Vancouver, WA Dog Bite Lawyer
Strong advocacy when a dog bites you or your child in Washington
Novelist Samuel Butler said, “The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him, and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself, too.” This quote highlights the joy of adults and children with their dog. Mr. Butler’s quote fails to add this cautionary “tail” – while the dog may not scold you, he may bite you.
At Philbrook Law Office, PS, our Vancouver, WA dog bite lawyers file claims for your physical harm and emotional injuries. Bites require care to treat possible infections. In horrific cases, the bite may cause permanent disfigurement. In addition to the anxiety of medical treatments, including possible rabies shots, victims of dog bites may no longer enjoy the company of man’s and woman’s best friend after a dog bite. There’s a lot at stake in these claims, so call us today and let us get started helping you.
What you need to know about strict liability for dog bites in Washington
In Washington dog owners are strictly liable for the bite injuries their dogs cause. RCW 16.08.040 provides that the owner of any dog that bites another person is liable to that person for the injuries the dog causes:
- If the attack happened while the person was in or on a public place or in or on a private place – including the dog owner’s property.
- Regardless of whether the dog had displayed any former viciousness, or the owner knew of such viciousness (propensity to bite).
The law applies if you’re in the owner’s home. It applies if you’re bitten while walking down the sidewalk of the owner. The law applies if the dog bites you while you’re in a park with your dog, or at a retail store. If you’re bitten anywhere you have a right to be, the dog owner is liable.
There’s no need to show the dog owner was liable, either. You don’t have to prove that the owner failed to have a warning sign on his or her property that the dog is present. You don’t have to prove that the dog had a history of vicious behavior, or a tendency to bite. You don’t even have to prove that the dog owner was negligent. If you get bit, the owner is liable – period.
Other potential liable parties
In some cases, a negligence case can also be filed. For example, if you’re bitten while in a retail store, the owner of the retail store may be liable – if the owner was aware of the dog’s presence and failed to exercise precautions.
What if I’m bitten by a police dog?
That’s different. The law doesn’t apply to the lawful use of “police dogs.” However, if your civil rights are violated, you may be able to make a claim against the law enforcement agency. These are tricky claims, though, so you should give us a call and tell us about what happened. If we can’t help you, we can recommend an attorney who can.
What should I do after I’m bitten by a dog?
- Seek medical attention immediately. Dog bites are dangerous for a number of reasons, and you shouldn’t delay treatment.
- Call the police and file a police report. We understand – especially if you have a pet of your own – just how hard this step is. But it is critical, because:
- You need to have a record of the attack on file, and
- It should be on record that this dog bit someone, in case the dog bites someone else.
- Call the local health department. If you cannot tell if the dog is up-to-date with its shots, the health department may need to get involved.
- Take pictures of your injuries and the scene where the attack happened. These pictures can be used to bolster your personal injury case.
- Call us. Depending on the circumstances, we may file a premises liability claim or a claim against the government. We may also have a product liability claim, if, for example, the dog leash broke unexpectedly and the dog ran off, or if another defective product were to blame.
Who can file a dog bite claim in Vancouver, WA?
Several people may have valid dog bite claims. These include:
- An adult who was bitten
- The parents of a minor child who was bitten
- The personal representative of the estate of a person who died due to the dog bite
What injuries do dog bite victims suffer?
If you’re bitten by a dog, you should seek immediate emergency medical help. Dog bite victims need to be treated for the following possible injuries:
- Puncture wounds
- Cuts and scratches
- Transmission of viruses, bacteria, and other potentially deadly infections
There’s also the secondary danger that you or your child could fall when the dog bites you. Falls can cause traumatic brain injuries, back injuries, broken bones, and other complications.
What damages are permitted in dog bite cases in Washington?
If you’ve been bitten by a dog, your initial treatment will mostly likely be in an emergency room. You may require skin grafts. After the initial care, unless any serious complications arise, you (or your child) may need plastic surgery. Psychologists can help with the emotional trauma of a dog bite attack.
Our Vancouver, WA dog bite lawyers demand compensation for:
- All your medical expenses including ER care, surgeries, doctor visits, therapy, and medications
- Any income you lose because you can’t work due to the dog bite
- The physical pain you suffer on a daily basis
- The emotional suffering of worrying about your health and living with any scarring, disfigurement, or any other upsetting issues
- The loss of functionality of any body part
- The loss of consortium of you and your spouse
- Other permissible damages that may apply
How does insurance work in a dog bite case?
You can use your own health insurance for your medical bills to ensure immediate treatment, but your damages will be paid by the homeowner’s insurance for the liable dog owner. If the bite happens at a retail shop or in a dog park, someone else’s insurance will pay for the damages.
Talk with an experienced Vancouver, WA dog bite lawyer today
At Philbrook Law Office, our Vancouver, WA dog bite lawyers work quickly to ensure you’re seeing the correct the doctors for your injuries and that the dog bite can be verified. We demand compensation for all your medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages. To schedule a free appointment at one of our offices in Vancouver or Battle Ground, WA, please call 360-695-3309 or complete our contact form. We also serve the greater Portland area and Oregon State. We handle dog bite cases on a contingency fee basis.