Russell & Hill, PLLC

Kent is a dog friendly city if you have a friendly dog. There are several off leash dog parks and leashed dogs are allowed in many other public places and parks. When it comes to dogs that bite, however, Kent and the rest of the state of Washington is not so friendly. When dogs bite, Washington state law provides that dog owners are strictly liable for the resulting injuries and damages. There are limited exceptions to this strict liability law that are discussed below. If you or a loved one has sustained dog bite or dog attack injuries, contact our Kent dog bite accident attorneys with Russell & Hill, PLLC to schedule a consultation.

Strict liability

Washington’s strict liability law for dog bites finds a dog owner liable when his or her dog bites another person who is on public property or legally on private property at the time the dog bite occurs. Strict liability means that the dog bite victim does not have to prove that the owner was negligent or that the dog had bitten someone before. The state of Washington does not give dogs “one free bite.” Washington’s strict liability law favors dog bite victims and helps to ensure that dog owners take safety precautions for the benefit of people who come into contact with their dogs.

Strict liability exceptions

Non-bite dog injuries – If dogs cause injuries that are not related to bites, strict liability does not apply. This does not mean that you do not have any recovery options for your injuries, however. It just means that you will need to show the dog owner’s negligence led to your injuries. For example, if you are knocked over by a large, overly friendly dog at a park, you need to show that the owner was negligent in not controlling his or her dog or by allowing the dog to run around off leash.

Provocation – A strict liability defense is that the plaintiff provoked the dog,which is what caused the dog to bite. Provocation may be teasing, taunting, aggravating, or hitting a dog, but in order to be successful on this defense, the owner must have proof of the provocation.

Trespassing – Trespass may be a successful defense in strict liability dog bite cases. For example, if a dog bites someone when he or she is breaking into the owner’s garage, the owner will argue that the plaintiff was trespassing on his or her property so he or she is not liable for the dog bite injuries.

Dog bite compensation

Unfortunately, dog bite and dog attack injuries can be very serious and often require extensive medical care and they can be emotionally traumatizing as well. Our Kent dog bite attorneys have successfully recovered substantial compensation for our dog bite victim clients. Recoverable compensation in dog bite injury cases may include medical bills, future medical expenses including plastic surgery for scarring and disfigurement, pain and suffering, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and any necessary therapy for emotional consequences related to the dog bite. Additionally, witnesses to the dog bite/attack may also be able to recover for the emotional injuries they suffered due to seeing their loved one attacked by a dog. If you or a loved one has sustained a dog bite injury, contact Russell & Hill, PLLC to discuss the facts and circumstances of your case.

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