response to a personal injury. To put it another way, you have three years from the date of the dog bite to bring a claim.
It is preferable to file a claim against the owner as soon as possible. While the events of the accident are still fresh in your mind, your personal injury attorney can assist you in putting together a strong and compelling case.
How Do I File a Claim for Compensation in Washington State Following a Dog Bite?
A dog bite occurs instantly. However, the agony and suffering endured during the ordeal are prolonged. You have the right to seek compensation for the trauma you have undergone and the expenses associated with it.
Medical expenditures are one component of a dog bite claim. According to studies, hospital stays connected to dog bites cost around 50% more than average injury-related hospital admissions. Whether you were admitted to the emergency department, need to stay in a hospital, or sought treatment for an infected dog bite, medical expenditures inflict a financial strain on you.
Emotional anguish is another common outcome of dog bites for many people. The Revised Code of Washington, Section 4.56.250, categorizes this form of suffering as non-economic damages, which include the following:
“subjective, nonmonetary losses sustained by the injured person, including but not limited to pain, suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish, disability or disfigurement, emotional distress, loss of society and companionship, and loss of consortium…”
To be eligible for compensation, the victim of a dog bite must establish two critical points:
To begin, they were lawfully present at the time of the dog bite. If the bite occurred in a public area, establishing this point is simple. If the bite occurred on private land, the sufferer must establish that they were there lawfully (welcomed by the owner, invited in a professional capacity, etc.).
Second, the victim cannot have caused the dog to become excited previous to the bite. As RCW 16.08.060 reads, “evidence of the wounded person’s provocation of the attack shall be a complete defense to a claim for damages.”
A knowledgeable personal injury attorney will investigate your case and assemble evidence to support these assertions. Additionally, the attorney will create a case demonstrating the economic and non-economic damages you have sustained.
What Legal Options Do I Have Following a Dog Bite?
If you’re overwhelmed or unclear of your next moves, Caron, Colven, Robison & Shafton Law Firm is here to assist you. With a combined legal expertise of over 100 years, we understand what it takes to obtain the recompense you deserve.
Our expertise in Washington law, commitment to each client, and track record of accomplishment have helped us grow into the award-winning practice that we are today. We will investigate your particular dog bite case and advise you on your legal alternatives. To explore how we can assist you, schedule a free consultation now.