Russell & Hill, PLLC

Dog Bite Injuries in Spokane Valley

The Spokane Valley is no stranger to dog bites, some of which result in injuries so serious they require reconstructive surgery to heal the damage. Many of these will necessitate several surgeries to recover, and the majority will require at least one visit to the hospital.

So, who in the Spokane Valley do we hold liable for these types of personal injuries? And how do you go about making a claim for personal injury in a dog attack incident? Allow Russell & Hill’s personal injury attorneys to help you!

Dog Bite Injury Lawyer

Dog Bite Laws

In past years, Washington created a rule which was referred to as the “One Bite Rule.” This rule implied that each dog owner was graced with one bite incident before they would be considered civilly liable. Yet, state legislature amended and removed this requirement, allowing for a dog’s history of aggressiveness or biting before the current owner to be taken into consideration.

The statute says (refer to RCW 16.08.040)

“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.”

As a victim of a dog bite in Spokane Valley (or if one of your loved ones was bitten) what this means for you is:

  • Even if this is the first time a dog has acted aggressively under its current owner, the owner is still liable if the dog was aggressive in the past.
  • Owners who harbor knowingly aggressive dogs hold expanded liability and are responsible for their dogs inflicted injuries.
  • Owners can be deemed liable for costs if they fail to properly discipline or are neglectful of their dog.
  • Liability can also be indicated by the dog owner’s disregarding or violating of leash laws.

Injuries from Dog Bites

Bite injuries from dogs can be severe. Victims of bite injuries can suffer extensive scarring, infections, permanent disfigurement or disabilities. Victims of bite injuries who suffer permanent nerve damage can suffer continued complications and pain. Reconstructive surgery, plastic surgery, constant or chronic pain as well as the need for physical therapy may be necessary.

Frequently sustained injuries from dog bites are:

  • Puncture wounds
  • Lacerations
  • Bruises
  • Orthopedic injuries
  • Psychological trauma

Children and Dog Bites

Children make up the most commonly injured victims in dog bite attacks. In fact, one of the main reasons children are seen in emergency rooms is due to dog bites. The highest cases of personal injury due to dog bites are in children ranging from ages five to nine. During these ages, children are often unable to understand, manage, or play properly with dogs.

Having worked with Spokane Valley dog bite victims, we understand the complexity of the law and the ramifications of these injuries. If you or a loved one has suffered a grievous injury due to a dog attack, contact one of our personal injury attorneys at Russell & Hill PLLC and seek justice. We will make it our mission to assist you in recovering compensation for your medical needs and the costs of your pain and suffering.

Types of Compensation You May Receive

There are no firm guidelines in regard to monetary compensation for victims due to dog bite incidents. However, there are some things that you should expect to be compensated for:

  • Treatment for medical care, including hospitalization, ambulance charges, and emergency room and urgent care visits.
  • Reconstructive and plastic surgeries as well as scar reduction and disfigurement minimization.
  • Pain management and physical therapy treatments.
  • Counseling for recovery from any psychological and emotional trauma due to attack or disfigurement by dogs, or fear of dogs due to a dog attack.
  • Lost wages and earning capacity due to injuries.
  • Damages to personal property.
  • Vaccination and antibiotic compensation, as well as any other medications resulting from the attack.
  • Pain and suffering.

Compensating Family Members

This is called a “bystander claim” and can be filled when a witness or immediate member of the family suffers emotional trauma resulting from witnessing the attack occur. A spouse can also be compensated if the husband or wife is incapacitated in some way— this is known as a “loss of consortium” claim. Additionally, family members can file wrongful death claims if the result of the attack caused death.

Compensation with Special Circumstances

In some cases, special considerations for compensation can be made for victims of dog attacks. Examples can include job retraining, vacation compensation, and other similar kinds of loss. These cases are special, however, as well as difficult, and are best undertaken with the guidance of an experienced attorney. The amount of compensation a victim can receive is a difficult task to estimate.

Who is Liable for Dog Bites?

Ultimately, with the now amended Washington legislation regarding the “one bite rule,” the owner is liable for dog bite attacks. This liability includes common law, strict liability, negligence, and violation of the law. Despite this, cases involving dog bites can be complex and confusing, and so it is highly recommended that you undertake them with an experienced personal injury attorney in Spokane.

Who Pays?

When you or a loved one is attacked by the dog of family or friends, an obvious concern is how to secure compensation for damages without losing the relationship. Often we do not wish our family of friends to be forced to pay out of their own pockets.

Thankfully, even though the dog’s owner is liable, there is a possibility that damages may be covered in the following ways:

  • Homeowner’s insurance
  • Renter’s insurance
  • Owner’s motorhome insurance
  • Insurance of the landlord (covers the occupier, owner, and manager of the property)
  • General commercial liability insurance (stores, offices, and businesses)
  • Employers insurance (only protects employees)
  • Vehicle insurance

If any of the listed policies are available, then your friends or relatives may not have to pay any of the damages, allowing you to receive your compensation with peace of mind.

Find Resolution

If you or any of your family members have been hurt during a dog attack, seek professional assistance in securing compensation during this hardship. As your personal injury attorneys, we will thoroughly investigate your case, compile evidence, and manage your claim as it moves forward, leaving you free to focus on recovery. We will handle phone calls, payments, and documentation as your treatment progresses, and keep you apprised of all developments. At Russell & Hill PLLC, your well-being is our top priority. Contact us today to begin your journey of recovery.

The injuries inflicted by a dog bite during a dog attack can be considerable. Sometimes these injuries can be debilitating for the long term, or may cause mutilations that result in death. Studies by the Centers for Disease Control have determined that roughly 4.5 million dogs bite people each year. Of these dog bite incidents, one out of every five people bitten will need to obtain medical attention after being attacked.

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