Washington’s Laws on Dog Bites

Washington law imposes several responsibilities on dog owners. They must take proper care of their pets and feed and walk them on a regular basis. In addition, they have a legal duty to ensure their dog does not attack or bite another person. If you or a loved one has been injured by a bite, please contact an experienced personal injury attorney now to receive the compensation you deserve.

Two Ways to Recover Damages for a Dog Bite

There are two ways under Washington law in which the victim of a dog bite may try to recover damages. The first is under RCW 16.08.040. This is the Washington statute that addresses dog bites. The law holds that the owner of any dog that bites someone liable for any injuries caused by the bite. This is true no matter the history of the dog as it pertains to anger or viciousness. The law is also true no matter if the bite takes place on public property or the private property of the dog owner.

A dog bite victim may also recover damages under a negligence theory. In a negligence suit, a victim alleges that the dog bite would not have occurred had the owner exercised a proper degree of care. For example, an owner of a German shepherd could be held liable for bite injuries if he/she knew that the dog was aggressive, but failed to take measures to properly restrain the animal (e.g., not secure the dog on a leash).

Note that persons injured by a dog bite may be entitled to compensation for the following:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Property damage

In extreme cases, victims may recover damages for pain and suffering.

Things to do Immediately After a Bite

People should treat dog bites as extremely serious. The truth is that these incidents can cause:

  • Severe puncture wounds and lacerations
  • Broken bones
  • Facial injuries
  • Severe infections

Victims can also suffer emotional harm from a single incident that may last for years.

To best protect yourself, and a possible claim, it is imperative that you do the following after a dog bite:

  • Seek medical treatment as soon as possible
  • Take pictures of your injuries and the dog
  • Contact animal control or the police (especially if you cannot determine the dog’s owner)
  • Write down a summary of the facts of the incident

It is also critical that you contact an experienced personal injury attorney for help. Please know that the firm of Otorowski Morrow & Golden, PLLC has not only proven experience, but an unmatched track record of helping victims receive the compensation they deserve. Our attorneys are tireless in their efforts and passionate in their representation. These legal professionals have over 120 years of combined experience in assisting injured parties. Do yourself a favor and contact them now. We offer free and accurate consultations so you can learn and understand your case better.  We will walk you through the legal process and make sure you have all the information necessary to make a smart decision about your specific matter.