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Seattle Dog Bite Lawyer

If you’ve suffered financial or emotional distress as a result of a dog bite, the Seattle dog bite attorneys at The Fang Law Firm can help you recover financially from the negligent or careless party. Call us today at (206) 489-5140 for a free and confidential dog bite case evaluation.

Dog bites come with a whole host of problems and medical bills beyond the initial bite. They can result in infection, disfigurement, scarring of the skin as well as emotional scarring. Dog bites can also cause unwanted medical bills including rabies vaccines, antibiotics and even physical therapy for nerve damage.

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Why Choose our Seattle Dog Bite Lawyers?

  • We are trusted: We have a 98 percent success rate in over 10,000 litigation cases; rest assured that we will reach a result that works for you.
  • We are hands-on: Unlike other Seattle dog bite firms, we don’t hand off our clients to our support staff.
  • We are available: Our firm has a 24-hour call return policy, your questions are important, and our Seattle injury lawyers are committed to providing you with all the answers.

Recoverable Damages in a Dog Bite Case

If you choose to pursue a negligence or personal injury claim against the dog owner, you can recover economic and non-economic damages.

  • Economic damages: Economic damages are actual monetary losses you incurred due to the injury such as medical bills, lost wages from missing work, and property damage.
  • Non-economic damages: Non-economic damages under Washington law are damages for pain and suffering, disfigurement, disability, and loss of enjoyment of life. A Seattle dog attack attorney can help you calculate these damages in order to plead them in litigation.

Unfortunately, Washington is one of four states that does not allow for punitive damages in personal injury or negligence claims. Punitive damages are designed to punish the wrong-doer whereas economic and non-economic damages are to restore the injured party to where they were before the accident.

Pursuing a dog bite injury through strict liability is a more straightforward and easier process than pursuing a common law claim. However, a Seattle dog bite attorney can walk you through the legal options available to you.

How Do I Recover Compensation for a Dog Bite?

Most dog bite cases are solved through the negligent dog owner’s homeowners or renter’s insurance. It is common for homeowners and renters insurance to cover a dog bite injury up to $100,000 to $300,000 – whatever that person’s policy limits are.

However, many homeowner’s and renters insurance don’t cover certain types of dogs known as “guard dogs” or rottweilers and pitbull type dogs. If you are bitten by a dog that is not covered by homeowners or renters insurance, pursuing financial compensation for your injury gets a little tricky. You will have to pursue financial compensation from the owner directly through the court system.

Washington Dog Bite Liability

RCW 16.08.040 provides that the owner of a dog that bites a person, who is lawfully in a public or private place, is liable for any damages incurred by the bitten person regardless of the dog’s history or the owner’s knowledge of the incident.

Washington’s dog bite law is a strict liability law. Strict liability means that the dog owner is liable no matter the intent; strict liability means that you could still recover damages from the dog’s owner even if the bite were an accident. Our attorneys will work with you to present evidence that the incident occurred and prove that the dog owner is strictly liable.

Washington Does Not Follow the One-Bite Rule

Many states follow the one-bite rule. The one-bite rule precludes the dog owner from liability if the dog has never bitten anyone before. Essentially, it is a one-bite free rule. The one-bite rule makes it near impossible to recover damages from a negligent owner if you are the first person the dog has bitten. Fortunately, Seattle has a strict liability law for dog bite injuries.

Claims That Can Arise Out of a Dog Bite Injury

There are some circumstances that allow you to pursue a dog owner under common law principles. There are two typical claims you can make against the dog bite owner:

  • Negligence
  • Personal injury

Defenses to Dog Bite Claims

Recovering financially from a negligent dog owner seems straightforward. However, Washington provides several defenses for dog owners that preclude recovery. The defenses available to dog owners include:

Trespassing

Washington’s dog bite law only provides for recovery for victims who are lawfully on the property in which the dog bite occurred. If a claimant is unsure whether you were lawfully on a property, call us at The Fang Law Firm, and our experienced Seattle dog bite lawyers will review your case.

Notice Laws

If the dog owner has posted “Beware of Dog” signs on their property, it may preclude the claimant from financial recovery.

Proof of Provocation

A dog owner may present evidence that the dog bite victim provoked the dog, and if a judge finds for the dog owner, then the claimant cannot recover financially.

Qualified Immunity

If a dog bite injury occurred due to police interaction, it might preclude the claimant from financial recovery.

You don’t have to go to court to settle a dog bite injury case. We can assist you in seeking compensation from the dog owner’s home or rental insurance. Usually, home and rental insurance provides for accidental injuries, including dog bites. We will work with you to determine the possible outcome for your case, including developing a plan to seek recovery from your friend or neighbor’s home or rental insurance; after all, home and rental insurance is there for when accidents happen.

Dog Attack Injuries

Dog bites sound like no big deal, but serious injury and bacterial infection can result from a dog bite. A major infection that results from a dog bite is Capnocytophaga. These are the typical signs of Capnocytophaga:

  • Blistering around the bite
  • Redness, swelling, pain or pus
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea and stomach pain
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Muscle or joint pain

A dog bite can also result in rabies, staph, or cellulitis. Staph infections can lead to serious injury and death, and cellulitis, if left untreated, can lead to a whole host of serious injury. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, or any pain or discomfort, you should seek out a medical professional immediately.

What to do After a Suffering a Dog Bite

  • Separate yourself from the dog: Don’t try to de-escalate the situation, removing yourself is the best course of action; it will allow the dog to calm down and you to assess your injuries.
  • Gather the contact details of the dog owner: If the dog owner isn’t someone you know, it is imperative to get the negligent dog owner’s contact information in order to file a claim with their insurance company or settle the matter privately.
  • Verify that the dog has had its rabies shots: If the dog has not had its rabies shots or its rabies shots are not up-to-date, you will need to get a series of rabies shots to protect against a possible rabies infection.
  • Contact animal control and the police to file a report: The bite needs to be on record in order for both the police and animal control to keep track of the dog’s behavior. Once reported, the dog owner may need to follow remedial measures such as behavior classes.
  • Go to the emergency room or urgent care: It is important to make sure that the dog bite doesn’t devolve into a deadly infection. Additionally, a report of your injuries is also necessary if you are going to seek reimbursement for medical expenses from the negligent dog owner’s insurance.
  • File a claim with the homeowner or renters insurance company: This will start the claim for medical reimbursement.

How to Prevent Dog Bites

  • Stay away from off-leash dog areas: In Seattle, dogs are required to be on a leash in most places. Seattle law specifically prohibits dogs “being at large” in areas that are not designated as off-leash.
  • Be alert and aware of the dogs around you if you are in a shared space: Stay away from dogs that are acting strangely or odd.
  • Don’t reach for an unknown dog, let the dog come to you: It’s impossible to know what triggers a dog by looking at it. It is best not to approach a dog you don’t know, instead just let the dog approach you.
  • Let the dog sniff your hand before petting or reaching for the dog: Sudden movements towards a dog’s face or head could startle it and put the dog on the defensive.
  • Avoid touching the dog’s head or chest during play: A dog may accidentally bite you during play if you put your hands close to its mouth or chest, this could confuse the dog and make the dog think your hand is part of the toy. Usually these bites are not malicious, but they could still cause serious injury.

Seattle Dog Bite Statistics

Seattle is one of the top cities for dog bite attacks on postal workers. In 2018, 127 reports of dogs biting USPS postal workers were reported.

If you are a USPS employee, you may be able to pursue a claim through your workers compensation in addition to a claim against the negligent dog owner or the dog owner’s insurance. A knowledgeable dog bite lawyer in Seattle can help you chart the best path to recovery.

Contact Our Seattle Dog Bite Lawyers Today

The dog attack attorneys at The Fang Law Firm understand the sensitivity behind dog bite cases because many dog bite cases involve friends and family members. Our dog bite lawyers maintain professionalism and respect for all parties involved in the litigation. We understand that dog bite victims are going through a physically and emotionally painful time. Our attorneys will walk you through every step of the litigation or settlement process; you will never feel alone. Call us today at (206) 489-5140, and our Seattle dog bite lawyers will review your case and work with you to determine the best possible outcome.

The Fang Law Firm offers 100% remote and contactless meetings & representation.