Dogs can be your best friend, but they can also be vicious when they attack. If you suffer a dog bite, you may need medical treatment for the physical injuries, but the emotional toll is also a factor. Many victims experience a debilitating fear of dogs for the rest of their lives.
You may be entitled to a financial recovery in the event of a dog bite, but these claims can be different from typical personal injury cases. There are legal concepts involving both strict liability and negligence principles. At Kapuza Lighty, PLLC, our Yakima dog bite attorneys can help you with a claim and get the compensation you deserve.
Overview of Dog Bite Laws in Washington State
Dog owners have a legal responsibility under Washington State law to properly manage their pets, or they can be held strictly liable for any injuries their animals cause. Strict liability means that, if you are bitten, you must show that:
You were in a public place or lawfully upon private property when you suffered injuries; and,
You did not provoke the dog to attack.
Note that these elements of the of action only apply to dog bites; other injuries that may be caused by interactions with a dog fall under negligence principles. Therefore, if you sustain injuries because a dog knocked you down, mauled you, or scratched you, it is necessary to show that the owner:
- Had a duty to ensure care in managing the dog and taking precautions to ensure it did not hurt anyone;
- Failed to exercise proper care;
- The failure of duty caused your injuries; and,
- You suffered damages because you were hurt.
Yakima, WA Dog Bite Attorneys Seek Compensation for Your Injuries
If you are successful in proving a dog bite claim under the theory of strict liability, or an attack based upon negligence, you may be able to recover compensation from the dog’s owner. You can recover two different types of damages, including:
- Economic damages, which are losses associated with medical care, surgery, and treatment, as well as lost wages; and,
- Noneconomic damages related to your pain and suffering, emotional distress, and losses based upon your personal relationships.
Liability Issues in Dog Bite Cases
Under certain circumstances, your right to recover may be limited or barred based upon operation of Washington State law.
If you provoked the dog or antagonized it in any way, you may be prohibited from recovering any compensation.
There is a statute of limitations in Washington State, so you cannot file a lawsuit if more than three years have passed since you were injured by the dog.
Talk to a Yakima, WA Dog Bite Attorney About Your Case
If you suffered a dog bite injury and want to know more about your rights to compensation, please contact Kapuza Lighty, PLLC. We are happy to schedule a consultation at our Yakima, WA office.