Dog Bite Injuries

Seattle, Tacoma, Auburn, Kennewick and Yakima

Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help You With a Dog Bite Injury

If you have been bitten or attacked by a dog, a personal injury attorney can help. An attorney will make sure you receive the compensation you need to cover the expenses that occur as a result of the bite. Dog bites can cause serious injuries – including illnesses, permanent scarring, lifelong psychological problems and – in rare cases – even death. 

Statistics suggest that 1 in 5 dog bites require medical attention – which indicates there are roughly 1.7 million people who experience dog bites in a year. According to the CDC, there were an estimated 344,000 injuries treated in emergency rooms due to dog bites in 2018. Washington State Law specifically states that dog owners are liable for damages when their dog bites someone in a public place or when “lawfully in or on a private place” – including their own home.  

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It is often difficult to find adequate insurance to compensate the victim for his or her dog bite injuries. Additionally, oftentimes the dog’s owner will have little or no homeowners insurance to cover the injuries and compensate a dog bite victim.

If you or someone you know has been affected by a dog bite, call Ritchie Reiersen Personal Injury Attorneys. We have offices in Kennewick, Yakima, Auburn, Tacoma, Portland and serve the greater Seattle area.

Dog bite victims often greatly benefit by having a personal injury attorney experienced in handling dog bite claims.  Ritchie Reiersen Law personal injury attorneys have experience successfully resolving dog bite injury claims. Call Ritchie Reiersen Law Personal Injury and Dog Bite Attorneys today at (888) 884-7337. We offer a free consultation, and you don’t owe us anything until you win your case.  Contact us today to find out how we can help you.

Kennewick

316 N Neel St
Kennewick, WA 99336

(509) 396-5577

Auburn

110 2nd St. SW Ste 135
Auburn, WA 98001

(253) 204-2244

Yakima

3919 W. Nob Hill Blvd
Yakima, WA 98902

(509) 658-7000

Tacoma

10116 36th Ave Ct SW Ste 106
Lakewood, WA 98499

(253) 204-2244

You Deserve Fair Compensation If You Have Suffered From A Dog Bite

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries resulting from a dog bite you have the right to be compensated for the following:

  • Present and Future Medical Bills
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Emotional Damages
  • Lost Wages
  • Reconstructive Surgery
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Nerve damage
  • Psychological services

Call Ritchie Reiersen Personal Injury Attorneys today for your free consultation: (888) 884-7337

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do if I have been bitten by a dog?
  1. Obtain contact information for the dog’s owner, as well as contact information for anyone who witnessed the attack.
  2. Seek medical attention, if necessary, and keep track of all medical expenses.
  3. Report the attack to animal control personnel.
  4. Look for records of previous attacks by the dog.
  5. Take photographs of the injury as soon as possible after the attack, and continue to take photos as the injury heals.
  6. Contact a personal injury attorney who has extensive experience helping victims of dog bites and attacks.
What is the law in Washington and Oregon regarding dog bites and liability?

Washington has a “strict liability” law regarding dog bites and other injuries. This means that the dog owner may be liable the first time (and subsequent times) a dog bites or otherwise injures someone, even if the owner didn’t know and had no reason to know that their dog might be aggressive.  The exceptions to this liability law include if the injured person is trespassing on the private property of the dog owner, and/or if the dog was being provoked prior to the attack.

 Oregon, on the other hand, has a “one bite” law. This law states that if an owner does not know or has no reason to know that their dog might bite someone, they are not liable for the injury. Once the dog has bitten or otherwise injured someone, the owner is considered to be “on notice” and may be liable for subsequent attacks.  The liability is waived if the dog is being provoked prior to the attack, if the owner claims to have no prior knowledge of any previous attack, or if the person who was attacked is trespassing on private property.

If my neighbor’s dog bit me while I was on my own property, can I file a claim?

Depending on circumstances, an individual may have reason to file a claim in this situation. If you are on your own property and were doing nothing to provoke your neighbor’s dog, you would have a case to file a claim for damages against your neighbor. You may be required to prove that your neighbor knew, or should have known, that their dog had vicious tendencies in order to prove their liability for the injuries that you sustained.

If I go to someone’s house to do some work and am bitten by the property-owner’s dog, do I have a legal claim?

Property owners who invite people to their home, whether for work or pleasure, generally have a responsibility to provide a safe environment for the visitors.  This would include either keeping their dogs away from the visitor or warning the visitor of the presence of the dog. If you are at the home as a part of your employment, you may be able to file a worker’s comp claim. An attorney familiar with dog bite cases could help you determine your legal options based upon the unique details of your situation.

Can I file a claim against the police if their K9 dog bit me?

It depends on the circumstances surrounding the bite. Washington law does specifically exempt police dog bites if the dog was performing in the line of duty. If the use of a police dog was considered unreasonable force in your situation, you would have grounds to file a claim against the police. An attorney would be able to help you determine what would be considered “reasonable.” 

If a dog owner violates a leash law, are they liable for injuries caused by their dog?

Generally speaking, if an animal owner violates a leash law, and their dog attacks someone, this would be considered “negligent” behavior on their part and they would be liable for any damages caused by the attack.

How much will a dog bite attorney cost me?

Dog bite claims are handled by personal injury attorneys who have deep knowledge about the local and statewide laws that apply to dog bites and other injuries. Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. This means that they will not charge you a fee unless they win your case for you. There are no up-front fees to file your claim, and because the fees are all clearly listed in the contract for services, there won’t be any hidden fees at the end of the case. Additionally, the initial consultation is free.

 The personal injury attorneys at Ritchie Reiersen Law have extensive knowledge about the local laws that affect dog bite cases, and they are passionate about protecting the rights of their clients. If you or a loved one has been injured by a dog, call Ritchie Reiersen Law today for your free consultation. You have the right to enjoy time outdoors without being attacked by a vicious dog. We will work hard to protect your rights and help you receive the compensation you deserve for the injuries you sustained.

If I report a dog for biting me, will it be euthanized?

Some cities will have local laws regarding attacks by dogs, but in general reporting a dog for biting or otherwise injuring you will not automatically mean it will be put down.  Usually dogs will be required to be under observation and quarantine at the owner’s home; subsequently there may be additional requirements for the owner to follow should they take the dog out of the home – such as leash and muzzle requirements, for example. It would not be unreasonable for the dog’s owner to pay a fine as well as register the animal as “potentially dangerous.” Many of these requirements are city- or county-specific; a local personal injury attorney who is experienced with dog bite injuries will be your best resource for this information.

What are the most common types of dog bite injuries?

Dog bites can be associated with several different types of injuries. Bites to the face, eye, nose, hands, and neck are all common. Dog bites can cause puncture wounds, abrasions, and lacerations. Larger dogs can cause broken bones. Infections are a serious effect and require medical care.

Is there insurance that covers dog bites?

There is not a specific insurance that covers dog bites. However, most home owners insurance policies cover dog bites that occur on the insured property. Some insurance companies will not cover dog bites if the animal is of certain breeds that are considered to be more aggressive. In this case, the claim for damages would be filed against the homeowner themself, rather than their homeowner’s insurance carrier.

Can I file a claim if I was petting the dog before it attacked me?

Yes, as long as you were not provoking the dog. Examples of provocation can include hitting the dog, yelling at the dog, pushing a stick at the dog, or pulling on the dog’s tail.

How long does a dog bite case take to settle?

Typically dog bite cases are able to be settled out of court – which will keep the timeframe significantly shorter. In general one can plan a dog bite claim to take anywhere from 4-12 months to settle and close, depending on the severity of the injury and the amount of medical treatment it requires. If the claim moves to litigation, it can easily take well over a year to be resolved.

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Figuring out the best course of action after a dog attack can be intimidating. Without taking the correct steps to protect your rights, you could miss out on a significant sum of money. Our attorneys will go the extra mile to secure the maximum compensation you deserve. To discuss the specifics of your case during a free consultation, get in touch with our office.