Even though the state of Washington is one of the most pet-friendly places in the nation, dog bite cases still happen. The state has a few different sets of legislation that address what should happen in case of a dog bite, and who is responsible for it. Our attorneys explain how dog bite laws work in Washington and your options to receive compensation.
What Happens if Your Dog Bites Someone in Washington?
When it comes to dog bites, the state of Washington follows the strict liability rule, which in most cases will likely hold the dog owner responsible for the injuries caused to a person who was in a public place or legally in private property – including the dog owner’s property. There are few exceptions to this rule, such as when the dog owner can prove the victim was provoking the dog or was trespassing.
If a dog owner is found responsible for the dog bite, he or she may have to provide compensation for the damages the victim suffered as a result of the incident. Those may include reimbursement for medical bills, emotional distress, and lost wages, for example. If the dog is considered a dangerous dog, the owner may have to muzzle the animal in public and adhere to specific rules for safe enclosures on their property.
What Should a Dog Bite Victim Do to Obtain Compensation?
If you have suffered a dog bite, your priority is to seek medical attention. Even if your injuries are mild, it is important to have a doctor document them in a medical report. If you can gather information such as when and where the dog bite happened, the dog and owner information, and the contact information of any witnesses, these may be used as evidence to support your claim. You should then speak to a dog bite attorney to see what options you have for filing a claim.
Is There a Deadline for Filing a Dog Bite Claim in Washington?
Dog bites are considered a type of personal injury, and because of that, they have the same statute of limitations as any other personal injury case. Victims have three years from the date of the dog bite to initiate their case. However, it is recommended to start the process sooner than later.
An attorney can help you with every aspect of your case – from investigating what happened to appearing in court and representing you if your case goes to trial. At Church & Page PLLC, we help dog bite victims get the compensation they deserve. Contact us at (509) 638-1414.