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How Can Insurance Factor into a Dog Bite Lawsuit in Washington?

Colburn Law

Dogs are a popular pet in Washington, but they have the potential to inflict serious harm. A dog bite can lead to serious infections, nerve damage, psychological trauma, and many other injuries. If you were bitten by a dog in Washington, you have the right to pursue compensation from the animal’s owner. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, you could pursue an insurance claim against the owner’s policy or a lawsuit in civil court.

Who Is Liable for a Dog Bite in Washington?

Like many states, Washington follows a strict liability rule when it comes to dog bites. If you are bitten by a dog while in public or lawfully on private property, you have the right to recover compensation from the animal’s owner.

You do not need to prove the owner’s negligence to pursue a claim. The dog does not need to have a history of bites and other aggressive behavior in order for the owner to be held liable. An owner can defend himself or herself by claiming that you were trespassing or provoked the dog to bite.

Filing a Dog Bite Claim in Washington

Through a dog bite claim, you have the right to hold the owner accountable for the economic and non-economic damages that you experienced. You can recover compensation for medical care, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering, for example. A dog bite settlement can range from a few hundred dollars up to thousands of dollars or more, depending on the severity of the injury.

Very few animal owners can pay for a dog bite settlement out of pocket. As a result, the owners typically turn to their homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policies to help pay for their losses. While such insurance is not required in Washington, this coverage provides two avenues for compensation after dog bites.

  • First, you can pursue compensation by filing a claim against the owner’s insurance. If you settle your dog bite claim during the insurance process, the company will be responsible for paying for your settlement. You can only recover compensation up to the owner’s policy limits.
  • If you require higher amounts of compensation or your claim is unsuccessful, you can escalate your case to a lawsuit. You can also pursue a lawsuit if the owner does not have an insurance policy. The company would still be responsible for paying your settlement, but the owner may be liable for any damages that exceed the policy limit.

Speak to a Washington Dog Bite Attorney

If you are injured by a dog in Washington, you have the right to recover compensation for your losses. However, dealing with insurance companies can be a challenge.

While the insurance company may claim to have your interests in mind, it is important to remember that it is not in the company’s best interest to pay for a maximum settlement. As a result, it can be difficult to know whether you are recovering fair compensation.

In these situations, you need an attorney on your side who can represent your best interests and fight for your right to a maximum settlement. After receiving medical care for your injuries, contact a Washington dog bite lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your legal options.