Dog bites can range from minor nips to severe attacks, causing various physical injuries. The most immediate concern is the risk of puncture wounds and lacerations, which can lead to significant blood loss, nerve damage, infection, and scarring. In severe cases, a dog bite can also result in broken bones, especially in attacks on children or the elderly who are more vulnerable to severe injuries.
The second concern is the risk of infection from animal bites. These infections can sometimes be very difficult to treat. The third concern is that even after the bites heal, there can be permanent scarring that the client feels is prominent or unsightly.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, around 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs in the United States every year. Of these, more than 800,000 require medical attention. However, the impact of dog bites extends beyond physical injuries into the realm of psychological and emotional trauma, particularly if the attack is severe or unprovoked. This trauma can manifest as a newfound fear of dogs, leading to difficulties in daily activities or forcing unwanted lifestyle changes. In some cases, victims may even experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, including flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety.
Dealing with the aftermath of a dog bite can be overwhelming. Medical expenses, potential loss of income, and the emotional impact can quickly compound, leaving you feeling alone or overwhelmed. This is where the help of an attorney becomes invaluable. Washington dog bite lawyer Marya Fuller is here to listen to your story, help you understand your rights, and assist you in choosing the best way to seek the compensation your injury demands.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a dog bite in Washington, contact Fuller & Fuller at (800) 570-4878 to schedule a FREE and confidential case review. We maintain offices in Tacoma and Olympia. We fight for people injured by dogs throughout the state of Washington.
Washington’s Strict Liability Dog Bite Laws
In Washington state, dog bite laws are designed to protect victims and hold dog owners accountable. According to RCW 16.08.040, the owner of any dog that bites a person is liable for the damages suffered, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness. Washington follows a “strict liability” approach, where the dog owner is responsible even if the dog has never shown aggression before.
The strict liability rule is significant because it removes the need to prove negligence or prior knowledge of the dog’s aggressiveness, which can often be a complex and challenging process. In essence, if a dog bites someone in Washington State, it is difficult for the dog owner to use the defense that they did not know that their dog was vicious or would bite.
While the strict liability rule is fairly comprehensive, there are a few exceptions. Given the nuances and potential complexities of Washington dog bite cases, it’s a good idea to discuss your injury with an experienced dog bite lawyer. An attorney can review the specifics of your case, provide information about your options, and guide you toward the best course of action.
Who Pays for Dog Bite Injuries?
In most cases, dog bite injuries are covered under the dog owner’s homeowners or renters insurance policies. These policies generally include liability coverage, which can be used to cover economic damages such as medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. Significantly, coverage also extends to non-economic damages like pain and suffering.
In scenarios where the dog owner does not have insurance, or their insurance does not cover dog bites, victims might have to seek compensation directly through the owner’s personal assets or savings. However, collecting from personal assets requires a lawsuit and may not always result in full compensation.
Knowing where to pursue damages after a dog bite is not always clear. Having a dog bite lawyer on your side can help in identifying the appropriate source of compensation. An experienced attorney can also help in negotiating with insurance companies, exploring alternative compensation sources, and, if necessary, litigating your claim to help ensure the best outcome.
Does It Matter Where a Dog Bite Happens?
In Washington, the location of the dog bite does not typically affect the owner’s liability. Owners are responsible for injuries caused by their dogs at home, at someone else’s residence, or in public places. This broad scope of liability ensures that victims can seek compensation regardless of where the incident occurred.
Can I Be Compensated for Non-Bite Injuries?
Washington law acknowledges that injuries caused by dogs are not limited to bites. This broader interpretation ensures that victims of non-bite injuries also have a route to seek compensation.
Non-bite injuries from dogs may include:
- Knockdown Injuries. A common scenario is when a dog, either through playful or aggressive behavior, knocks a person down. This can lead to broken bones, concussions, or other serious injuries.
- Accidents Caused by Dogs. If a dog’s actions lead to an accident, such as causing a cyclist to fall or a car to swerve and hit a pedestrian, the resulting injuries may be covered.
The physical injuries from non-bite incidents can be as severe as those from bites, requiring medical attention, rehabilitation, and, in some cases, long-term care. These incidents can also cause considerable emotional distress, similar to dog bite cases. Victims may experience anxiety, fear of dogs, or PTSD, impacting their daily life and well-being.
As with dog bites, non-bite injuries should be brought to the attention of an experienced Washington dog bite attorney. Strict liability does not apply to injuries caused by a dog if no bite occurred, and there are often other complexities involved in non-bite cases. Having a lawyer on your side helps to guard against these issues, working to ensure you receive the total compensation you are entitled to.
Our Washington Dog Bite Lawyer Is Here to Listen
Fuller & Fuller Law Firm has been helping individuals and families impacted by serious injury for more than 50 years. We treat you like family is not just our motto, it’s a promise we make to our clients—and one we take very seriously. Honest, effective, and endlessly supportive, we are here to stand by your side, protect your best interests, and fight for the full compensation you are due.
Attorney Marya Fuller has a proud history of providing quality legal services for people living throughout Washington. Her extensive knowledge and experience, especially in accident and injury law, enable her to give each case the attention and care it deserves. Attorney Fuller’s approach to dog bite claims is marked by a blend of professional expertise and genuine care for our clients. Her dedication is not just to win cases, but to ensure that each client obtains the justice and compensation they rightly deserve.
Contact Us Today for a FREE Consultation
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in a dog attack, contact Fuller & Fuller to schedule your complimentary consultation right away. We maintain offices in Olympia and Tacoma, and welcome clients from all nearby areas of the state.