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Seattle Dog Bite Lawyers

Experienced representation when a dog bites children and adults in Washington

A dog is man’s best friend – most of the time. Dogs aren’t always friendly. A dog can bite if they’re startled, upset, afraid, ill, or provoked. Children are especially prone to serious dog bites because they don’t understand that dogs can be dangerous and their small size makes children more vulnerable to deeper and more serious wounds. Adults are not exempt from dog bites either. At Smith McBroom, we hold dog owners responsible when their dogs bite. Our Seattle dog bite lawyers are skilled at obtaining compensation for each victim’s financial damages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. We’re ready to help you assert your rights today.

Free Case Evaluation

Call 206-677-5941 now or fill out the form above to receive a free, confidential consultation.

What are Washington’s strict liability laws for dog owners?

Dog owners in Washington are strictly liable when their dogs bite anyone. RCW 16.08.040 states that the owner of any dog that bites a person while that 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” is liable for any injuries the dog causes. There is no need to show the owner’s dog was vicious or that the owner knew their dog was vicious. If a dog bites someone, the owner is liable.

This law exempts police dogs.

The strict liability law means that if you are in the owner’s house or apartment, walking down the street or sidewalk of the owner, in a park, or at any public or private place – if the owner’s dog bites you, the owner is liable. If you have a legal right to be where you are when you’re bitten, the owner is responsible.

The strict liability law also means you need not show that the owner posted a sign warning passers-by that a dog is on the premises. There’s no need to show the dog previously bit someone. If the dog bites you, the owner is liable.

Sometimes, other people may also be liable. For example, a store owner may be liable if they allow dogs on their property and a dog then bites someone.

What steps should I take if my child or I are bitten by a dog in Seattle?

If a dog bites, you must take immediate steps to protect yourself or your child. These steps include:

  • Get immediate medical help. Dog bites can cause infections and diseases. The wounds need to be treated so they don’t worsen.
  • Contact the police. The police should be contacted so you have a record of the bite and so other people can be protected from bites by the same dog.
  • Contact the local health department. Your local health official can explain what shots (including a rabies vaccine) the dog should have had so you and the dog owner can know how dangerous the dog is.
  • Take photos of the injury and the dog bite scene. These images can help prove when and how the dog bite occurred and the seriousness of the injuries.
  • Call our catastrophic injury lawyers. We’re skilled at handling life-changing injuries. We’ll review your medical condition and ensure that you are seeing the doctors you need to see. We can help establish the liability of the dog owner and of any other defendants such as the manufacturer of a defective dog leash.

What breeds of dogs bite?

According to Puppy Lover News, the dogs known for biting the most are:

  1. Chihuahua
  2. English Bulldog
  3. Pit Bull
  4. German Shepherd
  5. Australian Shepherd
  6. Lhasa Apso
  7. Jack Russell Terrier
  8. Cocker Spaniel
  9. Bull Terrier
  10. Pekingese
  11. Papillion

Who can file a dog bite claim in Seattle?

If a dog bites someone, these people can file a personal injury claim against the dog owner:

  • The parents of a child under 18 who is bitten
  • A mail carrier or any other adult
  • The estate of a loved one who died due to a dog bite

What injuries do dog bites cause?

Dog bites can cause serious injuries. Some injuries may be life-threatening. Dog bites can be fatal. Our Seattle dog bite lawyers work with your doctors and our own independent doctors to verify your injuries, the medical care you need, and the daily struggles of living with a dog bite. We handle the following dog bite injuries:

  • Cuts, scratches, and abrasions
  • Avulsion injuries, which tear away the skin
  • Puncture wounds
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Infections, viruses, bacteria, and diseases, including rabies
  • Broken bones
  • Head trauma, including brain injury

Some of the reasons dogs bite children and adults are:

  • They’re scared
  • They’re startled – such as when they’re awakened
  • They’re not feeling well or are in pain
  • They want no one to invade their space, their food area, or their toys
  • They’re playing and don’t understand when to stop

How much is my dog bite case worth in Washington?

Our Seattle dog bite lawyers demand compensation for all your (or your child’s) medical and emotional care. Most dog bite victims require emergency room care. Some victims may need skin grafts and plastic surgery. Other types of surgery may be required to tend to broken bones and diseases. Psychological care may be necessary if there’s visible scarring and disfigurement, or if your child becomes fearful of other dogs and animals.

At Smith McBroom, we demand compensation for all your (or your child’s) current and future:

  • Medical bills, including surgeries, hospitalizations, rehabilitative care, ER care, medications, and assistive devices
  • Lost income and lost work benefits for as long as you can’t work, even if you can never work again
  • Physical pain and emotional suffering
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Loss of use of a body part
  • Loss of life’s pleasure
  • Loss of consortium (enjoyment of marital relations)

We also file wrongful death claims on behalf of the family members if a dog bite is deadly.

Who pays the damages in a dog bite case?

Normally, the victim or the victim’s parents use their own health insurance to pay for medical bills.
The dog owner should reimburse your insurance carrier for these medical costs. The dog owner should also pay for all your other financial and personal damages through their homeowner’s insurance policy.

In some cases, such as when a property owner is liable for a dog bite, the property owner’s business insurance pays your damage claim.

Do you have a Seattle dog bite lawyer near me?

At Smith McBroom, our lawyers meet dog bite victims and parents at our Seattle office at 16400 Southcenter Parkway Suite 210. If a dog bite victim is too injured or sick, we will arrange to see victims at convenient locations. We also conduct phone and online conferences.

We’ll answer your questions, explain your rights, and fight for all the compensation you deserve.

Contact our Seattle dog bite lawyers now

Dog bites are scary, especially when the victims are children. Victims worry about their health. The scars can be especially traumatic. At Smith McBroom, our trial lawyers are skilled at showing who is liable for a dog bite, what injuries you have, the medical care you’ll need, and all the ways your injuries are affecting your life. We’ve helped many personal injury victims like you obtain strong recoveries. Call us or use our contact form to schedule a free consultation. We represent dog bite victims in Tukwila, Seattle, and across Washington state.