A dog bite attack can happen in a flash and leave you grasping for what to do next. You don’t have to struggle alone through the process of getting just compensation from an at-fault dog owner. Our Tacoma dog bite attorneys are here to meet your needs. At Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner PLLC, our experienced lawyers are compassionate about helping our clients and aggressive with the ones who cause you harm. Our 97% success rate reflects the skill and focuses we have to help you get what you deserve after suffering trauma.
Basic Animal Control Rules in Tacoma, Washington
Yearly, more than 4 million people in the United States are bitten by dogs. Dog attacks can stem from poor training/control, territorial inclinations, and/or animal abuse. One way the City of Tacoma helps with these issues is its leash laws. In Tacoma, all dogs must be on a leash that is eight feet long or shorter, or they must be confined. But there are a handful of areas in Tacoma where dogs can frolic unleashed, including:
- Point Defiance Park,
- Rogers Playfield,
- Wapato Park,
- Franklin Park,
- Fuzhou Ting,
- Fort Nisqually Meadow,
- Stewart Heights Park,
- Manitou Park, and
- Titlow Park.
For more information on off-leash areas, you can visit the Tacoma Metro Parks website.
Civil Liability for Dog Bites in Washington
There might be rules and methods to decrease the likelihood of a dog bite attack, but rules and training aren’t foolproof, and some owners don’t take proper precautions with their animals. Unlike many personal injury cases, a dog owner is strictly liable when their dog bites another person. Strict liability means that you don’t have to prove “scienter” in a civil dog bite case against the owner. Scienter means knowledge. A dog bite owner is liable for the injuries their dog’s bite causes, regardless of whether they intended injury, were negligent with their dog, or knew about the dog’s vicious tendencies.
A Dog Owner’s Defenses Against Civil Liability
Dog owners don’t have many defenses in a dog bite lawsuit, but you should know what they are to better protect yourself from animal attacks and their aftermath. You might not be able to recover damages in a dog bite case if:
- You were trespassing on the dog owner’s property when you were bitten; or
- You were provoking the dog that bit you.
When claiming damages after a dog bite, you want to be very clear about what transpired up until the dog bite and why you were on the owner’s property (if applicable).
Criminal Liability for Dog Attacks in Washington
Some dog owners not only face civil damages in a dog bite case, but also criminal penalties. You can seek compensation for your damages after a dog bite even if the owner isn’t held criminally liable. But if the owner of a dangerous and potentially dangerous dog also violated criminal laws, that may strengthen your claim.
Common Dog Bite Injuries
Dogs have powerful jaws and teeth and can cause significant damage to a person or another animal. Common injuries victims of dog bites could suffer include:
- Dislocations, and
- Mental trauma.
Though a dog attack might last for a moment, the effects of the resulting injuries can linger for years, decades, or a lifetime. Dog bites can also be fatal. If you suffer a dog attack, you likely have the right to receive damages that cover your medical costs, financial losses, and pain and suffering. A skilled Tacoma dog bite attorney can help make sure that you recover as much as possible from the responsible parties.
How to Recover Civil Damages in a Dog Bite Case
When seeking damages for your dog bite injuries, you need to ask who, what, and when.
Who Is Civilly Liable for Your Dog Bite Injuries?
For the best chance to recover damages in a case or claim, you need to include the right defendants. In Washington, owners, keepers, and harborers of a biting dog are liable for the injuries it causes. Understanding who is a dog’s owner is pretty simple, but identifying a keeper or harborer warrants further discussion. Keepers and harborers are those who have direct control over the dog. And harborers are those who protect, house and control the dog. Including owners, keepers, and harborers in your dog bite case increases your likelihood of recovering all the money you deserve to cover your losses. Don’t worry if you can’t identify all the people who should be responsible for your injuries; an experienced dog bite attorney can help.
What Methods Do You Use to Recover Civil Damages?
You can receive payment for your losses by making a claim on a defendant’s insurance policy or filing a lawsuit. Whether you sue or file an insurance claim, the defendant and/or their insurance are likely to undermine the severity of your injuries and losses to hold onto their money. Having a good attorney in your corner can help hold those who harmed you responsible for every penny you are due.
When Do You File a Dog Bite Lawsuit?
It’s important to file a dog bite lawsuit as soon as possible. In Washington, you normally have only three years to file a dog bite lawsuit. This isn’t as long as you think it is. This filing deadline can pass in a snap when you’re trying to heal and take care of your household after a traumatic attack. Your Tacoma dog bite lawyer can handle this and other crucial deadlines while you do the important work of recuperating.
Our Tacoma Dog Bite Lawyer Can Take Care of Your Financial Recovery While You Recuperate
You should always have support after experiencing trauma. And you should have professional support when someone else causes your trauma. At Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner PLLC, we can be the support you need, and we get results.
Our experienced lawyers also handle other types of injury cases, including:
Our experienced attorneys have helped thousands of injury victims. We’ve also recovered over 100 million dollars for our clients. Contact our Tacoma dog bite attorney online today, or call us at 206-922-4197 for a free consultation.