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.
If you choose to pursue a negligence or personal injury claim against the dog owner, you can recover economic and non-economic damages.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
If the dog owner has posted “Beware of Dog” signs on their property, it may preclude the claimant from financial recovery.
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.
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 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:
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.
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.
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.