Should I Report a Dog Bite?
While dogs usually make friendly companions, every so often, a dog can suddenly bite — and leave a victim with lifelong scars, injuries, and disfiguration. Not only can a dog attack result in substantial medical bills, time lost from work, and out-of-pocket costs, but your injuries can also cause significant pain and suffering. If you have been hurt by someone else’s dog, it’s important to understand how to report a dog bite as well as what steps to take to help protect your rights and ensure you obtain the compensation you deserve.
What Should You Do After a Dog Bite Incident?
Dog bites are usually unexpected, and you may be wondering what to do if you are the victim of an attack. While many people do not think about filing a personal injury claim for a dog bite, you may be eligible to do so if you have suffered damages as a result of the attack. In addition to reporting a dog bite, there are several things you should do to build a solid legal claim and recover for your monetary losses — as well as your pain and suffering.
After a dog bite incident, you should take the following steps:
- Seek medical attention — Call 9/11 or seek medical treatment promptly following a dog bite. Even if your injuries are only minor, various infections can occur when they are not treated immediately. Not only is getting the medical help you need important for your health, but it also is crucial to document any personal injury claim you might pursue.
- Get the contact information for the owner — It’s essential to identify the dog’s owner. Obtain their name, contact information, and home insurance information.
- Obtain contact information for witnesses — If there were any witnesses who saw the incident as it occurred, get their names and contact information.
- Collect photos, videos, and evidence — If possible, take photos of your injuries and any property damage at the scene of the attack. You should also take photos or video footage with your phone of anything else that may be relevant.
- Report the dog bite — Reporting a dog bite to the public health authorities might be the last thing on your mind after you’ve suffered a bite. However, this is a vital step when it comes to building a strong personal injury claim.
Every dog bite incident has different facts and circumstances. It’s important to consult with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after a dog attack. They can evaluate your case and best advise you regarding the course of action you should take. They will also know how to value your claim and obtain the compensation to which you are entitled for your injuries.
Should You Report a Dog Bite?
Reporting a dog bite in Washington is essential if you will be filing a claim for compensation. Immediately after a dog bite, you should report the incident to your local animal control office. Not only does this help to keep a dangerous dog from harming others, but it also documents your case in the event you choose to file a lawsuit.
Each locality in Washington has its own dog bite laws and regulations. The bite should be reported to animal control or the public health authority in the county in which the bite occurred. In King County, the Public Health Department mandates that an owner confine and observe their animal for 10 days after the attack. In addition, Washington law requires that all healthcare providers report a dog bite immediately to the local health department if they have a suspicion that the dog had rabies.
Who is Responsible for Dog Bite Injuries?
Washington’s dog bite laws are very favorable to victims. In Washington State, a dog owner is strictly liable if their dog attacks someone. This means that they are legally responsible for a victim’s economic damages, even if they had no knowledge that their dog was dangerous or had the propensity to bite. However, there are certain situations in which the law recognizes that a dog owner should not be held liable if their dog attacks. For example, an owner won’t be held liable for any injuries resulting from a dog attack if the victim was trespassing or provoked the animal — police dogs are also typically exempt if they bite in the line of duty.
If you have been bitten by a dog, you have two avenues to recover compensation. You may file a claim with the owner’s home insurance company or pursue a lawsuit against the dog’s owner. By filing a personal injury lawsuit, you may be entitled to recover both your economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages can include things like unreimbursed medical expenses, out-of-pocket costs, lost wages, and other monetary losses incurred in connection with the dog bite. Non-economic damages are meant to compensate for the physical pain, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life you suffered due to your injuries.
Contact an Experienced Washington Dog Bite Attorney
If you’ve suffered injuries due to a dog bite, it’s best to have a personal injury attorney by your side who knows how to hold the owner accountable and can work to obtain the compensation to which you’re entitled. With locations in Burien and Bellevue, Herron Law Office, PLLC is committed to providing skillful representation to dog bite accident victims throughout the state of Washington. We welcome you to contact us for a consultation by calling (425) 600-2580.