Dog bites can cause severe injuries, both physically and emotionally. In addition, when you experience a dog bite, it can lead to extensive expenses. In Washington, you can seek compensation from the dog’s owner when a dog bites you, causing injury. If this has happened to you, having the right attorney on your side can make a difference in the success of your case and the compensation you receive.
At Tamaki Law, we understand the complexities of a dog bite claim. Our experienced Kennewick personal injury lawyers can help you fight for justice and the compensation you need and deserve. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation at (509) 783-8333.
Dog Bite Statistics
According to an article published in Heliyon and published in PubMed Central, approximately 337,000 people in the United States are bitten by dogs and require emergency room treatment each year.
In Washington, it is estimated that around 2,600 people were hospitalized for their dog bites over a several-year period. During that same period, the highest number of hospitalizations occurred for children up to four years old.
Common Dog Bite Injuries
Not all dogs have the same bite force. As a result, dog bites can cause a variety of injuries, from minor scratches to life-threatening bites, breaks, and tears. However, if they apply enough pressure, most dogs have enough bite force to cause serious injuries.
Examples of some of the most common dog bite injuries include:
- Lacerations: Dog bites can cause deep cuts because of the dog’s teeth. These cuts are known as lacerations, and they can be extremely painful and may require medical treatment to prevent serious infections.
- Scarring: Dog bites that leave wounds can result in scarring. The odds of scarring increase when the dog bite is left untreated.
- Puncture wounds: When a dog’s teeth penetrate the skin, they can damage deep tissue. Puncture wounds may require medical treatment to prevent more severe issues.
- Muscle damage: Strong dog bites can cause harm to your muscles, tendons, and ligaments, which could require surgery to repair.
- Infection: If dog bites are left untreated, the bite could become infected. Infections can lead to severe and life-threatening medical issues.
- Nerve damage: When dogs bite with enough force in the right areas, they can damage your nerves. This can lead to permanent nerve damage, resulting in long-lasting issues in the affected area.
- Emotional trauma: Being attacked by a dog can be traumatic. This experience can cause psychological injuries such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety.
Who Is Liable for a Dog Bite?
In Washington, dog owners are strictly liable for any injuries their dogs cause, regardless of whether the owner was negligent or not. This means that even if the owner was unaware that their dog was aggressive and they were not behaving negligently, they could still be liable if their dog bites you and causes an injury.
It is important to note there are some exceptions to the strict liability rule. For example, if the dog was provoked or the victim was trespassing on the owner’s property when the attack occurred, the owner may not be liable. However, in most cases, the dog owner will be responsible for the dog’s actions.
Does Washington Have a One-Bite Rule?
No, Washington does not have a one-bite rule. The one-bite rule is a legal doctrine that provides that an owner is only liable for injuries caused by their dog if the owner knew or should have known that the dog was likely to bite people.
Washington follows strict liability rather than the one-bite rule. This means that regardless of the knowledge that the dog was dangerous, the owner can be liable.
What to Do After a Dog Bite
If a dog in Washington bites you, you should follow these steps to protect yourself and your legal rights:
- Seek medical attention: Even if the bite seems minor, you should seek medical attention to prevent infection and ensure your wound is adequately cared for.
- Identify the dog and its owner: You should try to identify the dog that bit you and discover who its owner is so you can get their information. You should also try to get the dog’s vaccination history to ensure proper wound care.
- Report the bite: After a dog bites you, you should report it to your local animal control agency or police department. This will help protect other people from getting bitten by the same dog, especially if it has a history of biting people.
- Document the incident: Take photos of your injuries and details, such as date, time, and location. You can also write down the events that lead to the dog bite. The longer you wait to do so, the more details you may forget.
- Keep meticulous records: You should keep detailed records of everything related to your injury and losses, such as medical bills and police reports. Having good records can help support your compensation claim.
- Contact a Kennewick dog bite attorney: You should contact an attorney who focuses on personal injury lawyers with experience in dog bite cases. An experienced dog bite attorney can help preserve your legal rights and work to get you the compensation you deserve.
Recoverable Compensation for Dog Bite Injuries
If you have been injured in a dog bite incident in Washington, you can likely pursue compensation from the dog’s owner. The compensation you can pursue may include the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Reduced earnings capacity
- Pain and suffering
People are often bitten by dogs belonging to friends or relatives. Because of this, they may be reluctant to pursue compensation from people they know for fear of harming the relationship. That’s another reason it’s prudent to hire an attorney.
Many homeowner’s insurance policies cover dog bites, and your attorney can pursue compensation from your friend’s insurance company. They can handle all the communications about getting you compensation so your relationship with your friend won’t suffer damage.
Contact the Dog Bite Lawyers of Tamaki Law
At Tamaki Law, we understand how serious dog bites are and the pain they can cause the victim. If you were injured in a dog attack, you deserve compensation for your losses, and we are ready to help you get it. Over the years, we have helped clients recover millions in compensation, and our Kennewick personal injury attorneys are ready to help you get the compensation you deserve.