Snohomish County Dog Bites Lawyers Protecting the Rights of Those Injured in Dog Attacks
Dogs are beloved pets for many people, but experiencing a dog bite is a terrifying ordeal that can cause both physical and emotional scars. It is estimated that over 4.5 million people across the US are injured by dog bites every year, with Seattle animal control alone responding to over 300 dog bite incidents yearly. If a dog has hurt you, you have the right to recover compensation for medical expenses and more from the pet owner or their homeowner’s insurance. Having a knowledgeable dog bite attorney from Elsner Law Firm, PLLC on your side can simplify the complicated claims process, giving you more time and energy to focus on your healing.
Should You Seek Medical Care After a Minor Dog Bite?
Regardless of the severity, you should always have a dog bite injury treated by a doctor. One in every five dog bite wounds is estimated to result in infection. This statistic is even more frightening when you consider that many dog bites happen to young children because they are less aware of the dangers of approaching animals.
Rabies is also a concern when dealing with a dog bite. Although it is relatively rare for humans to contract rabies, it can be devastating and deadly to those who do. Due to this, most doctors will err on the side of caution and order painful rabies shots if you cannot determine whether or not the dog that attacked you was vaccinated. Take all medications prescribed to you by your doctor and follow their recommendations. Keep copies of all your medical treatment records as evidence for your dog bite claim.
What Information Do You Need to Collect From the Dog’s Owner?
The moments following a dog bite can be chaotic, especially if your injuries are severe. Your medical care should always come first, but getting certain information from the dog’s owner can make filing a claim easier. Important data to collect includes:
- The dog’s vaccination status, especially for rabies shots.
- A picture of the dog involved and the area where the incident happened.
- The owner’s name, phone number, and address.
- Their homeowner’s insurance information, if possible.
While many people will not have their insurance information available at the time of the attack unless they are at home, you can inform them that your lawyer will contact them for that information shortly.
What Washington State Laws Can Impact Your Dog Bite Case?
While there are many state and local laws and regulations that can have a bearing on your case, there are a couple that are particularly impactful. First, unlike several other states, Washington holds dog owners strictly liable for their animal’s actions. This means you do not have to prove the dog had a history of violent behavior to hold them responsible for your injuries. Your case’s viability is also not impacted if the owner believed the dog was harmless or if they took every precaution to prevent it from biting someone.
However, Washington’s statute of limitations on personal injury claims can impact your ability to file a claim if you wait too long. You generally have three years from the date of the injury to file a claim for damages. If you exceed this time period, the court will likely dismiss your case, and you will be unable to recover damages. A lawyer can ensure that your claim is filed on time, so you do not lose your right to compensation.
How Can a Dog Bite Lawyer Assist You?
Being attacked by a dog can come as a shock because we tend to think of them as fluffy, friendly companions, even if that is not always the case. Many times the owners are also distraught or defensive, so getting information from them can be a challenge. If the situation is too confrontative or you need to leave to get immediate medical attention for your severe injuries, a dog bite lawyer can step in and collect the information and evidence you need. Contact the dog bite lawyers at Elsner Law Firm, PLLC today to learn how we can help you get the compensation you deserve: 206-447-1425.