Dogs are givers of love and affection. But those who have suffered an injury from a dog bite may feel differently. Unfortunately, these events occur more often than we may think. If you or a loved one have been injured by a dog bite, you might be entitled to recover compensation from the dog owner.
While some dog bites may result in minor injuries, even these minor dog attacks may cause some form of emotional distress and fear. And dog bites can lead to secondary infections requiring hospitalization, long recovery times, and even plastic surgery.
Speak to an attorney to discuss your options. A personal injury attorney aggressively pursues your dog bite injury lawsuit against the dog owner and ensures just compensation on your behalf.
What Are the Most Common Dog Breeds to Bite?
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, more than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs yearly. And more than 800,000 people bitten by dogs require medical attention annually. Children are also more likely to be bitten and severely injured when bitten. The most common dog breeds to bite others include the following:
- English Bulldog,
- Pit Bull,
- German Shepherd,
- Australian Shepherd,
- Lhasa Apso,
- Jack Russell Terrier,
- Cocker Spaniel,
- Bull Terrier,
- Pekingese, and
While a particular dog breed may statistically bite people at a higher rate, all dogs tend to bite. So just because a dog doesn’t appear on the above list, it doesn’t mean that dog doesn’t bite
There are various reasons why a dog might bite someone, including:
- Reacting to a stressful situation,
- Feeling scared or threatened,
- To protect themselves or their puppies or owner,
- They aren’t feeling well,
- They may nip and bite when playing.
It may be helpful to keep these scenarios in mind when you’re around unfamiliar dogs. Another useful tip is asking the dog owner whether their dog is friendly around strangers.
Unfortunately, there may be situations where an injured victim never had an opportunity to inquire about a dog’s behavior. A dog bite may occur when a dog gets free from its leash or out of its yard or enclosure and attacks randomly and without provocation. It’s important to remember that Washington law gives you the right to pursue a dog bite settlement to compensate for your injuries.
What Is a Dog Owner’s Liability After a Dog Bite?
In Washington, the dog laws hold a dog owner strictly liable for any attack. Strict liability means that when a dog bites someone, the owner is responsible for their injuries. There is no requirement to find the owner negligent. However, there are two exceptions to this strict liability rule.
Washington law does not protect trespassers from a dog bite. Therefore, if a person was trespassing on someone else’s property at the dog bite, the owner is not strictly liable for the attack. People may choose to keep dogs on their property as protection. Washington laws protect this right and do not protect individuals that wrongfully enter the property of another.
When a police dog bites a person, there is no liability for any resulting injury. Therefore, a person bitten by a police dog when the dog was acting within department guidelines may not file a dog bite injury lawsuit.
What Can I Recover in a Dog Bite Settlement
You receive compensation for your injuries and losses when you prevail in a dog bite injury lawsuit or obtain a dog bite settlement. The damages you might recover include:
- Medical expenses;
- Lost wages;
- Loss of earning capacity;
- Expenses such as prescription medication, medical therapy, travel to appointments, and home-based care services or modifications;
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress;
- Permanent scarring and disfigurement;
- Permanent disability; and
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
Some of these damages require tangible proof, such as invoices, bills, and receipts. Others, such as emotional distress and pain and suffering, may be more difficult to prove. Based on their subjective nature, you need the assistance of a qualified dog bite lawyer to assist you in recovering these damages.
Many people develop a permanent fear of dogs after suffering a dog bite. Additionally, some dog bites may cause permanent disfigurement or scarring. Your physical wounds may heal, but the emotional effects can be long-lasting. You deserve to recover from these losses.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me with My Dog Bite Injury Lawsuit?
A qualified dog bite lawyer assists in filing a lawsuit and negotiating a potential settlement. Additionally, the statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits in Washington is three years. So your attorney ensures that your case never misses vital deadlines, including filing your dog bite injury lawsuit. Your attorney also works with insurance companies and opposing counsel, ensuring that no one takes advantage of you during the process.
If the dog owner is uncooperative and the parties cannot settle, your lawyer prepares your case for trial. Attempting to prepare your case for trial without the help of an lawyer will be very difficult for someone without legal training.
Your dog bite lawyer also helps in the following ways:
- Identifying the dog owner,
- Assessing and arguing the seriousness of your dog bite injury,
- Calculating the value of your case.
Obtaining fair compensation for your injuries is much more likely with an attorney advocating for your rights. Without their assistance, you risk losing out on recovering the compensation you deserve.
With over 40 years of legal experience, the attorneys at Brett McCandliss Brown & Conner are widely recognized for delivering world-class legal support to clients who need it most. We know that the process of healing from an injury initially feels very overwhelming—especially when faced with mounting medical expenses and an inability to work. We work on a contingency-fee structure, meaning that we do not charge you up-front fees or hourly rates until we reach a settlement or judgment on your behalf. Contact us today for a free consultation to find out how we can help you.