We have all heard the old saying, “A dog is man’s best friend.” While that is often the case, a dog can also be man’s worst enemy. Although dogs have been socialized for centuries and kept as both domestic pets and working animals, they are still animals. As a result, dogs are still capable of biting. Sadly, the victims often have to live with life-altering memories of the attack, as well as physical reminders in the form of deformities or scars. If you have been the victim of a dog bite in the State of Washington, the law is on your side: there is a good chance that you are entitled to compensation for the injuries you suffered as a result of the attack.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4.7 million dog bites occur each year in the United States. Of those 4.7 million bites, 800,000 require medical care. Sadly, of the dog bites that require a trip to the emergency room, 82 percent involve victims under the age of 15; 70 percent of the dog bites that result in fatalities involve a victim under the age of 10. As startling as these statistics are, they point out the prevalence of dog bites in the United States. Just in case you think that knowing the dog lowers your odds of being bitten, think again. About two-thirds of all dog bite victims knew the dog that bit them.
Although some breeds are thought of as aggressive by nature, that in and of itself is a hotly contested debate. Breeds such as Pit Bulls and Rottweillers, for example, are commonly thought of as being more dangerous than other breeds. Many studies suggest this may not be the case, although they are protective breeds by nature. In truth, the family Golden Retriever that lives down the street from you may be as likely to bite you as the Pit Bull you don’t know. Whether or not some breeds are more aggressive by nature, everyone agrees that any dog can attack under the right set of circumstances.
Regardless of why the dog attacks, Washington State takes a strict liability viewpoint on the issue of negligence. The Revised Code of Washington, section 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.”
This means that if you are the victim of a dog bite, you do not have to prove that the dog has a history of attacking people, has bitten someone before, or is one of the “presumptively vicious” breeds. Furthermore, you may be entitled to compensation for the emotional trauma you suffered as a result of the attack, as well as for the physical injuries you suffered. A dog attack can leave serious emotional scars that can take years to heal.
Contact the compassionate and experienced dog bite lawyers at Mariano Morales Law today by calling (509) 853-2222 to discuss your legal options and find out whether you are entitled to compensation for your dog bite injuries.