Dog Bite Injury Lawyers in Federal Way and Tacoma
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The CDC reports that 4.5 million people in the U.S. suffer injuries from dog bites each year. One in five of these bites will require some form of medical attention/treatment. It is estimated that more than 31,000 individuals every year require reconstructive surgery due to injuries suffered from a dog bite.
Unfortunately, the victim is often a child whose injuries tend to be most severe. Adult males are the next highest category of persons likely to suffer this form of injury. Liability for the injuries of a person bitten by a dog now accounts for more than one-third of all homeowner’s insurance claims, according to a study performed by the Insurance Information Institute.
Washington State Dog Bite Laws
Washington State law under RCW 16.08.040 holds a dog owner liable for the damages caused by the animal, including injuries sustained while attempting to evade the attack. Significantly, if fitting within the parameters of the statute, the owner faces strict liability. This means that the victim does not need to prove the owner was negligent in order to recoup damages. Instead, they need only be established that the dog did, in fact, cause the injury.
Recoverable damages may include:
- Medical treatment received
- Cosmetic/reconstructive surgery if required
- Psychological and emotional counseling to help the victim cope with paranoia and phobia resulting from the attack
- Pain and suffering
- Additional mental anguish suffered as a result of the attack
- Lost wages if the victim was unable to work as a result of the injury
Washington law further provides that the dog owner is liable whether they knew of the particular animal’s aggressive, dangerous propensity or not. The owner is liable whether the attack occurs on public property or when the victim is lawfully on private property, even the dog owner’s private property. Two caveats to this general rule are 1) that the victim must have a legal right to be on the private property/premises, for example, one who is criminally trespassing on the property cannot sue for damages, and 2) the victim must not be provoking or tormenting the dog or breaking the law at the time. This statute also does not apply to the lawful application of a police dog.
In a dog-bite claim, the necessary information will include:
- The identity of the animal that attacked
- The identity of its owner
- That the claimant was in fact attacked by the dog
- That it was a dog bite that caused the injuries claimed and
- That the injured person had a legal right to be in the place where attacked
If you or someone you care about has suffered a dog bite, you may be entitled to compensation. Homeowners’ and renters’ insurance policies will typically provide coverage for dog bite claims, but the insurance companies have a vested interest in paying you as little as possible. Park Chenaur & Associates has extensive experience in negotiating with insurance companies and will provide the aggressive representation you need to get full and fair compensation for your injuries.