Lacey Dog Bite Lawyer Representing Clients Hurt by a Vicious Dog
Dog bite victims in the state of Washington can rely on a special statute addressing dog bites. The statute leans towards protecting victims and giving them avenues to recover compensation. But what steps should you take to initiate a lawsuit after a dog bite? Our dog bite law firm can help you understand your options and next steps.
What Are the Laws About Dog Bites in Washington State?
Washington statutes define that a dog owner is 100% liable when his or her dog bites someone else while that person is in a public place, or lawfully in a person’s private property (for example, a friend visiting another friend’s house, or a repair person entering the property to do work that was previously arranged with the property owner). This means that anyone who was bitten while trespassing is not covered by this rule.
The statute is based on strict liability, which places the responsibility on the dog owner regardless of whether that person knew the dog was aggressive and would bite or not. It is also not relevant whether the dog owner attempted to take action to prevent the dog bite or was negligent and did nothing. The simple fact of the victim being lawfully in public or private property means the dog owner will be financially responsible for the resulting dog bite injuries.
Can I Sue a Dog Owner if Their Dog Injured Me but Did Not Bite Me?
The strict liability rule only applies to dog bites, but we know dogs can seriously injure someone without ever biting them. Dogs can lunge, jump, scratch, and knock a person over, resulting in potentially serious injuries, even though no actual bite occurred. If you were injured by a dog but did not get bitten, you may still be able to sue an owner for negligence rather than on the grounds of strict liability.
When suing someone for negligence, you will have to prove that the person’s actions or negligent behavior caused your injury and that the person knew that there was a risk of injury and chose to do nothing anyways. For example, if a person with a large breed dog knew about the dog’s tendency to rush at guests and jump on them, he or she should have restrained the dog before letting a guest in the house.
How Much Time Do I Have to Initiate a Dog Bite Lawsuit?
In Washington, victims should initiate a claim for a dog bite injury not more than three years after the date the incident took place. This also applies to any other personal injury case, meaning once the event that caused someone to be injured happened, the clock starts ticking.
Even though three years sounds like a lot of time, it is highly recommended that you do not wait for so long to initiate your claim. The sooner you start, the easier it will be to access the evidence necessary to build your case. It is better to start while everything is fresh in your mind, and important files such as medical records have not been locked away or misplaced. In addition, it gives your injury lawyer more time to build a strong case on your behalf.
How Much Is My Dog Bite Case Worth?
The monetary value of a dog bite claim is usually calculated using factors such as the severity and extent of your injuries, how your injuries affected your ability to work or make a living, and a series of other subjective factors such as pain, suffering, and emotional distress. Because every case is unique, it is almost impossible to provide an exact figure without analyzing exactly what happened.
As a general rule, the more severe your injuries and the higher your economic and non-economic losses, the more money you may be able to receive. If you have been bitten by a dog and would like to see if you have a case and how much it may be worth, talk to the legal team at Capital Injury Law by calling our Lacey office at 360-209-3360. We look forward to talking to you.
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