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Can You Sue for a Minor Dog Bite Injury in Washington?

Colburn Law

When a dog bites a person, severe injuries can occur. Disfigurement, infections, and nerve injuries are common after these attacks. However, even minor dog bite injuries such as scrapes, cuts, and bruises can be painful and require medical care.

As the victim of a dog bite in Washington, you have the right to file a lawsuit against the animal’s owner—even if you believe that your injuries are not severe. In these situations, it is important to speak with a lawyer as quickly as possible.

Washington Is a Strict Liability State for Dog Bites

Dog Bite Liability in Washington State

When determining liability for a dog bite, states typically follow strict liability statutes or the one-bite rule. Under the one-bite rule, dog owners are only liable for bites if he or she knew or should have known that the animal could act dangerously. If an owner did not have a reason to believe that the dog was aggressive, the victim cannot file a claim against him or her.

Washington follows strict liability statutes for dog bite cases. An owner is always liable if his or her dog bites someone who is in public or lawfully on private property. As a dog bite victim, you can file a lawsuit against the owner and recover compensation for your losses, regardless of the owner’s negligence.

Even a Minor Dog Bite Qualifies for a Lawsuit

If you are bitten by a dog and the injury seems relatively minor, you may wonder if you qualify for litigation. Even if a bite doesn’t break the skin or lead to permanent impairment, you can still experience losses or damages because of the attack.

  • You may require medical care to treat the minor injury or check for infections. Doctor’s appointments, hospital visits, and prescription medications can be expensive.
  • Depending on the extent of your injury, you may require a day or two away from work to recover, resulting in lost wages.
  • Dog attacks can be extremely traumatic events. You may experience physical and emotional pain and suffering after the attack.

Through a dog bite lawsuit, you have the right to hold the animal’s owner accountable for the losses that you sustained. Medical expenses, lost wage replacement, pain and suffering, and many other types of damages are recoverable, even for minor injuries.

What to Do After a Dog Bite in Washington

After a dog attack, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. Get to a safe location and call 911 as quickly as possible. If you are able, receive first aid for the bite so that you can decrease the risk of infection. Take as many photographs and videos as possible of your injuries, the area around the attack, and the dog, if it is still in the area.

Visit a hospital to receive treatment as soon as possible, even if your injuries feel minor, and save all records related to your visit. After you receive medical care, contact a Seattle dog bite injury attorney to discuss your legal options.

Dog bite lawsuits can be difficult to pursue without an attorney on your side. Your lawyer can represent your claim against the animal’s owner and help you recover the compensation that you deserve. Speak to an attorney as soon as possible after the attack to strategize your next steps.