Unfortunately, dog bites and other animal attacks are far more common than you think. Unsuspecting victims can be left with severe injuries and psychological trauma that lasts years. Damages in dog bite cases tend to be high because the injured victim usually requires significant medical treatment. There may be future surgeries required, including scar revision. If a dog attacked you or someone you love in the Washington State metro area, speak with an experienced Washington State dog bite injury lawyer at Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner PLLC.
Taking quick action after a dog bite injury is crucial to ensure your rights are protected. You need the help of a Washington State dog bite attorney with the skills and experience necessary to help you get the compensation you deserve.
Washington Dog Bite Laws
Fortunately, dog bite laws in Washington are favorable to injured victims. Dog owners are strictly liable when their dog bites someone. This means that if the dog bites you, the owner is liable, even if they were not negligent. There are only minimal circumstances where they are not held legally responsible.
As a victim, you do not need to prove the dog is vicious, is a recognized dangerous breed, or has previously bitten anyone else. There is no need to prove the dog was outside of a fence, off a leash, or has shown a propensity toward aggression or violence in the past. This rule differs from some other jurisdictions where victims are expected to prove the dog was vicious.
You only need to prove that you were lawfully on public land or a private place when the attack took place. You must also show that the defendant is the dog’s owner or was the one in control of the dog at the time of the attack. However, defendants have some possible defenses in some circumstances. If you openly provoked the dog, were trespassing on the dog owner’s property at the time, or were committing a criminal act, you may not be entitled to any compensation for your injuries.
Other laws may apply in your case, as Washington law allows county commissioners to enact dog control zones. For example, Seattle has leash laws, and owners are not allowed to let their dogs run free except in designated off-leash zones. Washington also has dangerous breed laws. A dog that falls under one of these established breeds must adhere to the applicable laws. These laws require that the dog have a restraint chain and muzzle outside of a proper enclosure.
Recovering Compensation in a Washington Dog Bite Attack
Although Washington law favors accident victims, it doesn’t mean collecting compensation for your claim is easy. Even if the dog owner’s homeowner’s policy provides coverage for the incident, they will likely offer you an amount that is far less than your case is worth. You should never agree to a settlement amount or sign a release of all claims without first speaking with an experienced Washington State dog bite lawyer. Your Washington dog bite attorney will negotiate on your behalf to seek a much higher settlement than you would obtain by handling the case independently.
If the insurance company denies liability for your claim, you may need to file a lawsuit. It may be necessary to take your case all the way to trial in some instances. It’s crucial to have a skilled litigator representing you. When you retain the Washington State dog bite attorneys at Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner PLLC, you have a legal team with over 40 years of combined experience working on your case.
We know the best way to build a strong case for trial and how to prove your direct and indirect expenses related to a dog bite injury. We also understand the physical and psychological trauma that you are experiencing.
Possible Types of Recoverable Damages in a Dog Bite Case
You deserve to be compensated for your injuries as well as the future treatment you may need. Potential compensation that you may be eligible to receive in a dog bite case include:
- Medical expenses to date, including initial emergency room treatment, hospitalizations, etc.;
- Vaccines needed to prevent any animal-related diseases;
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation;
- Lost wages and future loss of earnings;
- Costs to see out of network providers, such as a cosmetic surgeon;
- Future treatment, including cosmetic surgery to minimize scarring or repair damage;
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress;
- Disfigurement or disability; and
- Loss of consortium.
Damages in a dog bite case can be extremely high in some instances. Infections and residual scarring are common with dog bites, which means you may need future treatment. Despite what the defendant’s insurance company might lead you to believe, you are entitled to reimbursement for future medical treatment, such as scar revision surgery. Those victims who are left with permanent damage and scarring would have the right to ask for higher pain and suffering compensation as well.
The type of damages you’re eligible to receive will depend on the specifics of your case. When you meet with our firm, we will review your case and let you know what types of damages you would be eligible to pursue.
Work with Our Washington State Dog Bite Lawyers
The aftermath of a dog bite attack can be frustrating and terrifying. You may feel overwhelmed and even depressed. You don’t have to go through this alone. Let the skilled team at Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner PLLC assist you. We will be there every step of the way during the claims process, and we will fight tirelessly for the compensation you are owed.
Understandably, hiring a legal practitioner might not be your first thought after a dog bite. However, the sooner you retain a Washington State dog bite attorney, the sooner we can start building a strong case and preserving all evidence.
As with other types of personal injury claims, there is a legal deadline on how long you have to file a lawsuit for a dog bite. In Washington, you typically have three years from the date of the attack. That may seem like a long time, but it’s not when you undergo treatments and scar revision surgeries. Failure to file a lawsuit timely means the court will likely dismiss your case, and you will be barred from any recovery.
Contact Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner PLLC
If you or someone you love suffered a dog bite, don’t wait to call us. Contact our office today to schedule a meeting. We offer free initial consultations, so you have nothing to lose by meeting with us. Let us put our 40+ years of combined litigation experience to work for you and help you fight for the compensation you are owed after a Washington dog bite.