Washington has strict laws about dog bites. For instance, some communities have banned pit bulls entirely. Any dog owner who doesn’t control their dog faces legal problems if someone is attacked.
Strict Liability Dog Statute
Washington allows a dog bite victim to file a claim within three years from the date of the injury. Of course, dog bite injuries are immediate and no bite victim should wait that long to talk to an attorney who specializes in personal injury law in Tacoma, WA. It’s not necessary for the owner to believe that the dog is dangerous or for the dog to have bitten anyone previously.
Under Washington’s dog bite statute, the owner of the dog will be held liable for dog bite injuries when:
- The person who was injured didn’t provoke the dog.
- The person who was injured was either in a public place such as the street or was a guest, postman or otherwise legally allowed to be on the property.
Being Compensated for Other Injuries Caused by a Dog
It is certainly possible for someone to be injured by a dog other than by being bitten. A dog could run out of its yard and knock someone over on the street. The person could sustain a concussion, broken bone or other injury. In order to recover damages from the dog’s owner, it will be necessary to prove that the injury occurred because the owner did not use reasonable care to control or restrain the dog.
Possible Defenses from the Dog’s Owner
There are two common defenses that the dog’s owner may claim: trespassing or provocation. In some cases, the dog’s owner may argue both.
Trespassing seems simple but can become complicated. As a general rule, a trespasser is someone who is not on the property legally. If the trespasser was injured, they would need to prove why the property owner is liable.
Provoking may be the most common defense to a dog bite injury claim. While provocation is often thought to mean hitting the dog or something similar, it could also be used if the bite victim tried to take the dog’s food or accidentally stepped on the dog.
If you’ve been injured by an aggressive dog, you may be entitled to compensation under personal injury law in Tacoma, WA. Scott Candoo has over 30 years of experience as a negotiator and trial attorney.