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Washington Dog Bite Laws

Posted on : November 30, 2023Posted By : Russell HillPosted In : Dog Bite

As a dog bite victim in Washington, you have specific rights and legal avenues that you should be aware of. At Russell & Hill, PLLC, we are experienced at bringing these types of cases on behalf of victims. Below, we explain some of the key aspects of dog bite laws that you need to know.

Who is Liable For Dog Bites in Washington?

According to RCW 16.08.040, the owner of a dog is liable if their dog bites someone. This applies regardless of whether the incident occurs in a public place or on private property, including the property of the dog’s owner.

What is noteworthy about this law is that the liability of the dog owner is not affected by the dog’s previous behavior. This means even if the dog has never shown signs of aggression or viciousness before, the owner is still liable for any damages caused by a dog bite. This aspect of the law is particularly important because it simplifies the process for victims seeking compensation.

However, this law does not apply to police dogs that are being used lawfully. For example, if a police dog bites someone while performing its duties as per the guidelines and instructions of the police department, the usual liability rules for dog bites would not apply.

How Does The Law In Washington Define Lawful Entry Onto Private Property In Relation To Dogs?

RCW 16.08.050 addresses the conditions under which a person can lawfully enter someone else’s private property in relation to dogs. An individual is on private property lawfully if they have the express or implied consent of the property owner. This means that if the property owner has given their permission, either directly or indirectly, a person can enter their property without legal repercussions. However, if the property is fenced or has clear signage indicating a restriction on entry, the law implies that consent is not given, and entry without explicit permission could be considered unlawful.

What If I Provoked The Dog?

According to RCW 16.08.060, “provocation as a defense” refers to a legal concept where proof that the injured person provoked the dog before the attack can be used as a complete defense in a lawsuit for damages. This means that if it can be demonstrated that the person who was injured by the dog had provoked the animal, the owner of the dog may not be held liable for any damages that resulted from the attack.

What Types Of Damages Can Be Claimed In Dog Bite Cases?

When a person is bitten by a dog in Washington, they may be entitled to claim damages. These damages can include a variety of costs and losses incurred due to the bite. Typically, this could cover medical expenses for treating the injury, lost wages if the person is unable to work due to the injury, and compensation for pain and suffering. Washington law ensures that victims of dog bites are fairly compensated for their losses and suffering.

Your Rights When Another Dog Injures Or Kills Your Animal

RCW 16.08.010 states that if a dog injures or kills another animal (e.g., sheep, swine, domestic animal), the dog’s owner or the person keeping the dog is responsible for compensating the owner of the injured or killed animal. The damages that can be claimed include the value of the animal that was harmed or killed and any associated costs. This might include veterinary bills if the animal was injured, the market value of the animal if it was killed, and any additional expenses incurred in the process of collecting these damages.

While Washington law establishes the liability of the dog owner, the owner still has the right to challenge the claim in a civil court. This could involve disputing the extent of the damages claimed or providing evidence that the injured or killed animal’s owner shares some responsibility for the incident.

Your Rights To Kill Another Dog Which Injures Your Animals

RCW 16.08.020 outlines specific legal permissions and duties related to dogs that chase, bite, injure, or kill domestic animals, including poultry. This law allows a person to legally kill a dog if they witness it harming their domestic animals on their property, leased land, or a public highway.

Under Washington law, a dog owner has specific responsibilities if their dog is found harming domestic animals. Once notified that their dog has chased, bitten, or injured livestock, the owner must keep the dog leashed or confined within their property. This is a legal requirement meant to prevent further harm to domestic animals. If the dog owner neglects to follow these provisions and the dog is found running at large, it is lawful for the livestock owner to kill the dog.

Timeline To Bring A Dog Bite Lawsuit

Washington law sets a specific time frame for filing different types of legal actions, including those related to dog bites. According to the law in Washington, any legal action related to personal injury, such as a dog bite case, must be filed within three years. This time period starts from the date of the incident. This period is crucial for gathering evidence, seeking medical treatment, and consulting with an attorney. It’s important for victims to take action promptly to ensure they don’t miss the deadline and lose their opportunity for legal recourse and compensation.

Dog Bite Attorneys

Victim of a dog bite? At Russell & Hill, PLLC, our dog bite attorneys can clarify your legal options and support you through every step of the legal process. We believe that every victim deserves justice and the right compensation to aid in their recovery. Reach out to us today at Russell & Hill, PLLC, and let us help you navigate through your dog bite claim. For more information or to schedule a consultation, call (800) 529-0842 or contact us online.

Learn more about dog bite injuries in Washington.

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