Dog bites and dog attacks can result in severe injuries, both physically and emotionally. According to The Centers for Control and Prevention, approximately 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every year. One out of every five victims needs to seek medical attention for their injuries. Of these 4.5 million, approximately 600,000 are children. Additionally, dog bites kill an average of 16 people each year.
There are more than 1000 dog bite incidents reported each year at the local level in the Seattle area. Of these attacks, pit bulls make up 22% of all reported incidents.
Who is responsible for dog bite personal injuries? How can you file a personal injury claim for a dog bite? This is when you can count on a dog bite personal injury attorney to help you out.
In previous years, Washington observed the “One Bite Rule,” so-called because it allowed every dog owner to have one “free bite” before they could be held accountable for the incident. However, because there were no mandatory reporting requirements for dog injuries (either severe or mildly), it was very difficult to prove cases as “second bite” incidents. As a result, the legislature of Washington State was amended, removing the requirement to prove that the dog owner was aware of the dog’s aggressive behavior and tendency to bite.
This statute (See RCW 16.08.040) states:
“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.”
What does this mean for you, or a loved one that has been victimized by a dog bite personal injury? It means that:
Dog bites can result in severe injuries: some victims suffer extensive scarring, permanent disfigurement, infection, and disability. In worse-case scenarios, victims suffer permanent nerve damage, which results in chronic pain. Plastic surgeries, physical therapies, reconstructive surgeries, and treatments for infections can be necessary. The most common types of injuries sustained are:
Children are frequent victims of dog bite injuries. In fact, dog bites are the fifth leading reason why kids are taken to emergency rooms. Children between the ages of five and nine are at most risk because they don’t understand how to pet and play with dogs properly. However, kids under the age of four often sustain the most severe dog bite injuries, generally affecting their neck and head areas.
At Russell and Hill PLLC, we’ve worked with many dog bite victims, and we have extensive knowledge of the laws that dominate these cases. We also understand the complexity of the physical ramifications due to injuries. If you or a family member has sustained severe injuries due to a dog bite, contact one of our personal injury attorneys at Russell & Hill PLLC. With the help of our experienced attorneys, you may claim compensation for medical expenses and other losses due to a dog bite.
Dog bite personal injuries don’t have any hard and fast rules when it comes to monetary compensation for victims. There are, however, a few types of compensation that you can expect:
Family members who witness the attack may claim compensation for “bystander claim.” This claim can be filed when an immediate family member suffers emotional distress from seeing the dog attack occur. Other types of remuneration include compensation for a spouse if their wife or husband has been incapacitated in an intimate way. This is called a “loss of consortium” claim.
In the unfortunate case that a dog bite results in a fatality, family members may file a wrongful death claim and hold the responsible party accountable for all losses.
There are some cases in which the victim of the dog attack qualifies to receive special consideration compensation. These include job training, prepaid vacations, and other similar items of loss. However, these special cases are difficult to handle and should be taken care of by an experienced attorney.
Estimating a fair amount of compensation for a dog bite personal injury claim is difficult. The best course of action is to hire an experienced attorney, like the ones at Russell and Hill PLLC. Fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation with us.
Recent amendments to the Washington State legislature changed the “one bite rule”, so the owner or individual responsible for the dog when the attack occurred can be held liable. Dog bite cases can be extremely complex as causes of liability can include common law strict liability, concepts of negligence, and/or violations of local laws.
If you or a loved one is bitten by a friend or family member’s dog, which is often the case, you may be worried about who will pay for the damage. You may not want your family, friend, or neighbor to be covering huge medical bills and emptying their bank accounts.
Thankfully, there is no reason to worry about medical expenses. Technically speaking, the owner of the dog is the liable party, but the damages can be covered by one of the following:
If you are worried about your friend or family member is accountable for the attack, you can lay those fears to rest. If they have any of the above insurance policies, they will not have to pay any money out-of-pocket to cover the expenses, allowing you to receive your compensation and recover peacefully.
If you or your loved one has been victimized by a dog bite, contact Russell & Hill PLLC today to discuss your options. Our team of qualified attorneys thoroughly investigates your case, manage the claim process, and compile evidence, leaving you free to focus on your recovery. We handle payments, phone calls, and all paperwork as your treatment progresses while keeping you in the loop. At Russell & Hill PLLC, your well-being is our most important priority. Give us a call at 800-529-0842 or fill out our online contact form today!