Seattle Dog Bite Attorney
Compensation for Dog Bite Injuries
While many dog bites are just "nips" that don't break the skin and leave no lasting marks, a significant amount of bites can require stitches, physically scar and disfigure, cause nerve and tissue damage, cause infection, and leave emotional scars. If you or a family member is injured by a dog bite, you or they may be able to pursue compensation for the resulting damages and losses. To ensure that you have a solid and viable personal injury claim, and a competent strategy to win that claim, you will need the guidance of an experienced Seattle dog bite attorney.
Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. has been successfully representing dog bite victims and other injury victims in Seattle and throughout Washington state for over 40 years. Let us put our knowledge and experience to work on your case so you can get a settlement worthy of your injuries. Call Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. today for a free consultation. Dial (888) 228-3860.
Who Can Be Held Liable in a Seattle Dog Bite Claim?
The Revised Code of Washington (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."
But responsibility for injuries caused by a dog doesn't end with the dog's owner. The following parties may also possibly be held liable in a Washington dog injury claim:
- The harborer or keeper of the dog: This is the person who has responsibility (temporarily or permanently) for the dog but is not the owner. This would include a dog walker or pet sitter, a kennel owner and their staff, a veterinarian who is treating the dog, a groomer or a trainer who is working with the dog, or anyone who has responsibility for the dog's behavior at the time of the injury.
- A scienter: Scienter is a legal term referring to knowledge of wrongdoing or danger, or the potential for wrongdoing or danger, before it occurs. In the case of a dog related injury, a scienter would be someone who had previously seen or had knowledge of a particular dog's potential for aggressive behavior yet didn't act to prevent it.
For example: Neighbor A has a dog that runs around his fenced in front yard. Neighbor B lives next door to Neighbor A. In casual conversations over the fence, Neighbor A mentions to Neighbor B that their dog doesn't like it and acts aggressively when a stranger enter his front yard. A week or so later, Neighbor B is out in his front yard and notices a substitute mail carrier or a Girl Scout selling cookies about to enter Neighbor A's front yard. Neighbor B does nothing to warn the person, and that person is attacked by the dog. In this case, Neighbor B could be held liable for a certain amount of injuries as a scienter.
What Damages Can Be Claimed in Dog Bite or Attack Lawsuit in Seattle?
If you or a family member has suffered a dog related injury, the following damages may be claimed:
- Current and future medical bills related to the injury (such as emergency room fees and skin grafts)
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent injury or disability
- Emotional trauma and mental anguish (many people, especially children, develop an irrational fear of dogs following a dog bite)
- Lost wages
- Wrongful death damages if you lose a loved one from a dog attack
Dogs can be wonderful and gentle companions for children and adults. But, if a dog is abused or not properly trained and socialized with other pets and people, it can be dangerous. If you have been injured by a dog bite, you need to contact an experienced Seattle personal injury attorney immediately.
Are There Defenses Against A Washington Dog Bite Claim?
Yes, if the injured party was trespassing, acting in an aggressive manner toward the dog's owner or keeper, or provoking the dog in any way, they may have no grounds for a dog injury claim.
Contact a Seattle Dog Bite Attorney Today
The legal team at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. has decades of experience representing injury victims. Call a Seattle dog bite lawyer at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. today at (888) 228-3860 to schedule your free consultation.