Each year, more than 4.5 million people suffer dog bite injuries in the U.S. More than half of all dog bite victims are children under the age of 14. Almost 150,000 dog bites are so serious that they require a visit to the emergency room. In some cases, dog attacks can even be fatal.
In 2017, Clark County Animal Control Officers reported almost 250 animal bite attacks and over 1,000 reported cases of vicious dogs. Dog bites and dog attacks can involve any type of dog, large or small. Even when the dog bite injury does not seem serious, many animal bites can result in a serious infection, requiring medical treatment and hospitalization.
When someone suffers a dog bite attack, they may be left dealing with medical bills, lost wages from missing days of work, and have to live with permanent scars for the rest of their lives. A dog bite victim deserves compensation from the dog's owner for their lack of control over their dog. In Washington, a dog bite victim can be awarded damages through filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Strict Liability for Dog Bite Injuries in Washington
Washington is known as a strict liability state for dog bite injuries. Under Revised Code of Washington, Section 16.08.040, “the owner of any dog which shall bite any person while such person is in or on a public place or lawfully in or on a private place including the property of the owner of such dog, shall be liable for such damages as may be suffered by the person bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of such dog or the owner's knowledge of such viciousness.”
This means that a dog owner is liable for any injuries caused by their dog while in a public place, even if the dog never acted aggressively before. For dog bite injury victims filing a lawsuit, they do not have to show the owner was negligent or the dog was aggressive. In order to seek damages, the plaintiff only has to show they were bitten by the owner's dog in a public place or while lawfully in a private place.
Filing a Claim for a Dog Bite Injury in Washington
According to one survey, in 2008, the average cost of a dog bite-related inpatient stay was over $18,000. Even with health insurance, many people are left with expensive medical costs after a dog bite injury. On top of that, dog bite injuries can result in missed days of work, emotional trauma, and extensive scarring.
The person responsible for the dog should be the one who has to pay for the damages. This means filing a personal injury lawsuit against the dog's owner to recover compensatory damages.
After a dog bite injury, the victim or victim's family should contact an experienced Washington dog bite injury lawyer. In most cases, an injury victim only has three years to file a personal injury lawsuit for a dog bite injury. However, the statute of limitations may be longer or shorter, depending on the case.
When the dog bite victim is a child, the statute of limitations may be longer than three years. In general, a minor has until he or she turns 18-years-old before the statute of limitations begins to run. Talk to your attorney about your case as soon as possible, so that you don't miss out on your chance to file a claim.
Clark County Dog Bite Injury Attorney
After a dog bite injury, you need an experienced lawyer who understands how to get you the full compensation you are entitled to under Washington personal injury laws. Quinn Posner at Posner Law Office, P.C. will watch out for you and your best interests and fight for your rights. Quinn Posner represents injured clients in Camas, Washougal, and Clark County. Call today for a free dog bite injury consultation.